If we want to continuously improve job performance and business results, then we need to do a good job helping our employees gain and retain new knowledge and skills. Companies with effective eLearning programs can do just that. These companies also tend to attract and retain top talent, as well as increase employee engagement and satisfaction.
The question then becomes, how do we get our employees EXCITED about taking and completing our eLearning courses? Well, we know for sure that we can’t do it with training that is seen as dull, compliance-oriented, irrelevant, or unsupported. What, then, are the keys to getting your employees (and supervisors) excited about eLearning?
Here are six tips to get you started:
Tip 1: Tell them why they are taking the training
It may seem obvious, but with so many important things to do while they are on the job, employees need to know that every eLearning course they take has a clear purpose or deliverable. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” in the course description. Link the learning objectives to the employee’s goals and their role in the organization.
You also need to ensure that you have management buy-in and that each manager is able to articulate why the course is important to the individual employee and the organization as a whole. For particularly important courses, you may wish to invest in some management training, to equip your managers with the information they need to help them encourage their team to sign up and complete the training. Tell them what they need to know in order to support their employees before, during, and after training. That leads directly to the next tip.
Tip 2: Provide the necessary support for your eLearning program
Don’t think that a simple email announcement of the new eLearning course is enough to excite and engage your employees. You need to communicate with them MULTIPLE times and make certain that they have all the information they need in order to complete the training. Be specific about logistics and how to get their questions answered. For example:
- Describe how and when they can take the course. Let them know that they can complete the course whenever they have time, which means that there should be minimal impact to their schedule.
- Explain that the eLearning course is designed to accommodate the way they learn. They can go back over content multiple times if they are having difficulty, or they can take the course in smaller or larger chunks to suit their individual preferences.
- Reassure them that eLearning is flexible enough to accommodate vacation or sick days since they can easily catch up when they return to the office. No need to schedule “make-up” classes.
- Make clear what they need to do if they have a question or problem. You may want to set up a weekly online session, where your employees can bring all their issues for resolution.
- Depending on your employees and how familiar they are with eLearning, you may want to schedule an introductory session, to make everyone more comfortable. This can be conducted at a staff meeting, or via online conference call. Let them know that they are not expected to struggle and work out the problem on their own and that someone is always available to help.
Read more: Getting Your Company Prepared for eLearning
Tip 3: Recognize and reward your employees who complete eLearning courses
If you want to build a learning culture in your organization, you need to reinforce the behaviors you want to see more of. Praise employees who seek out training opportunities congratulate people who earn new certifications and/or credentials, and reward managers who encourage their staff to develop new skills.
Add training and development activities to your end of year performance reviews. You might even consider creating a sense of competition, by creating a leaderboard where employees can check how many courses they have completed compared to their peers. And you could even offer a prize for the employee with the most completed courses.
But don’t just reward at the end of training. Set up methods that allow employees to check in and see their progression at multiple phases along the way. Add tests, quizzes, and games to give your employees the ability to assess their progress. This will encourage them to stay on track and finish what they have started.
Tip 4: Make it personal
One of the beauties of eLearning is that all employees are not stuck in the same training room, taking the same training, all at the same pace. You will find that eLearning, by its very nature, is very customizable. Make certain that you cater your eLearning courses for both more advanced, as well as less advanced employees. For example, you can allow employees to skip entire portions of the training (or test out) if they already know the material.
Design your lessons with short attention spans in mind, broken into smaller manageable chunks, with tests for comprehension and regular recaps as you go along. You can even add optional additional modules for employees who already know the basics.
But, beyond creating bite-sized, modular eLearning courses, you have to start thinking like a marketer and treat your learners are consumers whose attention you are vying for.
Here are some tips to help you woo learners:
- Determine the exact needs and learning preferences of your audience. Carry out a thorough audience analysis.
- Map learning journeys. Read more about Learner Experience Mapping here.
- Evaluate the results of your efforts regularly from learner feedback. Track employee engagement and job satisfaction to determine if your courses have hit the mark. Tweak accordingly to improve your scores.
- Innovate. Innovate. Innovate continuously to keep audiences curious to find out what you have for them next.
With eLearning, you have a lot of flexibility in how you deliver the material. If you want your employees to be excited about your training, use all the options at your disposal!
Tip 5: Spend some time and effort on good design
If you think that you can take your 15-year-old PowerPoint presentation, dump it into an eLearning format and still be successful, then you are sadly mistaken. Employees are very sophisticated when it comes to online learning. They expect A LOT more than an online version of the same old PowerPoint that they have seen before.
Design your eLearning with a high degree of readability, interaction, and visual engagement. Remember, employees today have short attention spans and are accustomed to online games and e-commerce sites. They will not be impressed with a string of bullet points.
Tip 6: Make your eLearning interactive, engaging, and above all, fun!
There are two words to keep in mind when designing eLearning courses: immersive and interactive. Don’t just think about the knowledge or skill being presented. Think about how you might involve your learner, and get them hooked on your dramatic situation. They will be anxious to apply their new knowledge to move along with storyline.
Another tip on keeping training engaging is to add frequent and short quizzes, rather than waiting until the end for a large test. Keep them on their toes by assessing them intermittently throughout the course.
It’s Up to You!
With just a little effort and attention to these specific details, you can have a thriving eLearning program. Just remember, your program is only as good as how many learners actually complete your courses and achieve your training objectives. Start with a clear purpose, follow up with ongoing communication and support and reward along the way, and keep it personal and engaging. You can’t miss!