How To Increase Learner Engagement

How To Increase Learner Engagement
Antonio Guillem/
Summary: Instructional Designers face the challenge of creating engaging content from dry material, keeping it fresh, engaging students’ attention and then maintaining their attention. It’s a tall order. Here are strategic tips to overcome this challenge.

Win The Battle For "Buy-In" To Your Training

Instructional Designers face the challenge of creating quality eLearning modules in distinctive industries. Not only must you cater for different age groups but also varying skills sets. You must also assess the learning gaps, create training to address them and then get learners motivated to complete the training program. Engaging and motivating employees can be a tough assignment.

A singular focus on this matter isn’t recommended. As a competent Instructional Designer, you need to undertake a solution structure that is dynamic and up-to-date. You must consult, coordinate and collaborate with corporate, in-house teams and Subject Matter Experts. You must ensure that you produce relevant, quality training materials.

Bearing all these factors in mind, the question is: How can you best engage the students and achieve the desired goals?

What Is Student Engagement?

The definition of engagement is “the degree of attention, curiosity, optimism, interest, and passion that students demonstrate when learning.”

It’s vital to assess your audience accurately. Then ensure that the purpose and the value the training will add is clearly defined at the start. You can also add regular notes and reminders about how each part of the training will benefit their everyday work. You want them to buy into the training. They should feel that the time they invest in the module will deliver high returns for them.  Trainees will find content more engaging when they see how it adds value to their work and career path.

Online learning presents new challenges. Since learners are remote from their colleagues and instructor, they may feel isolated. How do you prevent them from struggling with frustration or lack of motivation? If virtual training is not appealing, trainees will put it on the back-burner.

Scenario-Based eLearning

This is where scenario-based eLearning comes to the rescue. This technique varies manifold compared to traditional text-based or lecture-style training.

1. Action Will Destroy Procrastination

Students are often demotivated or distracted when completing online training. You can break content into smaller, "bite-sized" parts and offer activities instead of only facts. This will enhance their attention and increase engagement. For example, follow a video clip a few minutes in length, with a hands-on activity to reinforce the lesson.

2. Use A Combination Of Different Delivery Formats

Using a combination of different delivery formats is also more enjoyable and engaging. Switch from video to audio, still photos, informational text, and interactive activities. Use cutting-edge authoring tools to create quizzes, hot-spots, drag-and-drop and other practical activities.

3. Offer Instant Feedback And Reward

By offering instant feedback and reward students are able to understand how they are progressing. By providing a platform where trainees not only learn but also test their knowledge, you can make eLearning modules more appealing. You should also include reminders and encouragement so that they stay on track. The learning experience should be emotionally rewarding too.

4. Stimulate Reasoning And Critical Thinking

Giving learners challenging problems to solve will keep them engaged. Provide typical, real-world problems from their workplace. They must investigate and develop a plausible solution. This will help them appreciate the relevance of the training.

5. Create A Scenario That Allows For Exploration And Multiple Possible Choices

Students must eliminate the least favorable options to find the optimal solution. If the challenge is realistic, trainees are more likely to enjoy solving the problem.

6. Use Branched Scenarios

Branched scenarios enable learners to follow different pathways and experience a variety of different outcomes based on the initial decision taken. They can learn key concepts through virtual application in a safe learning environment. Learners can see the impact and consequences of the choices they make.

How Does Scenario-Based Learning Help?

Unlike traditional learning, which relies on knowledge of theoretical concepts and the application of them later in jobs and situations, scenario-based learning helps students significantly by:

  • Providing them with knowledge about a subject
  • Providing an opportunity for effective application of what they have learned
  • Increasing retention of the information and skills learned

Whether you are pursuing freelancing or are an in-house corporate training Instructional Designer, creating engaging, interactive eLearning courses can put you on the fast track to success. The results of scenario-based eLearning on trainees' performance are measurable.

By using this method of training, organization leaders can see:

  • Marked improvement in job skills
  • Positive impact on business
  • Increased productivity due to the addition of new skills
  • A marked increase in ROI

If you are an Instructional Designer who aims to take your career to the next level, make sure you include scenario-based eLearning in your training content. Your eLearning modules will not only be in a class of their own, in terms of student engagement, but will demonstrate the desired ROI to your clients.