Want Better Outcomes From Self-Paced eLearning? Engage Learners

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Nikki Engel ·

Apr 01, 2021

If you’re looking to improve outcomes for your self-paced eLearning program, it may be time to move past those staples (e.g., quizzes and videos). You need to find ways to engage your learners.

Studies have shown that adults learn by doing. 

This means you especially need to think about incorporating interactivity in your online training. The trick to improving results for your customers, employees and partners is to make them active participants in their own learning.

Give your learners something to do.

According to researchers who’ve studied learning, adults learn best when they’re able to actively experiment and apply the knowledge they’ve been provided.

Giving assignments to learners in a self-paced course or incorporating training modules that mimic real work can go a long way toward improving outcomes. Labs, product training modules and simulations can help people apply principles that have been absorbed from the lessons.

This is particularly helpful for skills and concepts that aren’t something you’d want an employee learning on the job (e.g., how to handle a difficult customer or how to deal with a dangerous situation).

Simulations and labs not only teach valuable skills in a safe environment, they also deeply engage the learner.

Make instructors available.

It may be tempting to design am automated, self-paced online course and walk away. But you should consider the additional step of making an instructor available to learners who are enrolled in the course. 

Why? Research has shown that a meaningful instructor presence improves student outcomes.

The role of an instructor in such a course doesn’t need to be an active one. In a self-paced course, an instructor essentially acts as a mentor or coach. This works well for students that are learning at their own pace as they are still able to ask questions and are held accountable. 

While this method of teaching is common in academia, in the workforce this is considered blended learning — learning that combines online training with live courses.

Gamify your training.

People are competitive. Exploit that desire to win by using a gamified training portal. 

Awarding points, which can be redeemed for prizes (e.g., gift cards), can be effective in making sure that people complete an activity. Posting a public leaderboard or a “wall of fame” can also get learners more involved.

Gamification has another major advantage in training. When used correctly, gamified learning reinforces content by distributing knowledge in bite-sized chunks as learners move through a game. This approach minimizes learners from information overload.

Doing is better than viewing.

While quizzes and videos are important in self-paced eLearning programs, the reality is that your customers, employees and partners will be most engaged when they are applying their knowledge. This is just how adults are hardwired.

Let’s try this on for size. 

A takeaway from this post: Add an action item to one of your courses to hammer home a lesson and ensure that your learners retain their lesson.

About the Author
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Nikki Engel

Nikki Engel leads Northpass’ product marketing and sales enablement efforts. She’s passionate about helping customers see the true value of every Northpass feature. When Nikki isn’t spearheading product launches, she can be found chasing after her two adorable kids (seriously, ask her to show you some pictures) or renovating her new fixer-upper; watch out HGTV, here she comes.

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