5 eLearning Motivation Strategies To Increase Learner Participation

5 eLearning Motivation Strategies To Increase Learner Participation
Summary: Motivational problems can be a barrier to change. It requires "unlearning" behaviors with thoughtful effort and energy. The brain needs extra reactivity and concentration to recognize a new behavior or skill, but making changes can take up energy and trigger stress. Here are 5 eLearning motivation strategies to help increase learner participation.

Increasing Learner Participation With 5 eLearning Motivation Strategies 

How can you motivate your audience to participate in your eLearning content? It's easy; with these 5 eLearning motivation strategies:

1. Provide Social Proof With Polls And Stats

Seeking others' acceptance is an inherent desire everyone has, referred to as "social proof". That's why you can influence change when using peers' opinions with social polls. Utilize social polls to prompt engagement in your learning audience.

The Finding the Truth game, created with Elucidat's eLearning software, demonstrates how social polling influences how people vote based on the live results of their peers' votes. Use polls to crowd-source your audience's opinions on behaviors, tools, or actions, and share their results with their peers.

Social proof can motivate learners to view content or share their opinion. Get your audience’s attention by showing poll results in your course with Elucidat’s clips feature. Test learners to see if they agree with experts or peers. Show what others have committed to or achieved, and trigger adaptive learning through rules and links.

See what I mean here in this example:

2. Dish Up The Dopamine

You can help your brain turn on the "motivational" switch with a dose of dopamine. It's addictive, feels good, and can come from receiving rewards. Learners love scores, badges, and certificates. These elements provide extra stimulation, just like in this Elucidat Sales training example:

But to really hit home, also consider how you bring in rewards tied to peer and manager acknowledgements (social proof), real-world achievements (i.e. number of sales closed) and perhaps some personal rewards such as “feeling less stressed” or “better managing my workload”.

Use personalization to assist learners with assessing rewards. By channeling what motivates individuals to change, you can assist learners to monitor their change and help them build a record of their achievements.

3. Empower And Personalize

Julie Dirksen recently wrote about the lack of autonomy and ownership as one of the 7 barriers to behavior change.

Let’s look at how you can use personalization and ownership in your learning:

Help Someone Understand Their Strengths And Gaps

Create smart diagnostics to help profile someone, and report on their strengths, gaps, and opportunities, as we do here in this leadership example.

Recommend some learning topics that will help them improve their skills. We cover more about how to do this in our related article on personalization.

Also don’t forget to build social proof into the mix by displaying how someone’s profile compares with others who’ve completed the same diagnostic. For example, take a look at this screenshot that shows how we brought comparative stats into our behind-the-scenes guide to our pudding game.

“7% of people chose the same decoration as you.” In Elucidat, you can use clips to display live results. These include how many others agree with your answers, as shown here in our pudding game.

Let People Create Their Own Development Plan

Show users lots of examples and provide some pointers, but don’t tell them what to do next. Instead, as they work through each topic, let them write the key action they could do to make a positive difference in that area. At the end, present actions back to learners as a cohesive, totally personal action plan.

Like this example:

This is an example of a personal “action plan” page created in Elucidat. Elucidat’s clips functionality lets you replay this data back to learners in any format you like – so you can group “actions” entered by learners under certain headings and link them to “how-tos.”

Remember to show before and after results for a great sense of personal achievement. For example, ask learners to rate their own confidence or competence in key areas via survey questions upfront, then ask them again at key points through their learning journey. You can display the before and after results, much like the Finding the Truth game does, so they can see personal improvements and changes.

4. Capture Feedback

A lack of feedback tends to be the biggest barrier to change. Use an authoring tool with inbuilt survey functionality –like Elucidat– to capture user feedback on all kinds of subjects. You can then show the results in the course or keep them private and accessible only to your team via Analytics.

Let the feedback guide you in creating course content. For example, you can use the feedback to produce additional expert guides and microlearning challenges to build learners’ skills in the weak areas you identified in the feedback.

5. Remove Barriers To Change

Why are employees not undertaking the training you give them? Dig deeper to remove all the barriers holding back change.

To do this, you need to make the new behavior easy. Here are some strategies you can try:

Split up your final call to action pages into some simple sections:

  • Short term: One really easy action they can do today that will make a big difference.
  • Long term: An action plan to work on over the next 4 to 12 weeks (ideally, one they’ve created themselves).

Use Microlearning

You can use microlearning strategies and personalized challenges, which respond to how an individual is doing, to build competency and practice up over time.

Final Thoughts

Delve deeper with your questions at the start of a project to find out why people aren’t doing what you’re being asked to help them do. If you know there’s a behavioral shift needed, don’t rely on standard learning content (the what and the how) or one-hit wonders (one module or workshop then nothing more) to make the leap – not for the long term, anyhow.

Add incentives to encourage new habit formation. Sustain and strengthen the learning curve with approaches such as mentoring, social learning, and action-learning meet-ups that go beyond digital interventions.

Next step? Read these articles: