How To Engage Employees In Your Virtual Classroom
Why is it so important for your organization to have engaged employees? Simply because employee engagement ensures that your staff not only is committed to your company’s vision, goals, and values, but is also motivated to contribute to its success. The same goes for engagement in corporate training: The more engaged your employees are in online training, the more they get inspired to implement what they are learning into their professional lives. So, how can you engage your employees? In this article, I'll share 5 proven tactics to engage employees in your virtual classroom and make sure that they are fully committed to achieving their goals by acting in the best interest of your organization.
- Keep the online training material relevant.
This is a no-brainer; if your employees feel that their online training program isn’t about them, it is very unlikely that they will be interested in it. More often than not, employees tune out during their online training because the eLearning content is so generic that tends to be irrelevant. If you want your workforce not to fall asleep in your virtual classroom, you need to make sure that whatever is being taught is relevant to individual employees’ needs, problems, and concerns. This is why you should consider learning some things about your corporate audience before starting developing your online training material: Who are they? What are their ages, their professional and educational backgrounds? What do they expect to gain from their online training? What are their current skills and what skills they need to develop in order to do their jobs more efficiently? The more information you have about your corporate audience, the more successful you will be in creating effective online training material and the more interested your employees will be in learning what you have to offer them.
- Create rewarding online training activities.
Recognition not only encourages positive behavior, but also promotes higher levels of performance and engagement. A way to make good use of this mechanism is to create a series of online training activities that focus on rewarding good performance: When you let your employees know that their contribution to the company’s success is recognized by rewarding them for their achievements, they automatically feel more important to the organization and their engagement increases significantly. Both rewards and recognition work as motivators that engage employees, whether they are Baby Boomers, members of the Generation X, or Millennials; show them they can make a difference during their online training, and they will want to prove you right on a daily basis, after they have completed it.
- Encourage collaboration and teamwork.
First of all, online training activities that involve being part of a team are much more fun and interesting than doing solo training activities. Furthermore, teamwork promotes a culture of trust and openness among employees, factors that enhance their engagement levels; so encouraging your trainees to collaborate to achieve online training goals and outcomes will greatly increase their interest in company's success and thus create more favorable conditions for their active participation. Consider introducing collaborative online training activities that develop the ability to work effectively with others toward common goals, promote knowledge sharing, and encourage creating solutions that benefit everyone involved. Collaboration is fundamental to boosting employee engagement, as employees view trust in their work environment as a top factor in job satisfaction. Create an online training environment that fosters online collaboration and effective teamwork, and your employees will feel more connected and more willing to support your company’s objectives.
- Make sure that online training is interactive.
Interactivity is absolutely crucial for a virtual classroom; nobody wants to sit through an endless lecture. Encouraging your employees to actively participate in their online training will not only keep them interested, but also provide them with ways to put what they are learning to use. Consider including Q&A sessions that allow your workforce to ask questions and share their concerns, role playing online activities that offer opportunities for sales and customer service online training, skill practicing activities, professional development, eLearning games, online exercises, etc.
- Support the BYOD movement.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has been a proven method to increase employee engagement, among other BYOD benefits. Encouraging your workforce to use their own mobile devices, whether smartphones, tablets, or wearable gadgets, during online training will keep them tuned in, as they will work on an environment they are comfortable with and thus remain focused on what they are learning. BYOD makes your employees feel that your company is an attractive employer who adopts easily to the modern learners’ needs, as it is not only convenient, but also increases employee performance, productivity, and satisfaction. Take advantage of BYOD by using it in your virtual classroom and engage your staff by giving them what they want.
Now that you know how to engage employees in your virtual classroom, you may be interested in learning how to enhance your employees’ motivation and increase their beliefs in their own capabilities to perform work tasks successfully. Read the article Positive Reinforcement In Online Training: What eLearning Professionals Should Know to discover 4 benefits of using positive reinforcement in online training and 5 tips on how to use it more effectively to achieve the best possible results.