The Art Of Persuasive Learning: 7 Tips For eLearning Professionals

The Art Of Persuasive Learning: 7 Tips For eLearning Professionals
Summary: Persuasive learning can be a powerful tool. It can draw in distracted learners and create an emotional connection with your audience. However, there’s a fine line between eLearning courses that persuade learners to interact with the subject matter and become active participants and those that coerce them into completing the module. In this article, I’ll share some tips to help you use the art of persuasion when designing your next eLearning course.

What eLearning Professionals Should Know About Persuasive Learning

The term “persuasion” often gets a bad rap. This is primarily due to the fact that it is mistaken for manipulation or coercion, which are two entirely different definitions. Persuasive learning, when used correctly, can transform eLearning experiences and give learners the opportunity to get every ounce of benefit from their participation in eLearning courses. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing and developing eLearning courses that take full advantage and apply the fine art of persuasive learning.

  1. Persuasive learning is about tempting your learners, not tricking them.
    The primary goal of using persuasive learning is to get learners to actually want to complete the eLearning course and actively participate, not manipulating them into doing so. You shouldn’t have to trick them into finishing each module by using sneaky tactics and techniques. When all is said and done, your learners should be willing participants who are completing the eLearning course because they know it will benefit them in their personal and professional lives and they feel motivated to learn.
  2. Creating an emotional connection comes first.
    It’s essential to build an emotional connection with your learners before you appeal to their logic. In other words, you have to convince their hearts before trying to convince their heads. While it’s important to stress the benefits of the eLearning course and how they can apply the knowledge they will be learning, you first need to make them aware of how they are going to feel when they complete the eLearning  course or the online training event. Persuasive learning involves stories or examples that help them envision what it will be like to finish the modules and how rewarding it is going to be to acquire new knowledge and skill sets. When the emotions are there, then everything else will fall into place and they will be more likely to devote their full attention to the eLearning content.
  3. Not all learners are going to be “persuadable”.
    In a perfect world, every learner who enrolls in your eLearning course or participates in your mandatory online training event would be motivated to learn and interested in every piece of information. However, the simple truth is that there are some learners who may not be “persuadable”. They may not be able to see what’s “in it for them” for one reason or another, or feel as though they have no need for the information you are providing. This is why it’s essential to research your audience. You need to know what information they are looking for and what benefits they need to receive from the eLearning course, or else you won’t find their source of motivation.
  4. Stories can sway learners and highlight real world benefits.
    You can include an abundance of articles, facts, statistics and other hard data, but nothing is as compelling as a well told story. Stories are powerful tools with respect to persuasive learning. They help the learner to relate to the subject matter and highlight real world benefits in a personal and profound way. When learners are able to see how a character in a story has benefited from the information or used in their real lives, this immediately generates interest and inspiration. They can now reflect upon how their experiences might help them to complete the eLearning course, as well as how the subject matter is going to provide them with opportunities outside of the online classroom.
  5. Identify an urgent need and address it within your eLearning course.
    Your learners have a need that must be met. By identifying this urgent need and addressing it in your eLearning course, you gain the power to create a sense of immediacy that will serve as a driving force for your learners. Let them know the rewards they can expect to receive right now, rather than emphasizing those that they will achieve in the near future. Tell them exactly what they will get out of the course in the here-and-now, because this will encourage them to take an active role in the learning process.
  6. A little positive feedback goes a long way.
    Praise and positive feedback, even in small doses, can have a significant impact upon learner engagement and motivation. When we receive positive feedback, we are more likely to actually want to learn and spend time absorbing the information. When learners successfully complete a module or an assessment, congratulate them for their efforts. If they are exposed to positivity in the online learning environment and receive positive feedback on a consistent basis, they are going to be persuaded to continue on with their studies and interact with the content in a more meaningful way.
  7. Passion and authority are the secrets to unlocking active participation.
    Ultimately, the key to persuading your audience is to be a voice of authority and to be passionate about the topic. When people know that you are a reliable and trustworthy source of information, they can see the real value your eLearning course can offer. Learners can sense when you actually believe in the eLearning content and when you are just going through the motions. So, it’s important to always be authentic and have an in depth understanding of the subject you are exploring.

Use these tips to tap into the power of persuasion in eLearning when designing eLearning experiences that grab your learners attention and get them excited about the learning process without blurring the boundaries.

Want to learn more about how to use persuasive learning in your eLearning course design? The article 5 Tips To Design eLearning Based On Persuasive Learning delves into the science behind persuasion and tips on how to incorporate it into your eLearning design.

In addition to the art of persuasive learning, there are a number of other psychological principles Instructional Designers can use to create eLearning courses centered on learning behaviors. Read the article 5 Psychology Principles That eLearning Professionals Should Know to find out more about the 5 Psychology principles you should be aware of, before developing your next eLearning course.

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