5 Subtle Cues That Your Employees Are Not Emotionally Connecting During Online Training

5 Subtle Cues That Your Employees Are Not Emotionally Connecting During Online Training
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Summary: Sentiment isn’t really something you link to corporate experience, but it does help corporate learners remember what they learn. Is there a way to see how your online training material is (or isn’t) influencing the emotions of your corporate learners?

Emotionally Connecting During Online Training: How To Tell Your Employees Are Not Syncing

Connecting emotion to an incident is a good aid to memory. The more you ‘feel’, the better you’ll remember the incident. This is helpful for online training because it enhances recall. Your online training content will be far more successful if you can get your corporate learners to connect on an emotional level. And while it’s easy to see when someone is amused or dismayed, it’s harder to identify a lack of connection. Of course, you could just ask… but corporate learners are likely to say what they think you want to hear. How can you tell they’re ‘not feeling’ your online training course? Here are 5 subtle cues that employees aren’t emotionally connecting during online training, as well as tips to help you detect the problem and tug at their heartstrings.

5 Cues That There's An eLearning Emotional Disconnect

1. Habitually Inaccurate Test Responses

Employees are participating in the online training course, but their test scores are much lower than expected. They aren’t absorbing the information because the emotional connection simply isn’t there.

Detection Tip: Analyze Online Assessment Results To Identify Patterns

At certain points in your online training course, your corporate learners will be tested. It could be a pop quiz or a branching scenario. Your in-course analytics can tell you whether their answers are right or wrong. That’s helpful in identifying areas of the online training course that are overly complex, or topics that need further training. However, you can drill down deeper and observe the nature of their wrong answers to draw conclusions on whether they're emotionally connecting during online training. Their responses to a ‘joke’ may lack humor. Or maybe their reactions show no empathy. This indicates you probably didn’t trigger the ‘right’ emotion. Also, look for patterns. For example, 75% failure rates are a good indication that emotional connectivity is a widespread issue.

2. Yawns, Eye Rolls, And Shifting Glances

Employees are showing signs of disinterest in the form of yawns or rolling their eyes. They may even start chatting with co-workers or checking emails, when they should be engaging with the online training content.

Detection Tip: Watch Their Facial Expressions

This can be difficult to do if your corporate learners are studying at home or during their breaks. If their study sessions happen at work, you can keep an eye on them. During and after an online training module, look at their physical response. They were interacting with a computer or mobile phone, but you can still see the looks on their faces. You can even have a conversation afterward and see how they’re behaving. This can give you a clue as to if they're emotionally connecting during online training. It can hint at how, or whether, their class influenced their mood.

3. Employees Only Skim The Surface

Your staff members are accessing the online training material, but they are just brushing the surface and doing the bare minimum. Rather than actually assimilating the information and applying it in real-world environments. The lack of emotional connectivity prevents them from assigning meaning, so they have no interest in digging deeper.

Detection Tip: Ask Them To Paraphrase

Stories are a good way for emotionally connecting during online training for your corporate learners. After they’ve listened to or read a story in their online training course, get them to retell it. You could do this during a live teleconference, or it could be in a chat room. You can even prompt them with questions, whether open ended or multiple choice. Their answers will tell you which emotion, if any, was triggered. One corporate learner might say, ‘An old woman lost her grandson to a tragic accident.’ Another might say, ‘An 80-year old woman dealt with her relative’s demise.’ You could even put both choices in the answers to gauge emotional reaction.

4. They Aren’t Talking About It In Social Settings

Employees rarely bring up the online training course, even in social media groups or during live online training events. It just wasn’t that memorable. Therefore, they aren’t likely to talk about it in social settings because it didn’t leave a lasting impression.

Detection Tip: Run A Focus Group

Your corporate learners might not be honest about their (lack of) response to your online training course. But you can always find a group of objective test subjects. Pick a team that has ‘no skin in the game’. They’re neutral, so they have no reason to answer one way or the other. Have them explore the online training course, then ask them if it spoke to them at the emotional level. You could go further and ask what they liked and what they didn’t. They can tell you what changes you could make to build up for corporate learners to be emotionally connecting during online training.

5. Lack Of Participation

They know that they aren’t getting an emotionality from the online training course. Thus, they don’t even bother to participate. They may show up and go through the motions. However, they aren’t able to get the full benefit from the online training experience.

Detection tip: Evaluate LMS metrics

Review LMS reports to see where your corporate learners’ focus lingered the longest. Compare this result against the ‘emotional’ portions of the page. If the online training content touched them in a particular way, they may have lingered over it. They may have gone back to that piece of content or paused to compose themselves. If your ‘emotional bait’ was glanced at, or received no special attention, it probably didn’t land.


Incorporating emotional content into your online training course is a handy tip. Channeling their sentiment will help your employees remember more of what they learned. Emotionally connecting during online training could also influence their behavior, getting them to display the attitudes you prefer. Sometimes, your online training fails because the sentiment falls flat. To find out whether you’re tapping into their feelings, check their answers to test questions. Inert answers show missed connections. Get them to paraphrase content so that you can gauge their emotional connectivity. You should also beta-test your online training course and directly ask your sample if their feelings were triggered the ‘right’ way.

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