Can You Really Change Behavior Using eLearning Design? Yes!

Can You Really Change Behavior Using eLearning Design? Yes!
Summary: If your learners are able to keep their eyes open, does that mean your e-learning good enough? Unlikely. Chances are, the knowledge they retained long enough to answer a few multiple-choice questions will drift away as they head back to their busy jobs and lives. Leveraging e-learning design to change behavior requires higher standards, new techniques, and different approaches. Let’s make 2014 the year of memorable learning.

Miley Cyrus (And My Own Child) Taught Me That We Can Change Behavior Using eLearning Design

Little miss, Miley Cyrus, has taken the pop culture world by storm. A bunny outfit, foam finger and all, you probably have heard about her latest antics and—if she’s lucky—been re-exposed to her music. As a mother of a young daughter, Miley’s actions struck a chord in me, as I’m sure they did in you: as I watched her on stage, I had an emotional reaction to her behavior and, thus, it became a memorable experience. Memorable experiences.

As professionals in Learning and Development, our biggest goal is to create a memorable experience for our learners. Whether you are planning a large new-hire conference for 400 of your latest and greatest recruits, or developing an eLearning course on ladder safety, creating an engaging and memorable experience is what helps your audience recall what they learned back on the job. If you can’t remember what was taught, how can you change your behavior?

What makes an experience memorable? Think about the moments in your life that stick out the most. Maybe it was looking into your partner’s eyes and saying "I do" and, for a moment, feeling like there was nothing in the universe but the two of you. I so clearly recall staring into the dreamy, foggy, wide-open eyes of my daughter when she was first born, and knowing that the memory will remain crystal clear in my mind for years to come—evoking a small tear at just the thought. Evoking emotions makes memories, and memories cement knowledge gain and behavior change. What are some of the best emotions to evoke in learners?

Let’s start with a few of my favorites: happiness, joyfulness, and feelings of mastery, confidence, and camaraderie. Ones to stay away from boredom, or feeling overwhelmed or intimidated. You might be thinking to yourself, "I’m teaching learners how to sell a tire. There is no way to make this a positive emotional experience. If I can stay away from boredom, I’ve been successful".

Each day, I am faced with a new client with a new challenge: sell more pet food, explain credit card charges to angry customers, teach compliance with tax codes, and, indeed, sell tires. At first glance, these topics don’t exactly scream "emotional experience", but through storytelling, rich imagery, and my favorite tool of them all, humor, I’ve come to believe there is always a way to create an emotional experience for the learner—and, therefore, a memorable learning event.

eLearning design that meets this standard is much more likely to change behavior—leading to improved performance on the job and even changing people's lives. Interested in seeing some examples of how eLearning can change behavior? Take a look at Our Work to see how SweetRush uses memorable experiences to create safer work environments, successful sales forces, and engaged employees.

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