Five Tips for Keeping your Learners Engaged

smiling woman on her phoneHave you ever done some training or taken a learning course that really bored you?

We’ll answer that for you: yes, you have. We all have.

And did you find that, even if there were an assessment you passed at the time, you’d struggle to really answer challenging questions about that subject now?

It’s no surprise if so.

Research shows that learner engagement has a direct, positive impact on learning retention, more so even than assessment scores or total time spent completing a course.

By engagement, here, we mean the quality and quantity of participation in learning courses. The way a learner interacts and co-operates with instructors, other learners, or the content itself.

Besides aiding knowledge retention, higher levels of engagement have also been shown to lower dropout rates, and increase employee performance (in terms of KPIs, personal and professional advancement).

And yet, depending on which study you look at, anywhere between a quarter and a half of learners are “unengaged.”

So how can you switch your learners on and reap the benefits?

Here are five top tips:

  1. Make it about them

Remember that while you have your reasons for wanting your employees to take learning courses, they might not necessarily relate to those reasons directly. Ultimately, you want to put your learners’ needs first. What is it that they want, and how will taking these courses help them achieve that? Every element of your training rollout should be done with your learners in mind.

  1. Incentivize

Give your learners a reason to want to learn by rewarding them for it – and not just rewarding total time spent, courses taken or assessments passed, as that can encourage rushing through courses without the learning sticking. But reward retention, performance improvement, or high levels of engagement. What those rewards can be is up to you, but make it something your employees are interested in. Some training is going to be compulsory, of course, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be incentivized.

  1. Be flexible

Make it as easy as possible for your employees to take their learning. Whether that means giving them plenty of time to complete them or by giving them specific times set aside. It could mean facilitating entirely remote courses, or having set days everyone can get involved. Speak to your staff members and ask them what they’d find most convenient. No-one can be engaged if their minds are elsewhere.

  1. Invite excitement

What’d excite you more when a new film is coming out: a movie trailer with all the juicy highlights in it or an email saying “New movie ready to watch?” Exactly. If you can’t get your employees excited about the learning before they take your courses, it’ll be harder to engage them during. Tease out the training as best you can by making it appealing during the invitation.

  1. Survey for feedback

After rolling out your courses, get some feedback from your learners. What did they like? What didn’t really work? How engaged did they feel? What could be different? Collate all this information and use it to make your future courses more engaging.

Now, not all of these tips will be applicable every single time. Tailor your approach to your company and your employees, Ask them what they’d like, and what’d best engage them. And it’s not a one-off exercise. Check in every now and then to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Best of luck!