The Instilled by PeopleFluent team recently published their first-ever ebook: Learn Like You Live: Ensuring Learner Engagement by Harnessing the Power of the Everyday. This extract from the third of the ebook’s four main chapters explores 11 recommendations focussed on driving continuous engagement in your eLearning programs.
Taking the extra steps to create a culture of learning within your organization can lead to a competitive advantage for your business. For curious employees whose peripheral drivers are contribution and impact in the workplace, the reward of continuous learning may in and of itself create greater engagement. But there are also steps that we can take to ensure that with every learning moment, we are continuously engaging our workforce. Here are 11 key factors to consider when creating a balanced learning program that can drive continuous engagement:
For a visual exploration of how we train, take a look at our infographic.
Videos that are interesting and engaging are a driving force in creating easy-to-consume content. Especially when learning videos are made by employees to help explain the content (more on this later in this section).
It’s widely accepted as fact that videos are more successful for corporate learning, and there is a wealth of data supporting this. Forrester Research reports that employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read. Also, video training lessons increase an employee’s retention levels by 65%.
Consulting subject matter experts (SME) who have a firm pulse on your organization and industry can provide a wealth of knowledge and interactive learning resources. The content SMEs help develop should include real examples that learners can absorb quickly within the flow of work. Another reason we suggest creating and hosting these ‘testimonials’ on a video platform is the infusion of social proof.
Social proof is the psychological and social phenomenon in which people emulate the actions of others while endeavoring to undertake behavior in a given situation. A good example of this is consumers deciding to watch Stranger Things on Netflix because friends, family, and online influencers are raving about it. And it works! According to viewership numbers released by Nielsen, the show had 19.7 million viewers within four days of the season 3 episode 1 release.
So, what can we ascertain from this example? By leveraging your subject matter experts to offer bona fide ‘social proof’ for new employees, learning professionals can create a valuable learning experience that encourages engagements.
Learning content should be available on any device and from anywhere in the world. These two points are especially important for global organizations with remote learners. Whether a learner is working from their home office or traveling across the globe, learning content should be easily accessible and include features such as:
For learners without easy access to an internet connection, ‘light’ content is the key feature of accessible content. Ensuring content is designed to be lightweight from the beginning is essential, rather than trying to cut full bandwidth versions which can affect the quality and discourage users.
It’s not likely for an employee onboarding video to ‘go viral’ the way cat videos do. However, encouraging your team to share learning content is important. People enjoy sharing content outside of the workplace because it fosters a connection and helps build community. To provide the data backing this phenomenon, let’s look at the science behind why people are compelled to share content.
Jonah Berger, writer and professor at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, is an expert on social influence and viral marketing. Berger’s specific expertise on how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on led him to publish an article in Psychological Science. In exploring why people share stories and information with others, Berger discovered that information and content sharing is physiologically driven, specifically due to emotional stimuli that activates the autonomic nervous system—the part of our nervous system that supplies the internal organs, such as our heart.
For most of us, this simply means content which evokes certain emotions—like a fluffy cat video— is more likely to be shared. This brings us to our next point on why it’s critical to make a human connection and how you can accomplish this feat by including employees in your eLearning videos.
Making a human connection while sifting through learning materials can help contextualize learning. Having leaders and other employees introduce themselves via video will give learners a better grasp on the hierarchy and how to best navigate the organization. These custom creations can also provide actionable, real-life advice and set expectations for new employees on what a successful employee looks like in their new workplace.
For example, investment firm Goldman Sachs ran a campaign that did just that. Through the use of short introductory videos from multiple employees within the organization, the firm’s ‘Day in the Life’ campaign showed recruits and new hires what it was like to work for the company. This tactic furthers the ‘social proof’ requirement for driving continuous engagement.
Microlearning—or ‘bursts’ of learning that focus on a small set of objectives or even one single topic—is preferred by many learners because comprehension is easier with less time required. Whether that’s short, 3-4 minute videos, animations, or even articles that indicate upfront how long they will take to read, these could offer key learning objectives, encouraging retention in even the most distracted learners or those with informal learning styles.
By making it easier to practice learning in the flow of work, microlearning helps L&D professionals address the challenge of meeting learners where they’re most comfortable. Understanding that people—of all generations—already receive truncated information in their daily lives, microlearning is a natural progression for workplace learning. Not to mention, learners are telling us they prefer this method of learning. A survey by SoftwareAdvice found that 58% of full-time employees who responded said they would be more likely to use their company’s Learning Management System (LMS) if shorter lessons were incorporated.
Another innovative tool is the theory of ‘chunking’ or creating microcontent from existing materials. In practice, chunking could be taking existing learning content and breaking it up to be repackaged into bursts of more focused pieces. Rather than sifting through eLearning materials, learners can find relevant information more easily.
Learners should be able to rate and review content as they consume it, allowing L&D professionals to further tailor training efforts with hard data. Much like Netflix’s curated list of shows ‘recommended for you,’ the learning solution you build should be set up to recommend relevant learning materials based on user preferences. In an effort to make instant connections, relevant learning materials should be ideally no more than two clicks away.
If users enjoy specific learning content or find it valuable, encourage them to rate and review it. Conversely, if materials are not valuable or create challenges in the learning process, you should also encourage them to rate and review. On the topic of reviews, be sure you take time to name your content and avoid certain terms…
It’s important to be thoughtful when referring to your content. Avoid terms like ‘course’ and ‘module’ which sound like formal learning materials and can lessen engagement. eLearning should emulate how we interact with content in our everyday lives.
Remember to make finding your content as easy as possible by having a distinct, categorized library of learning materials. Providing a clear way to search and filter your content saves time for your learners and makes them more likely to take the initiative.
Another component to consider for easily-accessible content is captioning and/or transcriptions. Based on the MIT OpenCourseWare case study from captioning and transcription company, 3PlayMedia, 97% of students said interactive transcripts enhanced their learning experience.
Are you delivering interactive content types? Including employee-curated videos and ensuring your users see human faces is essential. Again, evoking emotion can increase engagement and encourage users to share interactive content with other learners.
In the full ebook, we examine both the wider context of learner expectations and offer some practical advice for meeting their expectations. Read the following chapters for more:
See also our new infographic exploring key stats and statements about how we live and learn.
In this extract from our new Learn Like You Live ebook, the current state of eLearning is examined, along with the imminent challenges presented by changing content and learning expectations.Read more
Discover five reasons why your organization doesn’t need a ‘Netflix of Learning’, with input from Steve Goldberg, a Human Capital Management Analyst at Ventana Research.Read more
‘The Netflix of Learning’ is an industry buzzword but is it a valid one? We examine why there are better models when building the new wave of learning content.Read more