As a content developer or learning leader, it can be disheartening to see that your learners aren’t interested in the course you have assigned them.
Despite the hours you have put into creating or selecting the right eLearning experience, your efforts still aren’t yielding the results you want. Luckily, you don’t have to work harder to create better content. You just have to work a little smarter.
Engaged learners are motivated, inspired, and willing to exert effort when completing a course.
This article will explore the top three ways to motivate and engage learners and help you incorporate new methods into your content development efforts.
Making Content Engaging When Concepts Are Difficult
# 1 Make learning objectives clear: While we often think that engaging learners means giving them complete freedom over their schedule and course structure. This, however, is far from the truth.
Learners tend to perform better when they know what is expected of them and are provided with guidance. Otherwise, they could end up becoming overwhelmed by difficult concepts and important tasks. Here are some ways you can create a structure for your learners:
- At the beginning of the course, outline three clear learning goals. While the learner’s personal goals are important, it’s also critical to provide more general objectives that apply to everyone. When writing the goals, keep the tone approachable and confident.
- Provide a brief description of the course’s layout.. Create a short trailer video of the course – show them what they will learn and how the course works.
- Address major projects and assignments right away. This will help your learners mentally prepare for big tasks and will encourage them to apply what they have learned to their future projects.
Structure doesn’t have to be boring or intimidating. Providing your learners with a transparent outline will let them know that you value their experience.
Engaging Content Focused on Learner’s Needs
# 2 Understand your learners’ needs: Gaining a sense of how your learner’s needs relate to their broader professional goals is an important first step in boosting engagement:
- Start The Course With A Personal Activity: After outlining three general learning objectives, ask your learners to come up with a learning objective of their own. Even if the course is in an online format, encourage them to write their objectives down on paper.
Scientific studies show that learners who vividly describe and picture their goals are 1.2-1.4 times more likely to accomplish them. The simple practice of writing goals down on paper will help your learner see that their goals are important and worthy of attention.
Your learners don’t even need to directly share what they have written with the instructor or their peers. Staying anonymous encourages them to be honest, vulnerable, and take ownership of their learning. There are, however, other ways to get a sense of your student’s goals and boost their engagement at the same time.
Learning Engagement: Communication is Key!
#3 Prioritize communication: Many of the common barriers to learning are a matter of miscommunication. Designing a course with open communication channels in mind is a solid start to keeping learners engaged from beginning to end.
The two kinds of conversations you could have are structured and unstructured conversations, each with its benefits:
- Structured Conversations: Studies have shown that people need to see a message at least seven times before it sinks in. Instructor-led conversations are a great way for the instructor to reiterate the course’s general learning objectives, repeat core focuses, and remind learners of upcoming assignments.
- Unstructured conversations: Online communication can also involve more casual discussions. This could look like an informal check-in or a free-flowing brainstorming session. Below are three elements of a successful brainstorm:
- Stay Open: Being fully open and non-judgemental towards new ideas is one of the golden rules of creative thinking. When brainstorming, everyone’s ideas are valuable.
- Think freely: No matter how crazy an idea may seem while brainstorming, no idea is silly nor impossible. Encouraging creativity and imagination will help learners stay engaged with the topic at hand.
- Think Big: The more ideas, the better. Try to produce at least 10 new solutions or ideas before the brainstorming session is over.
The most effective courses will combine these two kinds of conversations, and provide a balance of structure and fluidity for learners.
Paving The Way Towards Better Learning Engagement
Learners crave engagement and want to feel like their learning has a purpose just as much as anyone else. By being clear, assessing learner’s needs, and communicating frequently, you can make a course memorable and interesting for everyone involved.
How has your business or organization tried to boost learning engagement? What are your learning needs? Come to us with your experiences, thoughts, and goals for the future! Remember that together, we learn.