Daily life is all about trying to engage with others – be they work colleagues, loved ones, or passers-by. If we want help meeting our objectives, we need to engage with others, to achieve these goals.
At a Corporate Level…
Engaged workers are happier workers. They have a sense of personal attachment to the organisation, a better work ethic, and higher motivation. Employees who are engaged tend to go the extra mile to get things done, and benefit the enterprise. They’re also more likely to recommend their company’s products and services – which they should be educated about. As such, keeping them engaged at the training level is a must.
Gone are the days of slideshow presentations with monotonous voiceovers. Multimedia elements like animations, images, audio and video can create interactive courses that draw your trainees into their education – and provide the interest and incentives for them to complete it.
From the outset, a course should be designed to generate interest and interaction.
- Make your content answer the “Why?” The factual data on offer is the “What?” An engaging course addresses the reasons why this information is of value.
- Use the learner’s name to give feedback. Your name is the most important word in your vocabulary. We’re more attracted to something that uses our names, be it an assessment form, or individual eLearning exercises.
- Give your learners control. For example, in a scenario, let the learner choose their response to a situation, then view the consequences – good or bad – of that choice.
The Importance of NOT Being Earnest
At least, not excessively. Learning’s a serious business. But it need not be grim and dismal. You need to put the fun in. And it doesn’t do any harm to provide incentives, for your employees.
Use the Starbucks Principle
It hurts, shelling out a hefty wad of your wages for a cup of coffee. But it hurts less, earning ‘loyalty points’ by doing so and a chance to win freebies in the future. So it is, with eLearning. The same message in that dry, monotone lecture can be better communicated to trainees by making a game of it.
Gamification, they call it
The application of gaming mechanics to non-gaming scenarios. Helping to make the hard things in life easier to digest. Gaming mechanics here means the things that drive game-playing: points, rewards, badges, competitions etc.
So, for example, when an employee completes a unit of learning, they might earn a ‘Badge’. This would be visible to everybody on the eLearning platform – perhaps stored in a personal ‘Trophy Cabinet’. These emblems become markers of the hard work, effort and commitment put into earning them.
Use of game mechanics can yield massive increases in the number of completed eLearning units, the average time spent on platform, and communication back and forth between learners.
A Test, for YOU
Does your eLearning course engage learners to the extent that they come back, wanting more? If not, here are some recommendations:
- Set up a pre-quiz, to check prior understanding of material to be covered. When they know what they need to focus on, learners are more motivated to gain this knowledge
- Ask questions based on behaviour. Examples: What should Protagonist A do? How should they address this problem? What should they do to avoid these situations in future?
- Avoid asking questions based purely on factual knowledge. Seriously. Research shows that knowledge-based recall really doesn’t get learners to fully understand what they’re being taught – or how to apply it in the field
- Use different kinds of media. Audio, video, text: it all makes for a more interesting and immersive eLearning experience
- Encourage learners to apply new-found knowledge to their daily lives. Relate exercises to the trainees’ prior experience, and use workplace examples
- Use game elements, where possible. These include: badges, points schemes, awards, achievements, leader boards, progress bars, timed exercises, competitions, pop-up quizzes, and team work/collaboration
- Encourage social learning. Allow users to interact with tutors, and their fellow students
- Encourage users to create case studies and action plans. Trainees should come away from the eLearning module with a scheme to implement everything they’ve learnt
- Make your trainee the star of the show. The learner should take centre stage in scenarios, and be referred to in them, by name. Create dilemmas, wherein they’re asked what they would do if faced with employee X in situation Y?
- Use plot-driven stories. Get creative: You might, for example, structure the course as a continuous narrative, in a movie setting
You’ll get a good return on your investment in eLearning and development programmes if the scheme implements as many of these recommendations as it can hold.
So, you can put your training programme to the periodic test – and ensure that it’s keeping users engaged. By doing so you will gain more productive employees who are happier in there work and this translates into something that’s important to all businesses, the bottom line.