Five ways to learner engagement with an LMS
Still having LMS engagement problems? These five tips will help, says Amit Gautam.
Employees are one of the biggest assets of an organisation and happy employees naturally help the business thrive in productivity, profit and much more. So, it is of utmost importance that these employees, who are the end learners for any L&D strategy, are well engaged.
But what exactly is this concept called ‘learner engagement’ that is a cornerstone of every L&D move?
Understanding learner engagement
In the L&D domain, ‘learner engagement’ has a lot to do with the degree of attention of learners, their curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion when they are learning or being taught. It also covers the learners’ level of motivation to learn and progress in their training and learning.
If you are an L&D professional who has been thinking that the staff has to take the training anyway, so why bother about engagement, you may be making a big mistake! If you ignore engagement, you risk huge drop-out figures and low retention rates.
According to a Gallup poll, a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. The worst part is that many companies are not even aware of the situation, according to the poll. The same poll points out that companies with an engaged workforce outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
L&D needs to create a learning strategy which allows learners to access training programmes through mobile devices (of their choice) at anytime and in any place.
All this reiterates the point that learner engagement is not something that organisations should be taking lightly, especially when it comes to adopting technology-enabled training. After all, engaged learners = better learning outcomes = business success.
The easiest way of ensuring learner engagement is to invest in a Learning Management System (LMS) with features that can make the learning experience engaging, collaborative and easily accessible to the learners. But, in addition to an LMS, it also helps to revamp the entire learning and training strategy to include ways and means to make the learning environment itself enjoyable.
Here are a few steps to remember while designing the learning strategy to put learner engagement on top of the agenda.
Anywhere, anytime, any device learning
In a dynamic L&D landscape, imparting the right training by leveraging the right technology is paramount to the success of an organisation. At a time when each one of us handles two or more mobile devices at the same time, it is only imperative that the learning strategy too uses mobile learning to enhance learner engagement.
L&D needs to create a learning strategy which allows learners to access training programmes through mobile devices (of their choice) at anytime and in any place. This kind of learning, which employees can access as per their convenience, sometimes even on-the-go, is a great way of keeping them engaged.
It means they are not forced to take training programmes at only a specific time (sometimes hampering their work schedules) but can take them while they are travelling (thus using their downtime) or have some leisure time. It is easier to accept training once the riders on time, place and schedules are obliterated or relaxed.
Gamification has always been known to help L&D provide better value to their employees by making learning engaging, while at the same time helping them retain and apply the knowledge gained. A good gamification strategy with high levels of engagement helps increase recall and retention among learners.
Introducing game mechanics that reward learners with badges, points or ranks are a great way of increasing learner engagement and why not! After all, every individual desires to win or gain recognition which drives him/ her to perform or, in this case, learn. Gamification hits all the right notes to engage and drive learners to learn by incentivising actions/performance.
Adaptive/ AI-based learning
The whole noise about Artificial Intelligence (AI) is justified considering these systems are able to identify each learner’s needs and come up with models which focus on method and reason. elearning via AI means that learners are free to explore topics in depth, and their knowledge is tested in complex scenarios rather than simple right-or-wrong answers.
Adaptive learning, which is a subset of AI-based learning, focuses on the customisation of the design and delivery of learning based on each learner’s individual learning needs and performance in real-time. By offering personalised learning, these platforms recognise and embrace the diversity that is part of any learning ecosystem.
Introducing these in a learning strategy are a great way to enhance learner engagement by customising learning to suit the needs of a learner.
All our life, the way we learn keeps undergoing several changes. Among the several versions of learning, the one that perhaps brings out the best from learners is Learning 3.0 which is all about ‘self-learning’ and is not defined by experts but rather hinges on the concept for ‘sharing’.
In this version, learners are the ones who take the centre stage, elucidating what they want to learn, and instructors turn into facilitators helping them find the answers in their own way. This is what is referred to as informal learning which is a key component of an impactful training strategy because it simulates a natural, self-driven learning experience.
Informal learning is essential for learner engagement because when employees are given a certain level of control over their training they are more likely to form positive opinions about the training. Also, when training shifts from an obligatory activity to an exploratory opportunity, employees become more engaged.
Like informal learning, blended learning too can provide a unique way of not only engaging learners, but also personalising and individualising instruction for them. It is a popular ‘fusion’ that combines some forms of learning: like formal and informal learning, in class and independent, in person and digital learning, etc.
Blended learning puts learners in charge of their development and can be a catalyst to improve the learning experience. By using blended solutions, L&D can make the right learning available to learners where and when they need it.
In conclusion, engaged learners are more likely to retain and transfer knowledge than their less engaged counterparts. Bolstering learner engagement is hardly a lofty challenge. Instead, it is best if viewed as an exciting opportunity because increasing learner engagement can deliver a huge return on investment.
In fact, the effectiveness of the training programme and its success is most often determined by an assessment of learners’ attendance, performance and participation (which can come only when the learners are well engaged).
So, here’s to designing robust programmes that put learner engagement first!
About the author
Amit Gautam is founder and director of Upside Learning Solutions
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