Five quick tips to engage your learners
7th October 2014
Learner engagement is the difference between a successful elearning platform and a failing one.
Encouraging learners to participate offer feedback, and generally finding ways for them to become more active contributors to the learning material is key when it comes to the design of your elearning.
The content of your module must be attractive to learners across all levels – from the title to the actions in your simulations. Retaining learners’ attention must be viewed as an on-going process, because once you’ve lost them, you’ve lost them. Indeed, keeping elearners engaged is one of the biggest hurdles that learning and development professionals face, and you can never have enough ideas as to how to achieve it. So below are five quick tips that you can use as a reference guide if you ever find inspiration is getting a little thin on the ground.
Make Your Content Relevant
Generating enthusiasm amongst participants will only be achieved if the course content can be seen to be directly relevant to the job role. If there’s any hint of a disconnect learners tend to devalue the information of the learning programme. Content design must therefore be specifically tailored to the target audience if it’s to effectively engage learners and clearly show them how comprehension of the content will provide them with the relevant knowledge that they will need to perform better in their job.
Utilise Problem Solving
If you provide someone with a challenge and the tools to resolve it, you’ll find a much more creative and thoughtful employee approach to the job at hand. People like to find out answers themselves and they like to feel like they’ve got there on their own. It’s a sense of validation that you want to foster. People want to feel like they’re worthwhile and if they do they’ll feel much more contented with the elearning.
Applying the attributes of a game to learning is one great way to complement the material. This can be done quite simply by the introduction of a leader board to awaken the competitive natures of the learners. By creating targets in this way, you will be galvanising participants to strive towards improvement.
Of course, there’s no limit as to how far you may want to stretch the potential of gamification. Playing games inherently seems like more of a pastime than a chore, so, if worked into the material cleverly, a maintained level of engagement can be expected, far more than the simple reading of content.
Simulations can be a well and truly effective way of maintaining user engagement but they must be relevant. Indeed, simulations should be as lifelike as possible. What is so great about them, in fact, is that they can reproduce the real challenges that may be faced in the workplace that must be tackled in real time – though always over the safety net of knowing that any mistakes or failures can be made without any risk to the individual or even the company itself.
Simulations can be truly exciting. A real buzz can be imbued in the employee if the correct amount of faux-pressure is created surrounding the task at hand. An employee can be tested on his or her split-second decision making capabilities, or be put to task to solve a genuine problem within the company, all safe in the knowledge that no damage can be done. Simulation can be exponentially more engaging than written content or static images on a screen. Understanding of the content is naturally deepened as well due to the actual physical and mental experience that learners undergo in real time.
Always Explain Why
It is extremely useful and encouraging to learners if they always understand fully why it is that they have been asked to complete a certain task. Again, this harks back to understanding the relevance of the information that they are being expected to engage with. Understanding why increases a learner’s interest in the material, and helps them to see the pathway to what they will achieve upon completion of the course.