Attention is the scarcest resource.
In traditional learning environments, students were trapped inside of a classroom with their instructor and had to soldier through lectures and presentations, no matter how boring. There was no escape.
With e-learning, on the other hand, learners are one click away from hundreds of diversions. They can check their social media, watch cat videos on YouTube, or plant virtual carrots in Farmville.
That’s why keeping your learners engaged (whether they be employees or students) is so important. In this post, we’ll show you five of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement with your enterprise training course, and the associated talent development and learning platform features that enable them.
1. Invest in Quality Content
None of the tools and tricks in the book will help unless the actual content of your course is good to begin with. Many companies just cram together an assortment of mildly relevant material (old presentations, technical notes, workflow descriptions, etc.) and use that as their training content.
Don’t do that. Take the time to craft your courses. Make several editing passes to fix typos and other mistakes, and remove whatever is not necessary. Keep the text focused on what’s important, and add visual and multimedia elements to make the material more interesting (more on this in the next section).
A good LMS (learning management system) will help you do this by offering a comprehensive set of authoring tools that making writing, editing, and formatting course content easy.
2. Use Images and Video
Don’t be afraid to spice up your content with videos and images. Humans are visual animals, and images and videos are naturally more engaging than plain text. That’s why movie theaters attract more people than libraries.
An LMS worth its salt will let you import all kinds of video, images, and other multimedia files (audio, flash, etc.) into your courses. It should even be able to convert them for you into appropriate formats for display in your learning portal, as opposed to making you manually edit them.
3. Gamify Your Courses
For the average person, few things are more engaging than playing games. Even watching games can be engaging (just ask ESPN).
Traditional teachers take advantage of that all the time — creating small games and competitions to make students participate more in class. There’s no reason you can’t do the same thing with your corporate training program.
Many modern LMS platforms offer built-in gamification features, allowing instructors to turn dry lecture videos and repetitive training modules into engaging competitions for points or for placement on a team leaderboard.
4. Make Learning Personal
If groups of your employees are working through the same material at the same time, you have a great opportunity to make learning personal. Foster a sense of group connection among trainees and employees by introducing cross-personal communication related to the material.
Your LMS should let you divide learners into groups and have them discuss and collaborate online via forums and message boards. With the right integrations, you can also arrange the occasional teleconference call, where your learners can engage in real time interaction.
If your Learning and Talent Development platform supports blended learning you can also schedule an occasional in-person meetu, which can improve group coherence and make training feel more “real.”
5. Tailor Courses to User Needs
We’re ending with this point, because we consider it the single most important factor for increasing engagement, and one that companies most often neglect.
The best way to increase engagement is to tailor your training courses to users’ needs and preferences. And the only way to achieve this is by collecting and analyzing user feedback — typically through your LMS’s discussion system, direct messaging, or online surveys. You can also use LMS reporting tools to watch how your learners perform and engage with material over time.
Don’t let that feedback go to waste; use it to improve your courses and the overall training experience. After all, if you want your learners to engage with your content, you should also engage with them. It’s a two way street.
Once you know the right best practices to follow, it’s easy to start improving employee engagement in your organization. If you’re looking for a more detailed analysis of the philosophy behind e-learning engagement, check out our post about the 6 most effective employee engagement strategies.
eFrontPro’s Nikos Andriotis has a degree in informatics and close to two decades of professional experience in education, IT and e-learning. His writings have been published in numerous tech industry outlets.