Thanks to COVID-19 restrictions most employee learning and continuing education programs held in person are on indefinite hold. However, even if all your employees are working remotely it's important that these initiatives continue (or begin if you have not implemented them before.)
Why? Because if companies want to continuously improve job performance and business results, then they need to do a good job helping employees gain and retain new knowledge and skills.
Companies with effective eLearning programs can do just that. These companies also tend to attract and retain top talent, as well as increase employee engagement and satisfaction.
The question then becomes, how do we get our employees EXCITED about taking and completing our eLearning courses? Well, you can't do it with training that is seen as dull, compliance-oriented, irrelevant, or unsupported. What, then, are the keys to getting your employees (and supervisors) excited about eLearning? Here are some tips.
Tip 1: Tell them why they are taking the training
It may seem obvious, but with so many important things to do while they are on the job, employees need to know that every eLearning course they take has a clear purpose or deliverable. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” in the course description. Link the learning objectives to the employee’s goals and their role in the organization.
You also need to ensure that you have management buy-in and that each manager is able to articulate why the course is important to the individual employee and the organization as a whole.
Tip 2: Provide the necessary support for your eLearning program
Don’t think that a simple email announcement of the new eLearning course is enough to excite and engage your employees. You need to communicate with them MULTIPLE times and make certain that they have all the information they need in order to complete the training. Be specific about logistics and how to get their questions answered. For example:
Describe how and when they can take the course. Let them know that they can complete the course whenever they have time, which means that there should be minimal impact to their schedule.
Explain that the eLearning course is designed to accommodate the way they learn. They can go back over content multiple times if they are having difficulty, or they can take the course in smaller or larger chunks to suit their individual preferences.
Make clear what they need to do if they have a question or problem. You may want to set up a weekly online session, where your employees can bring all their issues for resolution.
Depending on your employees and how familiar they are with eLearning, you may want to schedule an introductory session, to make everyone more comfortable. This can be via online conference call. Let them know that they are not expected to struggle and work out the problem on their own and that someone is always available to help.
Tip 3: Recognize and reward your employees who complete eLearning courses
If you want to build a learning culture in your organization, you need to reinforce the behaviors you want to see more of. Praise employees who seek out training opportunities congratulate people who earn new certifications and/or credentials, and reward managers who encourage their staff to develop new skills.
Add training and development activities to your end of year performance reviews. You might even consider creating a sense of competition, by creating a leaderboard where employees can check how many courses they have completed compared to their peers. And you could even offer a prize for the employee with the most completed courses.
But don’t just reward at the end of training. Set up methods that allow employees to check in and see their progression at multiple phases along the way. Add tests, quizzes, and games to give your employees the ability to assess their progress. This will encourage them to stay on track and finish what they have started.
Tip 4: Make it personal
One of the beauties of eLearning is that all employees are not stuck in the same training room, taking the same training, all at the same pace. You will find that eLearning, by its very nature, is very customizable. Make certain that you cater your eLearning courses for both more advanced, as well as less advanced employees. For example, you can allow employees to skip entire portions of the training (or test out) if they already know the material.
Design your lessons with short attention spans in mind, broken into smaller manageable chunks, with tests for comprehension and regular recaps as you go along. You can even add optional additional modules for employees who already know the basics.
Tip 5: Make your eLearning interactive, engaging, and above all, fun!
There are two words to keep in mind when designing eLearning courses: immersive and interactive. Don’t just think about the knowledge or skill being presented. Think about how you might involve your learner, and get them hooked on your dramatic situation. They will be anxious to apply their new knowledge to move along with storyline.
Another tip on keeping training engaging is to add frequent and short quizzes, rather than waiting until the end for a large test. Keep them on their toes by assessing them intermittently throughout the course.