8 Nudges To Motivate Corporate Learning

Corporate Learning Motivation: 8 Nudges To Use 

Many companies have either mandated or prescribed a certain number of hours of learning as an annual goal for each employee. Of course, this learning is not just any learning, but that which meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • The learning improves the employees’ existing skills that are useful to the organization.
  • The learning imparts new skills that are relevant to the employees’ area of work.
  • The learning helps the employees advance towards their career goals.
  • The learning helps meet the organization’s business goals.

Now, if you like what you do, this target is not hard to meet – there are numerous books, articles, webinars, and discussions available on every subject on earth, and new ones are created every day. Moreover, employers who set such targets are duty-bound to provide relevant learning, either in the form of e-learning or instructor-led classes, or even role-shadowing assignments.

Philosophically speaking, 30 or 40 odd hours in a year is too little time to absorb the ocean of knowledge generated in 8760 hours by your peers in your own profession across the globe. Yet, most employees struggle to meet this target, citing busy work schedules and personal commitments. What they need is a little ‘nudge’ in addition to the employer’s prescription or mandate, to get them interested in learning.

The Nudge Theory 

Nowadays, everybody is talking about the Nudge theory. Ever since Thaler and Sunstein came out with their book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, it has become a rage, especially with administrators. Apparently, some governments have taken inspiration from this book to introduce behavioral change interventions in their public policies. Here is an example of the use of a “Nudge” to help citizens take more informed decisions: Nudges and Learning: Evidence from Informational Interventions for Low-Income Taxpayers.

Nudges And Learning 

Has anyone used a nudge or two in motivating learning? Here’s an instance of nudging students to complete college education: Nudge Nation: A New Way to Prod Students Into and Through College.

Actually, Instructional Designers have been using nudges for ages. What are Gagne’s nine events if not nudges to stimulate learning? There exist many other models and methods to make learning interesting. But these stimulants are meant to work once the learner commits to the learning.

How would you get employees to learn voluntarily? Here are 8 nudges that can draw your corporate learners towards their required learning:

1. Get The Timing Right. 

“Just -in-time learning” is the current byword, and rightly so. Time is the key. Make the learning available when it is sought: During an organizational change event, when annual appraisals are due or when the target employees have a lighter workload.

2. Post The Availability Of The Learning On A Prominent Location. 

Grab attention by posting a link, with an attractive visual, at a place where everyone can see: The notice board or the intranet home page.

3. Communicate Directly Through Email And Text Messages. 

Email or send text messages to the prospective learners about the availability of the learning and its objectives. Do not forget to include the link in your message. Recipients are more likely to click the link in the message rather than open a new browser to search for the course.

4. Inform The Managers Of The Prospective Learners. 

This is one tactic most HR learning providers use. Employees are more likely to enroll in a course and complete it when assigned by their managers to complete it.

5. Make It Exclusive – To Be Provided On Nomination. 

When access to a course is by nomination only, the nominated learners automatically get a privileged status. This motivates them to complete it.

6. Provide A Social Forum To Discuss The Learning. 

Discussion helps to create awareness and eagerness for participation. It also provides feedback about the general acceptance of the course.

7. Solicit Feedback To Improve The Learning Content. 

People like providing feedback. Ask them how they think the course can be improved.

8. Gamify Learning. 

Last, but not the least, use points, badges, and leaderboards (PBL) to gamify learning within the organization. Enable employees to compete with one another to complete the required learning. You may also provide awards to successful learners.

An innovative HR mind may come up with other ideas, depending on the organizational culture. A little “nudge” can go a long way in building a culture of learning within an organization and also in inspiring and motivating instructional designers to design and develop learning.

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