This article is part of our eLearning series. To read our master guide, check out what's missing in your company's eLearning strategy.
Employee training is not always the easiest thing to get everyone excited about. As much as we take pride in the beautiful technology and curricula that we develop for our teams, the corporate eLearning program rollouts are often greeted with the sound of crickets.
Employees often see training as something that they just need to “get over with” so they can go back to their real jobs. But in reality, as you and I know, it can be incredibly valuable. [Check out: 'Product knowledge training: Unleashing the beast in your salespeople'.]
Instead of simply having our employees mindlessly flip through slides, videos, and quizzes so they can say they’ve “completed” training, L&D leaders can focus on 3 ways to ensure that people actually use (and enjoy!) the programs we spend so much money creating.
3 Ways to improve employee engagement in L&D
1. Make corporate eLearning relevant
This may sound like a no-brainer, but nobody is going to want to complete any training if they don’t see how it will be useful to their job or career. And one of the most important ways to improve eLearning engagement starts in the way that you communicate the requirement to employees.
Spending significant time selling the “why” can make huge differences in employees’ attitudes before they even begin their training.
Try the following suggestions to improve communication:
- In your internal announcements of eLearning opportunities, and in your introductory text in the eLearning modules themselves, you could give employees concrete examples of “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM). Perhaps the training will help them make more sales, produce more widgets, earn more tips, or get more promotions.
- Or, maybe, communicate that the training will simply help them pass some mandatory assessment or certification whose score will be directly tied to their annual performance evaluations.
- You can also help improve your training’s relevance by organizing it in a neat, hierarchical way whose bite-sized modules closely to the learning objectives that the employees may have in mind. In other words, embrace “micro-learning” as much as you can.
This last suggestion is one of our favorites (we're a bit biased, of course). By using a lightweight web & mobile flashcards tool, such as Brainscape’s employee training software, you can provide an easy way to organize your content into different sets of custom “decks” for different employees (depending on their job function or seniority), thereby allowing them to easily prep for the specific roles or assessments that they need to complete.
Such a cloud-based flashcards platform also makes it easier to update small pieces of the curriculum remotely (e.g. when policies or products change), without having to completely redo large lessons or video assets. The more customized, up-to-date, and tied to job outcomes that your eLearning can be, the more relevant and usable that your employees will perceive it.
The more your employees can see directly why the eLearning activity will be worthwhile, the more likely you are to improve employee engagement. And if you offer effective training, you'll create even more engagement.
2. Make corporate eLearning convenient
The advent of eLearning was supposed to make L&D much less of a chore, by saving employees from having to travel and sit through long classroom sessions. But even if training can now often be completed from the comfort of one’s own desk, employees will still complain that it is an inconvenient distraction from their real job.
The best way to make eLearning feel less onerous is to make it more flexible and easier to integrate into employees’ daily lives.
Arguably, the best way to make it more flexible is to deliver it in a format that is broken into “bite-sized” chunks. Microlearning sessions—such as short videos, quizzes, or flashcards—help ensure that employees can squeeze in some L&D whenever they have short breaks, rather than having to set aside large chunks of time for it. (Nobody wants to sit through a 30-minute video or long PowerPoint!) Bite-sized content makes it especially easy to create eLearning that lets employees study on their mobile devices during any short window throughout their day.
When your company uses a cloud-based “flashcards” platform like Brainscape, you can not only allow employees to study on any web or mobile device, but you can also give them a well-organized, indexed, searchable reference tool that they can conveniently use for long after the initial training is delivered. This is super useful as a sales training app for team members are always on the go.
3. Make corporate eLearning effective
Over the past several years, there has been a big movement to “gamify” education for learners of all ages. But while making learning fun may have some merit for younger students, participants in new employee onboarding can be better motivated by simply knowing that their eLearning works.
You can create more effective eLearning by engaging employees’ mental faculties more deeply into your material. Rather than just delivering “passive” training such as lectures, videos, or readings, you can choose software that systematically assesses employees on each bite-sized concept, while using the user’s confidence (or performance) in each item to determine how frequently to repeat it.
This combination of active recall, metacognition, and spaced repetition—used by web & mobile learning platforms like Brainscape and others—will not only make your eLearning more effective. It will make your employees more likely to want to engage in it.
And when your employees actually like your eLearning, you will inspire greater confidence among your team, while creating a company that is happier and better-performing all around.Want to learn more? Check out our huge guide for how to create effective employee training.
Plus, if you have created flashcards you think you could sell outside your company, consider starting a small eLearning business as a side-hustle. Here are our tips for starting & growing an eLearning business.
Jain, S. & Khurana, N. (2017). Enhancing employee engagement through training and development. Asian Journal of Management, 8(1), 1-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.5958/2321–5763.2017.00001.4
Sendawula, K., Kimuli, S. N., Bananuka, J., & Muganga, G. N. (2018). Training, employee engagement and employee performance: Evidence from Uganda’s health sector. Cogent Business & Management, 5(1), 1470891. https://www.sagepublishers.com/index.php/ijssme/article/view/43
Sahar, N. & Siddiqui, D. A. (2019). The impact of training & development and communication on employee engagement–A study of banking Sector. Business Management and Strategy, 10(1), 23-40. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3381444