Ten Tips for Learner Engagement

16th Jun 2015

I’ve been posting to this blog for a while now and some of those posts have been about how an LMS can benefit the organisation, but at their heart most of the posts are about the potential benefits to the learner.

Here is a recap of my ten favourite ways to use your LMS to help with learner engagement.

1 - Induction and onboarding

To put it colloquially, induction is something that once complete will make sure you know where things are and what you should be doing. The LMS can be a real boon during induction, especially where the information being shared is fixed and factual.

As corporate networks have become more open and as more organisations move to a SaaS model of IT, the LMS has also become a really powerful tool in the onboarding process. It is often the first corporate IT system that many employees use - making it critical that the experience is as good as it can possibly be.

Read more about Induction and onboarding.

2 - Blended learning journeys

The days of workplace learning being confined to the classroom or endless self study elearning modules is long gone (or it should be anyway). We are much more likely to present a learning journey, comprised of multiple elements instead of just one or two. We can use an LMS to organise and present those elements in a structured way that makes sense to the learner.

Read more about Seamless blended learning journeys.

3 - Closing the skills gap

For employees to remain engaged with learning they need to have a way to assess their current competence against the skills and behaviours for their role (or a role to which they aspire). Most importantly they need to be able to easily identify the learning opportunities available to close their skill gaps.

Read more about Skills Analysis in the LMS.

4 - Learning in the flow of work

Formal learning interventions, whether they are in person or online are often disconnected from the actual work the learner does. Digital learning tools shouldn’t just make it easier to deliver formal content in the way we always have - they should help us move the learning closer to the work.

Read more about eLearning in the real world.

5 - Support for 70:20:10

We need to recognise that not everything requires a formal learning intervention. We need to make it easy to access informal content and resources. Sometimes we just need to recognise that learners don’t always need our support and that if we attempt to be involved in everything we can actually hamper their learning.

Ream more about the LMS in a 70:20:10 world.

6 - Go mobile

Many of the common tasks that employees used to do sat in front of a PC can now be done on a mobile device and they expect learning to be the same. We need to allow learners to access content from smartphones, tablets and other devices.

Read more about Access On The Go.

7 - Connect learners (and their devices)

Mobile isn’t just about content. Workers rarely act in isolation - even if they are geographically remote from their colleagues. Being more connected means that pretty much every worker is now a collaborator (using blogs, wikis, forums, social networks and instant messaging to discuss work and learning) and they are curators (collecting, organising and sharing useful materials).

We need to use the available tools (whether that’s our LMS or the learner’s own tablet) to enable these activities.

Read more about Learning across devices.

8 - Visual learning journeys

Presenting learners with something that looks like a glorified spreadsheet is not a good way to use an LMS and is never likely to be engaging. One solution is combining good visual design with good instructional design to create compelling visual learning journeys.

They provide context, encourage exploration and can be used to blend formal content with informal resources and opportunities for social networking.

Read more about Visual Learning Journeys.

9 - Gamification

Gamification isn’t just about playing games, it’s the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage learners in solving problems and increasing their input into the activity. It presents the learner with a degree of challenge and then gives suitable rewards for overcoming them.

There is a lot of research to show that this really works.

Read more about Gamification.

10 - Keep the learner in the front of your mind

The LMS has a reputation as being a tool that is all about admin and solely benefits L&D - but great admin doesn’t engage learners. All of these tips are about one thing - “developing learning with the audience in mind”. Designing and developing great learning isn’t just about the content itself, it’s also about using the tools that learners use to access it to deliver a great experience.