One of the challenges eLearning poses is engagement or, more precisely, lack of it! Learners often find that the learning they signed up for isn’t as interesting or engaging as they were expecting. Most eLearning courses deliver a lot of great content that learners should find useful – but they don’t! That’s because course designers and developers use static, passive approaches to delivering that content. The real question, therefore, is: How do you turn your passive, static content into something appealing, interactive, and engaging to your audience?

Lost Opportunities

Course designers often don’t realize the fact that when it comes to producing successful eLearning outcomes, “useful” and “engaging” are two sides of the same coin. Engaging courses that don’t deliver useful content aren’t very helpful – and vice versa. At times, the pressure to create mandatory training overrides the necessity to produce courses that are both engaging and useful for the audience. Consequently, businesses waste a lot of time, energy, money, and resources developing eLearning that learners don’t benefit from:

  • They’re often irrelevant and boring
  • They lack a motivational aspect to them
  • Learners don’t engage with the content
  • They don’t result in “sticky” learning
  • There’s no learning transference in the workplace

Learners need the motivation to engage, interact with and complete a course. Learning with the above characteristics, however, is a lost opportunity to motivate them. In short – if a course is passive in its approach; if it isn’t engaging to the learner; if it isn’t relevant to his/her work; or if employees don’t feel compelled to interact with it, the learning program won’t deliver its learning objectives.

Value in Learner Engagement

One of the key benefits for organizations, in offering engaging learning, is that it delivers measurable learning outcomes:

  • More learners will interact with your content
  • Greater knowledge retention means less need for refresher and remediation training
  • Higher interest levels translate to higher course sign-up and completion (fewer dropouts)
  • High levels of engagement also result in better knowledge transfer, greater employee productivity, and job performance improvements

Better learning engagement delivers better, and more precisely measurable, overall learning outcomes. It helps employees apply what they’ve learned and enhances motivation and satisfaction in the workforce. It also improves employee retention: A satisfied employee is a loyal employee who’ll likely remain with the company for a long while.

Strategies to Build Learner Engagement

So, how do you garner greater learner engagement with your eLearning courses? The secret is to move away from static, passive content, and into delivering more interactive learning experiences. Highly interactive courses generate greater engagement and more learner satisfaction. To produce that level of interactivity, L&D teams can use various strategies, including:

  • Interactive storytelling: Accomplish this by knitting interactive stories, with learners adopting the persona of one of the characters, into real-world scenarios. As the course progresses, learners become more involved in determining how the plot unfolds.
  • Interactive video/animation: Unlike passive content, where learners simply watch and listen, interactive video and animation encourage learner participation. Typically, through their engagement with this type of content, learners will answer probing questions or select objects to advance, leading to better learning outcomes.
  • Gamification: The use of game-like elements, such as badges, points, levels, and challenges, in learning experiences, motivates learners into better engagement. Not only is there an element of “fun with learning”, but active participation in the game leads to better information retention.
  • Simulations: Another effective way to get learners to engage with a course, is to motivate them into “hands-on” participation in the learning. Simulation is a way to create “learn by doing” situations, modeled on real-world use cases, that require learner engagement. This strategy is ideal when producing highly engaging technical content, where learners must apply theory to practical work-based situations.
  • Extended Reality (XR) content: This strategy involves creating courses that leverage a broad range of interactive technologies, including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) – collectively known as XR. These tools produce immersive experiences that persuade learners to interact and participate in learning.
  • Responsiveness: Learners will likely stay away from engaging with a course that’s only available in one type of environment – such as a Windows-based desktop. Build responsiveness into your eLearning so that learners can engage through multiple devices, on the go, or at a time and place that suits their schedules.
  • Socialize your content: A great way to engage learners is by tapping into their social networks – where they engage frequently. Less formal than employer-moderated peer-group learning, Social Media learning motivates learners to interact and learn from their peers in ways that other forms of peer-to-peer learning might not.

While these tools and technologies will help create more engaging and immersive eLearning, it’s important for L&D designers to always remember the basics of learner engagement: Keep modules short; personalize your learning to each learner’s needs; set clear, measurable, achievable learning objectives; and refresh your content frequently.

Long-form content is more likely to be boring, and tedious, and foster disengagement. Generic, one-size-fits-all modules breeds disinterest. Vague learning objectives lead to confusion and course abandonment. And stale, irrelevant, or outdated content can cause learners to quickly move on in search of something more relevant and current.

Parting Thoughts

Many organizations waste huge amounts of time and resources developing static, passive learning content that doesn’t motivate or interest their learners. To better engage learners, and encourage them to embrace eLearning, requires tapping into factors that motivate them to do so. Adding interactivity to learning is a great motivational driver that breeds learner engagement.

The use of course design features, such as interactive stories, gamification, simulations, and extended reality content, can greatly improve engagement and motivate learners to embrace eLearning. It’s also important to focus on engaging user interface (UI) design, by avoiding clutter, and keeping the interface clear from excessive “bells and whistles”. Good user experience (UX) design is the key to better engagement, as it motivates learners to interact with learning content. UI/UX also contributes to memorable learning experiences, which compels learners to return for more!

These strategies deliver measurable improvements to learning, including course completion, better knowledge transfer, greater retention, and enhanced work performance. They’re also instrumental in producing other favorable metrics, such as increased employee retention, and higher levels of employee motivation and satisfaction.

Ready to transform your eLearning to higher engagement through interactivity?

KDG is ready to help you up level up your eLearning offering. Contact us today for a discovery meeting.