Every CEO, team leader, HR manager and L&D specialist, no matter the industry, wants to ensure the courses they develop to upskill and reskill their employees will not only keep them engaged and riveted, but also serve its objective of ensuring the right skills are learned and applied in their organisation. After all, a skilled and confident workforce is the force you need to meet your business goals and succeed in a competitive and challenging world.
A skilled, confident, and fired-up workforce doesn’t just happen; it’s always a result of a culture of continuous learning and development and an investment in an e-learning solution that is interesting, engaging, interactive and designed for adult learners in a fast-paced, time-sliced environment.
“When an e-learning programme falls flat, it can be incredibly discouraging for everyone involved. No business wants to invest in and put a lot of effort into a learning programme they truly think will serve their employees, only to have it fail,” says Michael Gullan, CEO of G&G Advocacy, a specialist e-learning organisation focused on delivering high-impact e-learning solutions to South African and international corporates.
“With the right strategy, planning, platform, and the use of Content CapsulesTM, you can get your employees excited and committed to learning and growing in your organisation,” suggests Gullan.
Whether your e-learning solution is aimed at executives, new employees, sales teams, admin, internal or external stakeholders, or a combination, Gullan suggests the following six elements must be checked if you want to succeed and get a return on your learning investments
- Purpose: Ignite interest and commitment
Employees may engage with your e-learning for any number of reasons. Sometimes they’re committed to ongoing personal development, sometimes they’re just curious, and sometimes it’s a KPI. What’s important is that ongoing engagement and buy-in is never a given. Even employees who are interested can become disengaged if you take their interest for granted.
Make sure your employees clearly understand what they will gain by staying the distance and completing their e-learning courses. These may be professional benefits (certification in a new field), aspirational (master new skills), cultural (be part of a winning organisation), or even recreational (you’re going to have fun!). Whatever the reason, make sure your employees have a clear why for participating in your e-learning.
- Goals and milestones: Show employees where they’re going and how to get there
Once your employees have a purpose and reason for signing up, show them how they’re going to get to the finish line and achieve their goals. Map out clear learner journeys for each learner profile and communicate them at the start of their e-learning adventure. Make it a venture and an adventure, communicating the positive outcomes of each course, module, or Content CapsuleTM. Introduce courses in a way that is not intimidating but inviting and accessible.
Don’t keep your learners in the dark; it is disempowering and can lead to fear of the unknown and unnecessary pressure. Provide a clear roadmap of the learning material and what they’ll achieve at every milestone. They will then understand where they’re going and see how far they’ve come.
- Practice: Provide interactive experiences so employees can apply new learnings
Is your course currently set up with a “lesson, test, lesson, test, lesson, final” format? This structure puts a lot of pressure on learners to memorise information without engaging in a meaningful way. eLearning is more powerful and is remembered more easily, for longer. When learners can practice via scenarios, games, and simulations, they’ll be confident about their workplace learnings.
The right e-learning platform gives employees the tools to practice their learning directly on the platform. Whether practical, technical, soft skills or leadership skills, the application ensures learners remember what to do after course completion.
- Assessment: Show employees how much they’ve improved
Do your learners know how well they’re doing in your e-learning programmes? Regular check-ins through micro quizzes and other feedback sessions are an important part of any online training, not because learners need grades but because learners need encouragement.
If that seems strange to you, it’s because many of us are conditioned to think of quizzes as intimidating—something we might fail at. However, review quizzes should be anything but. Short quizzes, delivered quickly after a course, are a way to check their knowledge and catch misunderstandings before they become ingrained. And, when a learner passes a quiz, it’s a boost of confidence to keep going.
- Support: Learners shouldn’t feel ignored or invisible
Many online courses are long, unsustainable and can lead to burnout. When learners become exhausted, discouraged, or bored, they often quit. By interrogating your analytics, you’ll understand your course’s weak points and take the steps needed to optimise them.
Automated emails, text messages, and embedded trigger communications serve as reminders and encouragement. Should a learner need more personal encouragement, you can offer short video calls or one-on-ones to let them know that their absence is not unnoticed.
- Engagement: Keep them coming back
Finally, your course should motivate your learners to return, whether you establish an active community, friendly competition, provide social support, gamification, or individual coaching and mentoring—that extra contact is the key to taking your learners to the next level.
“Quality e-learning isn’t just about the content, it’s also about the learner experience,” concludes Gullan. “People don’t learn by being told a lot of information, they learn by a complex process of consuming the course material, testing their knowledge, putting it to practice, as well as encouragement and rewards.”
If you’re struggling to keep learners engaged, it may be time to take a step back and see if you’re missing one of these essential elements. Finding and fixing the missing link may be more achievable than you thought.