The modern workplace is an empowered work environment, where employees can perform at their best. To help them achieve a higher performance level, organizations have to provide them with the required infrastructure, resources, opportunities, and motivation. The modern workplace also includes remote workforces, digital collaboration, tools, techniques, and flexible work hours.
Engaging learners in the modern workplace needs a different approach than providing any simple and usual way of learning. Fortunately, there are multiple strategies that are now available to leverage eLearning and motivational development programs in the workplace. We will explore a few of these methods that can engage learners at the modern workplace in this blog.
What is Learner Engagement?
Before we start discussing the methods of engaging the learners, let's first know what exactly qualifies as learner engagement. It is much more than just motivating the learners to actively participate in the learning activities. Let us look into the following diagram representing the factors that contribute to learner engagement.
Factor-1: Learning Goal
A learning goal is the intended outcome of learning activities. Setting a learning goal provides a learner with an overall direction and focus. It can be achieved through a structured approach to learning.
At the modern workplace, the employee learning goals must be personalized in the following ways:
Aligned to the current role and responsibilities
Current level of experience
When the learning goal is clear to the learner, the engagement level will be higher.
The next level of factors is developed based on the learning goals.
Factor-2: Learning Content
Learning content is the resource or material that the learner needs to access to achieve the learning goals. Engaging learning content for modern workplace employees must have the following features:
Aligned with learning goals
Relevant and bite-sized
Mapped to the workflow
Factor-3: Learning Method
A learning method is an activity that a learner adopts to achieve the learning goal and that suits the learner's preferred style of learning.
Every learner is unique and needs a learning method that suits their learning requirements in a specific way. They might prefer any of the following methods or a combination of multiple methods:
Visual: In this method, learners prefer visual elements (graphics, videos, images)
Aural: This method uses audio elements such as lectures, music, etc.,
Verbal: This method is preferred by learners who need to narrate the learned concepts
Logical: This method helps learners to understand the rationale behind the concepts
Social: Some learners can learn faster if they are part of a group and discuss concepts to solve problems
Solitary: In this method, learners prefer to learn alone, without distraction
Physical: Learners prefer hands-on experience (practical)
Factor-4: Learner Experience
Learner experience essentially refers to any activities performed to enhance the process that learners go through when completing a course with the following goals:
Improving and fostering learning
Increasing student engagement
Maximizing gains in learning new knowledge and skills
This includes the learning environment, interactions, assessments, performance evaluation, progress report, group discussions, etc. that are required to fulfill the learner's journey towards achieving the goal.
Factor-5: Learning Environment
A learning environment is a platform that provides learners with functionalities that support the required learning activities to achieve the learning goal. A typical learning environment includes a learning path, a repository of learning content, assessment tools, mechanisms to track progress, provide assessment scores, and a culture that motivates the learners.
How to Leverage Learner Engagement?
After talking about the factors that influence learner engagement, it's time to consider how to put those elements into practice. The most popular method for achieving this goal is to employ online learning, which can include all the aspects we discussed. Let's examine how each of these factors is addressed through online learning.
Elements of Online Learning
Learning Management System (LMS), a platform for managing a learning environment, includes the functionality of a learning path that provides a guided route of eLearning program modules. These modules can be personalized based on the learner's level of experience. The learning path guides the learners through a specific route to complete learning and achieve the learning goals.
Example: Learning Path
Elements of Online Learning
Online Learning Content
Online learning content is developed keeping in mind the learning goals and objectives. It includes bite-sized content that is simple and easily understood. The following are various forms that make the content engaging:
i) Text in the form of PDF or PowerPoint presentations
ii) On-demand videos
iii) Gamified content
Playing a game encourages active participation in immersive learning. Thus, the effects of learning improve as learner engagement increases. Additionally, giving learners rewards for good performance on the leaderboard, such as a five-star rating or a winner's badge can inspire them more. All areas of the learning curriculum, including online learning topic selection, assignments, evaluations, and performance feedback can incorporate such gaming components. Gamification is a proven technique to improve learner engagement in eLearning.
Gamification: Engaging Factors – Source – eLearning Industry
Gamification helps retain the learning, along with a better application of learned skills at the workplace.
