Engaging e-Learners in a mobile learning environment presents different challenges than engaging students in a traditional classroom setting. When training remotely, learners may be tempted to check their email, surf the internet, or perform other tasks in the background. E-Learning can save travel costs, cut back on time away from the office, and open up learning experiences to employees who may not have had them otherwise. However, students’ temptation to multitask or “check out” from the training session means online trainers need to work twice as hard to keep their students engaged. But don’t worry. Today’s mobile learning platforms are set up for success. From PowerPoint converters that will transform your presentation into an interactive, digital experience, to programs that host real-time panel discussions and polls, there is no shortage of online tools to keep your trainings fresh. These are our top four tips to keep e-learners motivated.
1. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERACTIVE CONTENT:
Although it may seem obvious, your course content is the lifeblood of an e-Learning experience. Traditional PowerPoints may not translate as effectively online without the use of body language, ambient lighting, and sound that often makes live lectures so compelling. To energize your course content, we recommend using a PowerPoint converter to translate your presentations into an interactive experience that includes video and audience activities. Take advantage of your e-Learning platform’s tools as well. Most include real-time engagement features such as Q&A panels, polls or quizzes, and live annotation tools. These tools allow you to interact with students on the fly if you feel energy is low. Having interactive activities saved and ready for use takes pressure off the instructor when the audience’s energy dips. Lastly, even though it may feel awkward, turn your webcam on. This simple gesture can have a big impact by humanizing the training experience and drawing the audience in.
2. GROUP GOAL SETTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACTIVITIES:
Because mobile learning environments make it more difficult for the audience to engage with each other and feed off group energy, the facilitator needs to purposefully include moments for the whole group to come together as a class. More importantly, the facilitator needs to keep the audience together as a class. Try pairing each person with another learner and have them set goals together at the beginning of class. Encourage them to touch base throughout the course to track their milestones and progress. Many e-Learning programs also include a breakout feature that allows the instructor to cluster learners into teams for shared group work. Additionally, mobile learning suites usually have quiz and survey features that can show results in real time. Try setting audience goals paired with a reward system to boost interaction and participation. This technique gamifies the corporate learning experience and encourages students to stay tuned into the class so they receive their reward. Gamification is a proven method that makes learners want to stay engaged and complete their next task, much like completing a level on a video game.
3. SHOW YOUR STUDENTS WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM:
Anyone who has completed business school will tell you that the key to a successful presentation is the "WIIFM." That, “What’s In It For Me” moment when the presenter explains what the audience is getting out of a course. All corporate learning should relate back to the trainees’ business goals. Although it’s difficult to avoid some level of theoretical coursework, e-Learning makes it especially easy to share current events, streaming videos, and fresh digital content. You can even invite panelists or guest speakers from anywhere in the world to share their experiences via webcam. The mobile learning environment makes it easy to break free of outdated textbook material or antiquated case studies and add deeply relevant coursework to your class. Help students understand how the training session relates to their daily work by letting them bring and share examples from their jobs. Reiterating direct links between your students’ jobs is easier in a mobile learning environment because they could be sitting at their desk during class. Even if they are not taking your course at work, being in their natural environment may make it easier for learners to organically make a mental connection between the course and their daily lives.
4. USE HUMOR:
In a corporate learning environment, students are more likely to be adults or learners who have been away from an academic setting for long periods of time. When used correctly, humor and storytelling can be a powerful tool to engage this unique audience and break the ice. Humor also affirms a level of equality between the instructor and learner that can be especially helpful when teaching or training adults. It goes without saying that humor in the classroom should always be appropriate for a wide audience (while still being genuinely funny so the material doesn’t feel stale or canned). You do not need to be a comedian to effectively use humor in the classroom. Simply try sharing a story that illustrates or introduces a new discussion topic. The story can be anecdotal in nature or a humorous reference to pop culture that will grab your e-Learners’ attention. Humor builds rapport and trust by putting your audience at ease. Be careful: too much humor can undermine the impact of your delivery or the credibility of the content. However, the right balance of humor can overcome spatial barriers between e-Learners and trainers to create a truly interactive experience.
We hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to share your own experiences with learner engagement in the comments below!