[Free eBook] The Rules of eLearning Engagement – Part 1: Communication

elearning engagement

If you find it difficult to engage your learners, don’t despair. In our recent survey, 71% of people said engagement was their biggest challenge too. That’s why we’ve collected together some simple steps you can follow to give your training the best chance of being engaging! Download our eBook: The Rules of Engagement – a formula for success.

About The eBook

eLearning engagement is complicated. It needs a number of elements to come together. We cover several of these topics including:

  • Commitment 
  • Communication
  • Content 
  • Delivery
  • Motivation
  • Analysis and Iteration

To keep things simple, (and engaging!), we’ve anchored our thoughts against our own formula for engagement: 

This should help you to understand how you can improve your company’s eLearning engagement today. Download the eBook now, or read the extract below highlighting the importance of communication.

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Extract

Clear communication is crucial to ensure success with engagement, so it’s a great place to start. Enjoy!

Communication

One of the first steps to learner engagement is to get training introduced into regular channels of communication. Think about all of the different ways your organization communicates. What was the last message sent to a large group of learners and how was it shared? Why was that communication channel used? Was it through Slack, Yammer, Email, Trello

Training conversations should be just as likely to happen in the boardroom or by the water-cooler🚰From quarterly updates to weekly meetings, and daily stand-ups, get training on the agenda. Humans are creatures of habit. Regular conversations about training will help to solidify it as a priority.

Cadence

With regular communication, you can weave training programs into your company’s culture. A consistent cadence is very important. The goal is for learners to describe training as “something we do” rather than “something we have to do”. As the saying, often attributed to Peter Drucker, goes: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Your learning management system (LMS) should have the tools that you need to reinforce this. Notifications and reminders are simple features that keep training front of mind. But can you influence the process earlier than these LMS touch points?

Go to the learner by contacting them via their most used communication channels. If you use tools such as Email, Skype, Slack, Mattermost or Yammer, then start there.

Engagement also depends heavily on interaction. Go to where conversation is already taking place to introduce the new learning environment to your learners.

The key information you need to communicate to get them started is:

  • Where they can find your learning management system
  • How they can access it
  • The basic elements of the learner dashboard
  • The benefits and objectives of their courses
  • Timelines of when the training will be available, what training will be available, due dates, etc.
  • Instructors who will be carrying out the training
  • Rewards and recognition they will achieve by completing training

Some of the information above may appear obvious. But it will help to reduce any friction that exists, particularly with learners who have never used an LMS before. It’s also easy to forget that an LMS is just one tool within a larger set that your learners use day in and day out. Most LMSs are designed well and so are intuitive to use for the learner. 

Providing clear and concise information on training programs and the LMS helps. Your learners should know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it. And you should explain how training helps them in their day-to-day performance and progression.

Explaining the value of training

Your learners may ask themselves ‘is this training worthy of my time?’. Your job is to ensure that the answer to this is a resounding yes, even if the subject matter isn’t enthralling. The main reasons for carrying out training are usually quite obvious.

Leading with that can place the task lower down on the learner’s list of priorities. A learner that believes the lesson is valuable to them is more engaged and learns better. You have to show them the value.

In the case of compliance courses, it’s obvious that the training has to be done. But there’s an opportunity to package that message better.

For example, a health and safety course has to be completed to comply with legislation and ultimately avoid potential penalties. The message communicated to learners is usually something along the lines of “You have to complete this course”. A better way to communicate this message is “this course will help you stay safe in your workplace”.

Use the information you have at hand to detail the specific benefits. For example, people who completed this course are X% less likely to be injured than those who do not.

All you need to do is align the message with each learner’s priorities and motivations instead of the company’s. This approach is effective for other types of courses too.

Let’s take a sales training course, for example. The motivation to complete the course could be presented as “your manager wants you to pass this course” or “you will close more deals as a result of completing this training”. Which message do you think would be more likely to engage and motivate the sales team?

Messaging takes practice to get right. If this is an area that you struggle with, buy your marketing manager a coffee and find out how they do it. As a trainer you’ll need to become adept at promoting the specific benefits training has for your learners.

Think like a marketer    

Promotion is essential for engagement. A trainer should be part educator, part marketer. How can you expect to have engaged learners unless you promote? If you’re passionate about training, tell people.

Learners are busy, and there’s a lot of noise in the modern workplace. To place training in the spotlight, you need to use the communication channels mentioned above and ensure your message reaches your learners.

The language you use to simplify the message and highlight the benefits is important. Two different types of promotional campaigns are available to you:

  • A campaign to promote the use of your LMS and the business’s training efforts as a whole. A campaign like this sits above promoting individual courses and learning paths. It serves as the foundation for all other training efforts and can be used to communicate with both current and future learners. This places the LMS as a central tool in their working life within your organization.
  • A campaign to promote individual courses or training programs. The main purpose is to promote existing and upcoming courses to learners. It also reminds managers so that they can provide support to learners when they’re completing training and schedule additional resources if necessary. This campaign should detail the learning objectives for the course when it will be available, when it’s due for completion, and specific details on the course content. The benefits for the learner and the skills they will develop should also be clearly communicated.

These campaigns provide structure for the promotion of training programs. This structure helps your learners to prioritize completion of training.

Encouragement

With strong communication and promotion in place, let’s move on to building and maintaining momentum. This is where you can incorporate positive reinforcement.

Building a training centric culture in your organization requires a lot of encouragement. This encouragement promotes inclusion and also motivates learners to engage. Highlighting positive performance is key. This can be achieved by showcasing learners whose behavior is positively affecting the overall performance of your training programs.

Your annual health and safety course may be in the ‘mandatory training’ category, but the process can always improve. Highlight those that have speedily passed the course, or have scored well. This uses those learners as a positive example for others to follow.

Mentioning learners not only reinforces and promotes engagement. It humanizes the process. It also creates a sense of competition. We’re all wired to compete.

In LearnUpon, we have a channel for communicating positive feedback from our customers. This rewards those who are the subject of the praise as it showcases team members who are living the values we have set out. Team members clearly see that great work is valued and appreciated. This creates a culture of encouragement. And this strategy when applied to training works just as well as it does with customer feedback.

This is a soft approach to communicating the positive efforts of your learners. For a more robust and formalized view of training completion, check out the final section of the eBook: Analysis and Iteration.

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Download our eBook, share it with your colleagues, and let us know your thoughts and experiences. If you like this content, and want more, subscribe to our blog to get our posts straight to your inbox once a week. 

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