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Top Tips for Learner Engagement – Part 1

Natalie Benfell 

April 3, 2019

Imagine you’ve just put your new learning platform in place. Your people are about to start their development journey, and you’re excited to see the benefits that learning has to offer. And then, a few months down the line, you notice that no one is engaging with the platform. The initial excitement has worn off, and your stakeholders are starting to consider whether it was worth the investment.

Implementing a new learning platform is one thing. Getting your employees to engage in learning is a whole different ball game! So, what can we do to encourage learner engagement? We asked Mind Tools Client Success Managers, Vicky, Ricky and Charlotte, for their top tips on how to really make the most of your learning platform.

Think Strategically – Vicky

Top Tips for Learner Engagement - Think StrategicallyEmbedding a new learning tool takes time, persistence, and a carefully planned strategy. To provide learners with compelling reasons to engage with learning, you need to develop a 12-month engagement plan that reflects your business and L&D activity.

In essence, try to avoid planning your learning engagement activity in an isolated bubble. Instead, link it to your business activity so that your learners can understand quickly what’s in it for them.

Top Tip: Why not run a dedicated webinar on appraisals, so that employees feel prepared and comfortable when theirs is coming up? Or, if you’re planning a company away day, you could start a campaign to promote a selection of resources on effective team-building exercises.

Get Your Stakeholders On Board – Ricky

Top Tips for Learner Engagement - Get Your Stakeholders on BoardIt’s essential to highlight the importance of learning from an early stage, and getting buy-in from senior stakeholders is a great way to reinforce this message.

C-Suite buy-in can help to communicate the message across your whole organization, and start to transform the learning behaviors of your employees.

Top Tip: An inspirational message from your CEO or senior management team will go a long way toward capturing the attention of your learners. It may also help to align learning with your organization’s goals and objectives. This can create a real learning culture, where employee development is fostered and encouraged.

Offer Incentives – Charlotte

Top Tips for Learner Engagement - Offer IncentivesWhen was the last time you participated in something “just for the sake of it”? Usually, we engage in an activity because there’s an incentive to do so. For example, would you take the time to enter a competition if there was no prize on offer?

When you plan activities for your learners, ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Unfortunately, “because you’ll develop in your career” isn’t always a strong enough motivator when you’re asking an individual to complete an action!

The incentives you provide don’t need to have a huge monetary value. Instead, you can focus on offering a few little perks that will draw your people in. And, once you’ve got their attention, they’ll realize that you’re not asking the world when you ask them to take part in online learning. They’ll see the potential benefits, and the opportunity will speak for itself.

Top Tip: Try running a prize draw for a meal voucher, a bottle of wine, or even a “lie-in voucher” (which gives you a “free pass” to come in 30 minutes late one day). These can all be great, inexpensive incentives for employees to kick-start their learner journey.

Become More Social – Ricky

Top Tips for Learner Engagement - Become More SocialMost of us are social creatures who value other people’s opinions, and emulate those who are successful. So, why not tap into this by creating a social learning environment for your users, and encourage your people to share the information that they have acquired?

As an L&D team, you can set an example by utilizing any social media platform that your organization has, and using it to share learning resources internally. But don’t stop there: forums, learning squads, and lunch and learn sessions can all increase the sense that there is a real community buy-in to learning.

Top Tip: Another way to increase engagement is to create “champions” within your organization, who promote learning and the benefits of getting involved. You can do this by rewarding early adopters and celebrating their successes.

Celebrate Success – Vicky

Top Tips for Learner Engagement - Celebrate SuccessPeople typically respond well to success stories, as they bring to life the benefits of using a tool such as a learning platform. If we can show people how learning has helped an individual’s career, it makes a compelling case for others to do the same.

So, encourage your users to share how learning has helped them in their role, and to give specific examples. Did they get that promotion after reading a resource on interview skills? Did they get over their fear of presenting after completing a Bite-Sized Training module? Or, do they feel more equipped to deal with change after listening to our Expert Interviews on their daily commute?

Top Tip: Turn your learners’ experiences into case studies (perhaps as a video, a blog post, an article, or even in an email) and share them throughout your organization. This kind of endorsement is incredibly strong. It validates the learning tools you provide, and encourages your users to seek the same recognition for their own achievements.

Eager for more advice on learner engagement? Watch out for Part 2 of this blog, where Client Success Managers Jeffrey, Charlotte and Carrie will share their top tips for getting employees excited about learning.

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