How To Motivate Your Employees in Online Training
Online training is only effective when employees are receptive to the overall online training experience. Even if you've invested countless resources into the design, development, and implementation of your online training, it simply isn't going to offer a significant return on investment unless employees are fully engaged and motivated to learn. The issue is that motivating them can often be easier said than done, especially when dealing with mandatory online training. There are, however, a variety of tips and techniques that you can use to motivate your employees in the online training, regardless of the subject matter.
- Always emphasize the benefits and on-the-job applications of the online training session.
Employees simply aren't going to be motivated to learn if they aren't aware of the real world value and benefits of the subject matter. As such, it's important to always highlight what they will receive from the online training session, as well as how the information can be applied when they complete it. You can include this in the online training description and syllabus, but it's also important to emphasize the benefits and applications all throughout the online training, just as a reminder. This will keep their motivation up and their attention focused on the task at hand, which is absorbing the key takeaways from the online training. One of the most effective ways to stress the benefits of an online training session is to integrate simulations, role play activities, or eLearning scenarios that put their knowledge to use, without having to face real world consequences. When they have to make a choice or carry out a task on their own (virtually) they learn about the repercussions of that decision. They get to see their mistakes, first hand, so that they can remedy them before stepping out into the working environment. This motivates them to learn, because they understand that it is an opportunity to master a skill or task and to boost their job performance.
- Offer them a way to assess how much they have learned.
There are a number of assessment tools that you may want to consider when trying to motivate employees. You can create exams that they must complete at the end of an online training session, or periodic quizzes that test their knowledge after every module. While tests may not seem like a big motivator, they can actually give employees the opportunity to track their progress and get excited about the fact that they are acquiring new skills and information that can help them professionally, or even personally. So, test often and give your learners feedback, so that they can be motivated by their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.
- Encourage an online training culture within your company.
Online training should be more than a mandatory activity. In fact, it should be part of the culture of your company. Your employees should realize how greatly they can benefit professionally from their online training, and must be well aware of how much your company values their true devotion and participation. While mandatory online training can be boring and frustrating for employees, if you make it your mission to embrace online training and to encourage your employees to get on board, then you can put a positive spin on the overall online training experience and motivate them. Send out newsletters and emails that stress the benefits of an online training module or event, and get them excited about improving their skills and mastering new tasks.
- Give them a variety of interactive opportunities.
While some learners may prefer to acquire knowledge through observation and study, others prefer to be taught through videos and interactive scenarios. As such, it's important to include a wide range of interactive training opportunities, like podcasts, eLearning games, scenarios, and simulations. This will help to motivate your employees, because they will be able to actively participate and get something out of the online training. Not to mention that this way, they won’t get bored!
- Set up a reward or incentive program.
One of the most powerful ways to motivate employees in online training is to offer them rewards. If they are performing well and passing all of their assessments with flying colors, offer them some form of praise or create an incentive system that allows them to earn credits or points for their hard work. While learning skills and acquiring new knowledge should be its own reward, there are times when employees need that extra boost to complete online training modules or attend online training events. You can also gamify your online training in order to integrate rewards, such as allowing them to advance to the next level once they've finished a module.
- Develop social learning activities centered around group collaboration.
While this may be last on my list, it's one of the most effective ways to motivate your employees and get them excited about the online training experience. This is primarily due to the fact that employees, regardless of age, profession, or background, like to collaborate with each other. We all gravitate toward social experiences. As such, including plenty of social learning activities and group collaboration projects can help to boost the motivation of any employee. Creating a corporate learning community of practice can be a great idea in order to improve performance and encourage innovative thinking through collaboration and expertise sharing. Ask them to work together to develop a presentation that highlights the subject matter, or encourage them to interview industry professionals in order to explore different aspects of the topic.
If you're looking for ways to engage your employees and achieve the maximum job performance boost out of your online training, then it's all about motivation. Each of these tips to motivate your employees can help you to get them excited and inspired, so that they can become active participants in the online training process.
If you are looking for additional tips on engaging and motivating adult learners, I would suggest you to read the articles 11 Tips to Engage and Inspire Adult Learners and 17 Tips To Motivate Adult Learners.
In addition, if you'd like to learn more about the traits of adult learners, the article Important Characteristics Of Adult Learners offers an informative look at 8 important characteristics that you'll want to keep in mind while designing eLearning courses for adult audiences.
Last but not least, I highly encourage you to read the article 9 Tips To Apply Adult Learning Theory to eLearning that discusses how Knowles' 5 adult learning theory assumptions can be translated to modern day eLearning experiences, and how you can integrate the 4 principles of Andragogy into your eLearning course for maximum learner engagement and motivation.