8 Tips To Increase Learner Participation In eLearning

8 Tips To Increase Learner Participation In eLearning
Summary: While eLearning offers many new possibilities for user engagement, employees can still be resistant to workplace trainings in general. Making trainings more social, accessible, and relevant helps boost learner participation and cultivates a more positive attitude towards courses in the future.

How To Increase Learner Participation In eLearning

While eLearning offers many new possibilities for user engagement, employees can still be resistant to workplace trainings in general. Luckily, there are a few ways to get learners motivated to begin an eLearning experience and to keep them engaged once they’re in. Here are 8 tips to increase learner participation:

1. Integrate Social Media

It’s easy for users on a computer or mobile device to feel isolated. As an alternative to this man-vs.-machine training scenario, consider allowing learners to connect with their peers using social media. Facebook, for example, can serve as a platform where coworkers collaborate on a problem, while Twitter provides an excellent channel for real-time feedback on a course. Using LinkedIn, learners can document their new skills and endorse their coworkers.

2. Explain The Value Of The Course

Research indicates that the key to effective training is self-motivation. This means that learners should feel they are participating in a course for themselves. If it isn’t clear from the beginning how the training will make the employee’s job safer, more productive, or more lucrative, then there’s little incentive to dive in. As designers and facilitators, our task is to announce those benefits up-front.

3. Grade Learner Participation

As important as self-motivation is, it may also be necessary to impose external standards for participation. Explain to learners how their participation will be judged, emphasizing positive outcomes. Depending on the organization’s needs, you may choose to implement a literal grading system or a set of rewards for successful completion.

4. Make It Mobile-Friendly

The smartphone is home court for many users. They’re already using it to play games, navigate social media, and organize their schedules. Besides utilizing the familiarity of the device, mobile learning makes training available anywhere the user has an internet connection. An employee who is hesitant about spending needed work time on training may welcome the opportunity to complete the assignment while carpooling instead.

5. Create Scenarios

As learners absorb information, they need opportunities to put it into use; not just on the job, but during the training itself. Effective scenarios prompt employees to metabolize what they’ve learned and combine it with street smarts. Given a situation they recognize -dealing with a difficult client or troubleshooting a piece of equipment-, learners create a link between the course and the annoyances and satisfactions of everyday life. Scenarios make the training real.

6. Give Recognition

When a learner has put real effort into an eLearning experience, their reward shouldn’t just be finishing. It’s important that the facilitator and the workplace in general recognize and validate completion. As instructional researchers from Ireland and the U.K. have observed, “Participants should feel that they will be supported and receive the necessary support, feedback, and recognition for their participation”.

7. Make Mistakes Work For You

Learners will make mistakes as they go through questions and course activities. The objective of the course should not be to embarrass the trainee, but to help get them excited about and learn how to do better work. For this reason, it’s important to include cues for success and encouragement, but also make failures a lesson learned instead of a roadblock.

8. Use Storytelling

Good trainings are not robotic; they’re human, and humans communicate through stories. Presenting information in a story not only illustrates its application, it gives the learner an emotional sense of how good and bad work effects people. Learners also tend to remember information better when it’s presented in a story, as Shelley Gable notes in eLearn Magazine. Storytelling combines multiple elements of effective eLearning -relevance, interactivity, entertainment, memorability- to bring abstractions in the course to life.

Final Thoughts 

Employers have to recognize that they are working against all the old connotations of the word “training”: Boring, tedious, involuntary. A well-designed eLearning course doesn’t need to be these things. Instead it offers a chance for learners to engage in useful activities and, ultimately, to derive more satisfaction from their work. Boosting learner participation means taking advantage of the new tools offered by eLearning including mobile features and virtual scenarios. It also means providing incentives, making the benefit of the training clear, and integrating it into the social and emotional environment of the workplace as a whole.

Want to learn more about how to implement these tips? Read Allen Communication’s training trends eBook to find out how different trends are helping companies evolve their training strategy.

eBook Release: AllenComm
The experts at AllenComm solve business problems with beautiful custom learning solutions. We bring creativity into instructional design. We change behaviors and influence choices. We build better training.