Organizations are increasingly interested in providing avenues for online learning – and for a good reason. Technology is constantly morphing and improving while businesses are searching for methods to train on a global level. While learning management systems are a great solution, an issue with online training is that completion rates can often be lower than anticipated. Since online training is available at all hours of the day and can be completed at the worker’s individual pace, some employees never complete it. Some studies believe the rates of completion are as low as 5 to 15%.

It might seem challenging to find a way to rectify this. However, it is possible. Some companies manage to get a 100% completion rate on small teams, while 80% completion rates can be found on global teams. However, there are still many teams that remain at 50% or below on online learning completion rates. One of the things that factor into this is the way the training is designed, but rates can vary even with the exact same training. Read on to learn more about how some of the companies with the best rates of completion have made that occur.

Tips for Increasing Completion Rates for Online Courses

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up

If you are aware that someone hasn’t completed their training, have a conversation with them. There may be underlying issues that are driving them to avoid completing the training. In some cases, a learner may not realize how important it is to finish the training. Set a deadline for completion and consider the reasons they are in this position in the first place. It may be useful in the future when you use the same (or adapted) training for a new group of employees.

Set Transparent Deadlines

In situations where there is no deadline to complete a specific type of training, some employees are going to put it off in favor of other tasks and responsibilities. This is precisely why it’s essential to have a clear deadline that you communicate with learners. Communicate what the precise deadline is and then send reminders as that time comes closer. This will help keep workers focused on the content and completing it before the deadline occurs. When the deadline is set, and workers are reminded about it, completion rates often soar.

Recognize and Reward Employees

The employees who complete the training should be recognized and rewarded for their efforts if you want to create a better completion rate. This could mean offering some sort of special prize for the first five to 10 people who complete the work or simply featuring the names of those who have finished the training in an email. Not only does this offer recognition, but it can push others to complete the training, as well. The rewards you choose can be informal or formal and will offer motivation to your teams to get the course done.

Break Courses Down into Sections

A shorter course will often feel less intimidating to complete than one that takes hours upon hours. One of the best ways to capitalize on this fact is by taking a larger course and breaking it down into smaller chunks, each with its own completion date associated with it. Let’s say you need your team members to complete a certification course that is 50 hours long. Instead of leaving them to find time to complete all 50 hours, create a plan where three to five hours are due each week. This will feel much more achievable than a larger number even when the deadline to complete is longer. It offers a pathway to success and a clear plan that works well for courses that are longer than a few hours.

Keep Communication Flowing

One of the factors that play into course completion is solid communication. Deadlines, timeline reminder emails, and plans for each week can all assist with getting a team finished with an important online learning course. Learners who receive regular reminders are much more likely to complete the work than those who are left to their own devices. This can take the form of newsletters and emails or even be more informal. When you go into team meetings, remind members that the training is a priority and ask about the status of completion. Create a path to finish the training, add deadlines, and send out reminders to keep employees focused.

Suggest Blocking Time in Calendars

We mentioned earlier that it could be difficult to prioritize online learning, especially when an employee might have time blocked out for all other tasks required of them. When other projects are at the forefront, it’s not uncommon for a worker to completely forget about a training deadline. Considering suggesting that training team members add their online learning to their calendars as a way of ensuring they spend time on it. This helps prevent issues where someone simply forgets to get through the learning course.

Explain Why the Training is Important

One of the primary ways to motivate workers to complete training courses is by explaining why it is so important. Employees want to know why the course is so important for them to complete. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an external reason; it could be something internal and different for each person completing the course. Learners can start the program by writing down and sharing why the course is important to them. This is also an excellent time to have workers commit to completion dates. When employees know why their training is important, it can cause them to take it more seriously.

The truth is that there are many methods for improving completion rates with online training for employees within a business or organization. The way the training is presented and communicated is often more important to drive course completion than any other factors. When your company needs to roll out a new online training course, make sure you have a plan in mind. Use the tips above as best practices that will make it more likely that completion rates soar.