For any business to thrive and succeed, it is critical to leverage the true assets of the company – the employees that is. It is therefore the responsibility of a company’s L&D to ensure that employees, who are the end users of any learning strategy, are engaged well. ‘Learner Engagement’ is a significant concept in L&D and is a great tool for the progress of the employees and in turn the company as well.
What is Learner Engagement?
Experts have varied opinions on what exactly Learner Engagement is. According to Stovall (2003), engagement is defined by a combination of a student’s time on task and their willingness to participate in activities. Some other experts like Krause & Coates (2008) say that engagement is the quality of effort students themselves devote to educationally purposeful activities that contribute directly to desired outcomes. Chen (2008) says that engagement is the degree to which learners are engaged with their educational activities and that engagement is positively linked to a host of desired outcomes, including high grades, student satisfaction, and perseverance.
Why Learner Engagement is Critical?
According to Jack Welch, “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction and cash flow.” So, the idea of ‘Learner Engagement’ has become more important than ever now, especially considering that the needs of the modern learner have changed dramatically as the pace of business has exploded over the past few decades. ‘Learner Engagement’ is connected with the degree of attention of learners, their curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion for learning or being taught. It has a lot to do with the learners’ level of motivation to learn and progress in their training and learning.
A Gallup poll points out that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged and surprisingly many companies are not even aware of the situation, according to the poll. Even when it comes to ROI, employee engagement along with retention acts as the primary metric to measure the effectiveness of a learning program. That is how important Learner Engagement is.
How to Achieve Learner Engagement?
Most companies look to a robust Learning Management System (LMS) to ensure Learner Engagement. And rightly so. Here’s a guide on how to achieve Learner Engagement with a learning platform and make it a priority:
1. Learner Engagement via Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device Learning
In today’s multi-device world, Mobile Learning has become the norm and L&D is no exception. L&D can leverage Mobile Learning to ensure that employees are well engaged by creating a learning strategy which allows them to access training programs through mobile devices (of their choice) anytime and in any place. This way, employees are not restricted to undergoing training at pre-specified times or being tethered to the laptop/ desktop, but can take them truly as per their convenience.
2. Learner Engagement via Adaptive/ AI-based learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is known to focus on individualized learning and incorporate models which focus on method and reason. AI can assess individual ability, progression and create subsequent course content to suit individual learner needs. AI intervention can lead to an increase in learner engagement and satisfaction. Likewise, Adaptive Learning too can take personalized learning to the next level. Its learner-centric approach that leverages technology to provide employees with individualized training programs is a great addition to the training strategy to improve Learner Engagement.
3. Learner Engagement via Informal Learning
The key to empowering learners and increasing engagement is not always limited to organizing formal training sessions. Often it has to do with recognizing, facilitating and measuring what’s happening in-between the formal learning settings.
For now, in fact, the latest version of learning – Learning 3.0 – is all about ‘self-learning’ and it hinges on the concept of ‘sharing’. Learners take the centre stage, deciding what they want to learn, and instructors turn into facilitators helping them find the answers in their own way. It is one of the best ways to achieve Learner Engagement by putting the learner in the driver’s seat.
4. Learner Engagement via Blended Learning
Blended Learning is another unique way of engaging learners. It is a combination of eLearning, Classroom-based Training (ILT or Instructor-Led Training), Virtual Classroom-based Intruction, etc. Blended Learning allows learners to decide about their development and can be a catalyst to improve the learning experience.
5. Learner Engagement via Gamification
Gamification is a boon to L&D because it takes online learning to a new level and brings in the idea of applying fun to work. Using the principles of ‘play’, it harnesses a learner’s instincts for fun and competition gets them engaged with training in a positive way. This means learners will spend more time taking the training and absorb more of what’s being taught (translating to retention and recall). Gamification hits all the right notes to engage and drive learners to learn by incentivizing actions/performance.
Engaging employees has now achieved an increasingly high importance as global competition intensifies and organizations try to retain their valuable talent. Engaged employees are more productive, stimulate greater levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty and contribute to greater levels of organizational success. Employee engagement can make all the difference in keeping ahead, thriving and surviving in today’s complex corporate environment!
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