With e-Learning taking the corporate education world by storm, you are no doubt pondering whether you too ought to jump on the bandwagon. Or perhaps your organization already has, but you’re wondering about the lackluster results you’ve been getting. Either way, you know you can benefit from upping the levels of engagement learners experience when faced with your courses.
Why’s that? Easy: When workers feel interest, passion, fascination and immersion in response to course material, they are far more likely to truly engage with the subject matter and get something out of it. This has many benefits for the organization as a whole, including:
- Better-informed workers
- More enthusiastic learners
- Increased willingness to undergo professional development (including e-Learning)
- Less skimming and scanning
- Fewer funds spent re-teaching material
… and that’s just a small sampling. With such rewards at stake, it seems like a no brainer to get your workers excited about corporate learning, doesn’t it? Best of all, it doesn’t matter what type of e-Learning you ascribe to. You may use in-house courses or mobile learning; you may employ fancy informational design or use a more routine PowerPoint converter to design your materials.
Whatever the case, the following tips will help you prompt user engagement with your courses that will help send your business to the success zone.
1. Make It Pretty
We’ve all heard the expression You eat with your eyes first. Well, you learn with your eyes first too, and if your eye initially falls on a dense and dreary wasteland of text, your mind will immediately groan. Instead, present your materials as beautifully as you can. Sure, you might have utilitarian goals in mind, but that’s no reason to torture your employees. Here are a few tips:
- Choose one color scheme and stick to it
- Use images where necessary and helpful, but avoid 90s-style ClipArt explosions
- Keep a consistent design theme throughout
- If you’re visually hopeless, admit it and hire a designer
2. Make It Emotionally Appealing
Give them a reason to care. It’s as simple as that. Dry statistics about who-knows-who get sent directly to the brain’s trash heap, filed in “Forever Inaccessible.” Instead, link what you’re teaching to real people, real events, real learners. Offer scope, telling your employees why they’re learning this material, who it is affecting and how. You can also play on emotions such as curiosity, fear, fascination and anticipation. These arouse learners and draw them to the material.
3. Offer Opportunities for Exploration
Let’s face it, it’s not just 2-year-olds: No one likes to be told what to do. A straightforward, linear, dry, bullet-pointed presentation is bound to inspire an eye-rolling, big-yawning, I-just-have-to-get-through-it kind of response. The antidote? Exploration. Autonomy. Choice.
Offer your learners opportunities to call their own shots and interact with the material. This can take a variety of different forms. Use links in your course to connect them to different pages in the presentation and to hop outside the platform to online sources of enrichment. When presenting ideas for the first time, let learners guess what the answer might be. Asking them to think something through before answering the question helps to create mental scaffolding on which to build understanding.
Don’t mandate that learners move through the course material in a linear, one-size-fits-all fashion. Instead, let them jump around, explore and learn. After all, there’s plenty of time for regimentation at work.
When it comes time to quiz, don’t be dull. Explain each answer and allow users to retake the quiz as many times as they like. Put links in the answers that send them back to the point in the course at which they should have learned the material to offer the opportunity for solid understanding.
4. Make a Game Out of It
Everyone loves a good game. If you’re at a loss for turning your material into a game, start by creating a storyline. Invent characters, backgrounds, settings and rules for your “world.” Give learners the option to choose their own adventures, design an avatar, move through a world or “advance.” Or you can stick to smaller games that test knowledge and instruct on themes. Either way, fun!
5. Commit to the Course
If you don’t commit to what you’re teaching, you can’t possibly expect your employees to commit to what you’re asking them to learn. Yet plenty of companies send out shoddy e-courses with teeny budgets, poor design, little to no testing and lukewarm organizational backing at best.
This won’t net you the results you’re looking for. To generate the best possible user engagement, create beautiful courses that you test thoroughly before sending to your employees. There’s no need to spend exorbitant amounts (especially before you do a few iterations to determine that the course is actually working), but spend enough to ensure a good product that you can confidently stand behind. Then ask your employees for their opinions and make changes accordingly. They’ll respect you for it, and if they know you’re waiting on their thoughts, they’ll delve more deeply too.
Of course, you must still present solid, real-world-based, accessible material in order for these tips to help. If you do, though, then adding these approaches to your excellent courses will help your workers become the knowledgeable, capable, enthusiastic team members you know they can be.
Discovered your own methods of engaging and motivating? Share with your colleagues in the comments below!