5 Tips To Use Emotional Intelligence In eLearning

5 Tips To Use Emotional Intelligence In eLearning
Summary: Knowledge may be an important part of the eLearning puzzle, but eLearning professionals should never overlook the importance of emotional intelligence. In this article, I'll share the basics, best practices, and tips for using Emotional Intelligence in eLearning.

Emotional Intelligence In eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ, is a term first coined by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. It refers to the emotional awareness that an individual possesses for themselves and those around them, as well as how effectively they manage those emotions. Being able to recognize and empathize with the feelings of others and understand the impact emotions have in certain social environments is a key aspect of emotional intelligence.

Using emotional intelligence in eLearning helps learners develop their EQ, so that they have the ability to express, comprehend, and control emotions. As a result, they are better equipped to work productively in team settings, improve work performance, and build meaningful connections in their personal and professional lives.

4 Factors That Determine Emotional Intelligence

According to Salavoy and Mayer, there are four different factors that determine emotional intelligence. Each of these factors should be taken into consideration when developing Emotional Intelligence-centric instructional strategies:

  1. Emotional Perception.
    Before a learner can effectively understand and manage their emotions, they must first know how to perceive them and differentiate feelings from one another. This often involves learning the nuances of body language, expressions, and verbal cues. For example, someone rolling their eyes during a conversation might indicate boredom or annoyance, while a smile suggests that they are happy and open to communication.
  2. Emotional Reasoning.
    This pertains to one’s ability to pair emotions with thought and logic. In many respects, our emotions dictate what our brains focus on and how we react to certain pieces of information or behaviors. For example, if an idea grabs our attention, our emotions trigger our minds to concentrate on that idea and make it a top priority.
  3. Emotional Understanding.
    Once we grasp how to perceive emotions and use them in mental processes, we are able to truly understand and interpret those emotions. For example, if a co-worker show signs that he is angry during a conversation, it might indicate that there is unresolved conflict or an underlying issue. By deciphering emotions, we are able to gain a better understanding of ourselves and others that we encounter on a daily basis.
  4. Emotional Management.
    Managing emotions is one of the more difficult aspects of Emotional Intelligence. Even though we may be able to perceive and understand our feelings, keeping them in-check is an entirely different story. The same goes for our emotional reactions to the feelings and behaviors of others. For example, someone who has a high level of emotional intelligence has the ability to resolve a conflict successfully and keep the situation calm, cool, and collected.

5 Tips To Use Emotional Intelligence In eLearning

There are five categories that many researchers and proponents consider to be quintessential in Emotional Intelligence-based eLearning experiences. Here are 5 top tips for integrating each of the Emotional Intelligence categories into your eLearning course or training event:

  1. Self-awareness.
    This refers to one’s ability to recognize and acknowledge emotions when they occur. To do this, learners must be able to understand their own feelings and accept them, as well as evaluate why they are experiencing these emotions in the first place. When they are able to understand the origin of their emotions, they can then begin to grasp how they impact themselves and those around them. One of the most effective ways to encourage self-awareness in eLearning is by asking your learners to reflect upon their emotions or behaviors. Ask them the “why” behind a belief or opinion that they have shared in a forum, or create a handful of compelling stories then encourage them to share their feelings and thoughts about the characters and subject matter.
  2. Self-regulation.
    Knowing how to handle emotions is a key aspect of emotional intelligence. A learner must be able to not only understand why they are feeling a particular emotion, but how they react to their emotional response. For example, a learner should be able to control their anger and not lash out against a member of their group who has a different opinion. Self-regulation often includes other skills, such as self-control and adaptability. To integrate self-regulation into your eLearning strategy you can ask learners to participate in branching scenarios that involve real world decisions. This gives them the chance to see how their actions lead to favorable and unfavorable consequences, as well as how their emotionally charged choices affect the other characters in the eLearning scenario.
  3. Self-Motivation.
    This is, quite possibly, the most important element of emotional intelligence. If a learner is not motivated to develop their Emotional Intelligence, then they probably won’t fully engage in the process. To help foster self-motivation skills, ask learners to set personal goals for themselves and track their milestones along the way. Gamification is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when it comes to self-motivation. Create a badge or point-based reward system that allows learners to work toward a visible eLearning goal, so that they are able to achieve their personal goals in the process.
  4. Empathy.
    Being able to recognize the emotions of others and respect the fact that they are entitled to a different opinion or perspective is a key component of Emotional Intelligence. Corporate learners must have the ability to decipher the emotions of clients or customers, as well as members of their team. Including simulations that feature a wide range of emotionally-centric characters is one way to build empathy among learners. For example, you can develop 10 different characters, each of whom has their own unique challenges and personalities, and then ask learners to figure out how to meet the needs of the client, customer, or co-worker.
  5. Interpersonal Skills.
    Working well with others in both a leadership and team-player capacity is essential in virtually every aspect of life. This is often referred to as “people skills”, and involves communication, leadership, collaboration, and conflict resolution abilities. To touch on this Emotional Intelligence category by developing a group activity that requires cooperation and effective communication to accomplish a shared goal. Creating a blog or an eLearning video presentation are perfect examples of a collaborative activity that has the potential to build interpersonal skills.

Combining “book smarts” and “people smarts” into your eLearning course design can lead to amazing eLearning experiences. Use this emotional intelligence guide to give your learners the confidence, social skills, and self-awareness they need to tackle challenges in every aspect of their lives.

Are you also looking for ways to motivate your employees converting your online training into a rewarding and amazingly fulfilling eLearning experience? Read the article Intrinsic Motivation In Online Training to learn how to develop online training activities that will intrinsically motivate your employees.