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How to Skyrocket Your Learning Engagement Rates

High learner engagement is crucial to showcasing the value and impact of your training. We’ve already shared how communication, content and experience are crucial elements of a high engagement strategy. Now let’s look at the final pillar to learning engagement levels: Motivation.

Motivating your learners to engage with your training isn’t a simple switch you can turn on. But there is a way to tackle it. 

To drive motivation you’ll have to look at your organization’s culture, develop a strategy and, if you have one, use a learning management system (LMS).

What motivates us? 

There are two types of motivation that can be applied to learning experiences  – intrinsic and extrinsic. Both are critical drivers, with each having a vital role to play in improving your learning engagement strategy.

Types of Motivation


Learners do the training without an overt reward, rather it’s done because it’s interesting, helpful, and internally fulfilling. 


Learners do the training with the expectation of getting an external reward or recognition for doing so.

Communicating the benefits of training completion to your learners is a big engagement driver, and it’s an intrinsic benefit. They become motivated because they’ll learn new skills that will help them do their job better, feed their passion for a subject, or just make their day-to-day lives easier. The motivation here is to complete the course for the knowledge that the learner will gain. 

But let’s not forget the impact reward and recognition has on us – we’re just more likely to get something done if we know there’s a reward at the end. This is an extrinsic motivation and gives your engagement levels a greater chance of improving. 

Luckily, learning has a ready-made tool to introduce an extrinsic motivation into the mix; Gamification. 

The carrot on the stick

Gamification is the use of game mechanics in activities, such as learning, to enhance the user’s experience and motivate them to execute certain behaviors.

If we take a look around, Gamification is everywhere and used by everyone; sometimes it’s so subtle it goes unnoticed. You’re already using it, and so are your learners. 

Take, for example, a coffee shop loyalty card. If you get a free coffee after 9 stamps, you’re more likely to keep going back for another coffee, to reach your 10th coffee reward. This is the basic principle of extrinsic motivation through Gamification.

Gamify your training 

Gamification is a prominent pillar of learning because trainers need help with motivating learners. The concept is understandable, fun, and matches up well with extrinsic motivation. 

Generally, Gamification within a learning management system features:

  • Badges
  • Points
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards

For Gamification to be effective, it needs to be treated as a tool that enriches the learning experience alongside every other step in this eBook. It’s not a bandage that covers up other failings in course creation. 

If Gamification is new to your organization, we suggest starting off with a simple strategy, then adapt and grow this strategy as you start to yield results.

Remember though, Gamification isn’t a quick-fix. The extrinsic motivation needs time to kick in, so let it run for a while before assessing its impact on engagement. 

We also suggest thinking outside the box with Gamification, add your own flair, make it your company’s own so that everyone feels involved and motivated by it. 

The social side of learning

Although there’s so many effective ways to engage and motivate your learners, modern, online training still has a weakness – learner isolation. 

Learner isolation can be a real motivation killer as it can strip many of the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits away, so it’s crucial that you’re aware of it. Isolation relates to the lack of interaction between two different types of ‘contacts’:  

  • Isolation from instructors or trainers as learners feel that they’re not supported, rewarded, or recognized.
  • Isolation from other learners as learners feel they’re operating in a vacuum, distant from their peers.

To tackle learner isolation, we recommend establishing clear communication of the available training programs through popular channels, grouping learners together in webinars, and employing Gamification features that focus the group, like leaderboards. 

A great LMS will also provide features that mimic peer-to-peer, social learning online. By having a Forum within your LMS, learners can share information, and learn from each other, while instructors can communicate easily with an entire audience. New topics can be suggested, questions can be answered, and dialogue can happen freely; it’s a hive for learning, communication, and a remedy for isolation.

Improving your learners’ experience is one of many ways to increase your learners engagement with your training. Download our eBook ‘The Rules of Learning Engagement: The Formula for Success’, and discover how to stop low engagement from hampering your learning strategy, with the 5-step engagement formula.

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