Learning Campaigns As Motivational Tools
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Learning Campaigns As Motivational Tools: Some Examples

We have all gone through the ARCS Model of motivation. And the first part of that is attention. If I can grab your attention with the content that is about to enrich your life, there is a chance that you will give it the attention it deserves.

So let's start with a short case study. There was a bank, let's call it Bank X, that had just implemented a robust Learning Management System after hours and hours of testing. One of the largest banks in an emerging nation, the bank had branches spread far and wide in deep rural locations. Most of the bandwidth was taken up by the core banking systems, leaving very little for the learning programs to lean on. To top it, the appraisal performance was not linked to one's learning, which meant there was no real motivation to log onto the system and start doing courses. The traditional HR announcement which joyously stated that 'your life was about to change' had ended up in the archive with very few paying attention. Most computers in remote branches did not have sound cards too, which meant background music, audio, etc. could not be accessed. In short, if we created content that was text heavy and would run without audio, the learning experience was pretty much about to be tiresome for all our learners.

So what do you do in such a situation?

We had landed up at the bank with the intention of developing SCORM-compliant ready courses and instead were given a different challenge: How do you motivate the learners to take the courses and, then, how do you motivate them when they're taking the courses?

This led to quite a few hours of brainstorming outside the bank sitting in a cafe. The answer was a learning campaign. Tell them why it's cool, what kind of change it was about to bring in their lives, and most importantly what would it achieve for them.

The campaign was initiated with an infographic video that could be passed on not only through the corporate intranet, but also through WhatsApp. Most of the employees had smartphones, and it proved to be an interesting mechanism of creating the first round of interest.

The next task was to release the courses gradually. We created a 30'' curtain raiser video for each course using tools like GoAnimate and Powtoons, and we introduced a gamification feature: Get a PowerBadge as you complete each course and win goodies. A leaderboard with PowerBadges was also introduced in the intranet. Maximum PowerBadge winners were advertised, celebrated, and pointed to for information.

Most intranets have a knowledge forum where information can be searched; the PowerBadge winners were displayed there as experts who had gone through the courses and could be contacted for information and knowledge sharing. This particular information acted as a source of immense pride for the winners.

In short, the learning campaign was not relegated to posters and banners popping up across the screens, but had some actual impact on the motivation to learn for the employees.

Best Practices From Marketing And Advertising

To drive a learning campaign, you cannot think like a training designer. You also need to put an advertising hat and think integrated campaigns. The following questions need to be answered:

  • What kind of a message will be truly motivating?
  • What kind of medium will help me reach them effectively?
  • What kind of a gratification can truly hook them into the system?

Sometimes learning is as much about the 4Ps (Product/Service, Place, Price, Promotion) as marketing is. And for learning, motivation can determine both the interest as well as the outcome for the learner.

A classic example of motivational design is what LinkedIn implemented with Lynda.com. A LinkedIn Premium customer gets immediate access to Lynda videos and every time he completes a course it keeps on getting added to his LinkedIn profile. Going by the ecosystem, it keeps the user's employability alive and presents them as a true lifelong learner, therefore an adaptable enthusiast to their future employers. For LinkedIn, the user remains a lifelong Premium customer till they reap value.

Learning Campaigns In Your Organization

"The times they are a-changin'" - and like never before. The question is no longer about better processes and systems in our organizations, but about humans vs. machines. The future that had been a part of Asimov tales even a decade back is now here. And as days go by, questions about re-skilling and relevance of employees will be more important than ever. This will also impact your Learning and Development efforts.

What kind of skills do you want to empower your employees with? How many of them can really be empowered with these?

Creating a learning organization will remain paramount in the days to come and this will also prompt the need for learning campaigns.