Elements of Online Learning
i) Virtual classroom
ii) Individual learning (online)
iii) Blended learning
iv) Immersive learning
Online learning provides these learning methods for various learning styles preferred by the learners.
Virtual classrooms are live sessions conducted by trainers. It is chosen by learners who prefer interactions with the trainer and need to attend it remotely.
Individual learning is chosen by learners who prefer learning on their own. They can access the learning content online, at any place at their own time.
Let’s understand how blended learning and immersive learning work.
This method of learning combines instructor-led classroom training with online learning. Training programs delivered through this method include face-to-face instructor-led learning, bite-sized digital learning content, and independent study time, guided by an instructor. The learners can choose time, place, pace of learning along with the learning content.
[To know more about it, read our blog: Blended Learning - Why Is It Essential In The Modern Workplace?]
This approach would be preferred by employees who frequently travel and have various tasks because it allows them to structure their workdays around learning. Learners can choose the learning content according to individual learning requirements. Utilizing multiple modalities significantly improves learner engagement, learning, and retention. Learners can also choose the time, place, pace of learning that helps relief from stress and provides motivation to learn.
This method uses Virtual Reality (VR) to imitate real-world situations and engage the learner in a secure and fun learning environment. Immersive learning is an experiential training style. The level of learner engagement will increase when VR is combined with other training methods.
Note - Learners trained through VR are 40% more confident in applying the skill they learned.
Source: PWC Soft Skills VR Study.
Factor-4 & Factor-5
Elements of Online Learning
Learner Experience & Learning Environment
Learning Management System (LMS)
LMS provides a learning environment that includes all elements of the learner experience
It is the complete journey of the various learning stages that a learner goes through. This includes the learning environment, interactions, assessments, performance evaluation, progress report, group discussions, etc. that are required to fulfill the learner's journey towards achieving the goal.
Learning Management System (LMS)
LMS is an online learning platform that can be used for delivering a learning environment with all functionalities required for learners and educators. In the modern workplace, LMS is the most effective tool for employee development.
The following functionalities are useful for learner engagement:
1) Easy-to-use user interface
Learners do not need to spend much time understanding the functions of an LMS. The learning interface is responsive, self-explanatory, and includes a clear learning path (personalized) mapped to the roles and responsibilities of the employee. Additionally, it can be accessed from any device such as a mobile, tablet, desktop, or laptop.
In the current digital era, learners expect flexibility in learning time, place, and pace. A robust LMS provides learners that flexibility, where they can access the learning resources from any place, at any time, and complete the learning online, at their own pace.
3) Progress Tracking
This functionality provides learners with information about their progress in learning. Real-time notifications help the learners know the progress of the course. This also helps the learning administrator to track the progress of the learners in their admin dashboard.
4) Assessment Tools
Assessment is important to determine the learning levels and to verify whether it is meeting the learning objectives. LMS includes assessment tools where educators can upload questions/ exercises that the learners need to attend and receive performance feedback in terms of scores or grades. This functionality improves learner engagement because the assessment outcomes are important to evaluate the effectiveness of learning.
5) Learning Community
While using LMS, learners have the option to interact with peers and seniors to share knowledge and experience and consult with others to solve problems. They can join online discussion forums of common interest areas, participate, and contribute.
To know more about the benefits of using an LMS at the workplace, read our blog: Why Should Organizations Use an LMS to Deploy eLearning?
Example: LMS for Employee Development – Source – The Adam Fenroy Website
Mix, Match, and Continue
We have included the engagement factors for learners at the modern workplace. Learners and employees with different levels of experience would prefer different learning paths and courses that are suited to their learning requirements.
Let’s take an example. For a new recruit who needs to dive deep into highly technical work from day one, the training may follow this path:
Onboarding: Blended learning
Day-wise plan for technical training
OJT with simulations in VR
Assessment and performance feedback
So, while designing an engaging learning experience for learners at the modern workplace, it is essential to know the learner, the background, current level of experience, roles and responsibilities, and future requirements. Learning and development is a non-stop journey and it requires mixing and matching learning objectives and methods along with continuous upgradation of learning concepts.
Last but not the least, it is necessary to invite the learners to provide feedback and suggestions for the programs they are offered. This is required to support the involvement they had initially to voice their learning requirements.
We have helped many organizations enhance their internal training and development solutions with impactful eLearning solutions. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help your organization.