Drive learner engagement: Tailoring learning to the needs of the modern-day employee

Sophie Doust /
eLearning, LMS

Increasing learning engagement has been a consistent challenge for Learning and Talent Development professionals and in 2019, it remains one of the top priorities. However, with learning technology offering more opportunities for just-in-time and self-led learning, boost engagement by fitting learning around the needs of the modern-day worker.

Having engaged learners is critical to the success of any online learning programme but according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, learner engagement is still ranked 2nd in the Top 7 focuses for learning and talent development.

For employees to more willingly engage in essential business learning, it’s important to consider the preferences of the contemporary worker. In today’s working world, employees are given more flexibility than ever before, from entirely remote learning to having designated work at home days.

Just like we have tailored the working lifestyle to suit the needs of a modern-day employee, it is crucial to identify how people want to learn. In a recent study by the Training Industry, they found that if just one preferred method of training is incorporated into learning programmes, they are 50% more likely to be effective.

Therefore, predominately promoting instructor-led courses when the favourite learning technique is mobile learning, would only demotivate your workforce as they aren’t learning in a way that they engage with.

So, to create an engaged learning culture, we must ask the question, what is it that learners want?

Social Learning

With technology making us more connected to everyone, it’s hardly surprising that employees, especially Gen Z, are seeking more opportunities for social learning. 

Research shows that over half of all learners value a collective office environment, where they can discuss ideas with trainers and colleagues.

Although traditional instructor-led training remains a method for creating a collaborative learning culture, it still comes with the inevitable issues of being time-consuming for learners and costly to businesses. 

But face-to-face workshops aren’t the only way to create a social learning experience. Using a Learning Management System with social capabilities offers learners the chance to share knowledge and ideas through forums, messages and groups, forming an interactive learning environment.

Adding social learning initiatives into learning programmes has had a dramatic effect on course adoption rates, with the Harvard Business School seeing an 85% increase in online course completion after introducing a social learning strategy. 

Therefore, proving that integrating preferred methods of training is a guaranteed way to boost engagement.


Ever heard the expression ‘less is more’?. 

With employees having to juggle meetings, emails and multiple deadlines, making time for learning can seem like an impossible task. Whilst 94% of employees said they would stay at a company for longer if they invested in their career development, the number 1 obstacle holding employees back is finding time for learning.

As more and more workers seek learning that fits around their busy schedules, microlearning resources are an ideal solution to the dreaded “I don’t have time for learning” issue.

Rather than adding lengthy eLearning courses to your employees growing to-do-list, microlearning narrows down the content into bite-sized segments of around 15- 20 minutes, providing concise learning that can be easily embedded into a learner’s schedule. 

By making learning a less-time consuming and more manageable task for employees, businesses demonstrate that they’re committed to helping employees career progression as this gives them the time to develop those essential workplace skills.

In return, employees should feel more motivated to engage with learning programmes as the business are offering a solution to support 75% of learners who want to learn in their spare time at work.

Self-Led Learning

Being told “you must do this learning at 9 am” is hardly motivating now, is it?

In our technologically advanced world, people are requiring more control. Choosing how they listen to music, watch their favourite TV shows, even how they work, and learning is no exception.

As we can now access information at the few simple clicks of a button, we’re moving into an era of just-in-time learning, where employees are seeking to steer their own learning pathway, by learning in an instant moment of need opposed to at designated times. 

So, just like how you’d ask Alexa for the weather to get an immediate answer, we’re now expecting the same on-demand access to learning.

With mobile learning, people are given the freedom to learn anytime, anywhere, ultimately, allowing them to learn at their own pace at a desired time.

This added flexibility gives people control over their own learning journey, helping drive motivation in your workforce as learning becomes less of a forced task and more of a choice.

On-the-job Training

You know what they say; practice makes perfect, and it seems learners would agree.

A study by the Training Industry found that learners believe that training methods that allow for applied practice are one of the most effective across all learning topics.

Now, if you’ve just purchased your LMS, don’t panic! Learning technology is the perfect tool to facilitate on-the-job training. 

Say an employee was working in a warehouse and was required to do health and safety on-the-job training with their supervisor. Rather than simply following them around and hoping to remember all the hazards, an LMS lets learners note vital information that they can later refer to in an instant moment of need. After on-the-job training, administrators can create on-the-job assessments to document the delegates knowledge such as ‘Are they able to locate the fire exits?’ and report on compliance.

Not only that, you can make eLearning courses a requirement before learners can complete on-the-job training. Take a Pizza Takeaway. A user may have to complete an eLearning activity to discover all the toppings for each pizza prior to making one in the real-world setting. They can then apply their knowledge when making a pizza in the work environment and later upload a photo to their LMS to be reviewed by a manager as part of their training course.

By combining both eLearning with real-world application, you’re allowing learners to develop new skills before putting them into practice in a real working environment. This caters to both the need of the business to demonstrate their workers are compliant and learners’ request for on-the-job training methods.

It’s a win, win!


It might be the simplest but most-forgotten secret when it comes to user engagement, that you have to listen to your learners’ preferences. Just like you’d get a focus group to tell you what they want from a product to make it more marketable, understanding what learners really want will help engage learners in your training programmes.

Whilst you’ll never be able to meet everyone’s learning preferences, by using a combination of the most sought-after learning methods you’ll be more accommodating to a variety of different learners. So, if one person wants a social learning experience and another would like to learn on the commute home from work, you’ll be equipped to support both learning needs.

Instead of nagging employees to complete their training, they’ll be rushing to do it in no time.

Find out how you can drive learner engagement with a variety of features from glo™ learn and our add-on modules.

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