The importance of online learning in a modern work environment is difficult to overstate. At the same time, training your employees remotely can lead to significant issues with participation and engagement if you don’t account for the difference that this model represents compared to more traditional models. For success in any training environment, employee engagement is key.
Here are 8 ways to drive employee engagement in the virtual classroom.
1) Customize Your Learning Paths
One-size-fits-all is a surefire way to failure in online training. Your employees come into the modules with very different experiences, knowledge, and skill sets. Any online training needs to account for these differences, and build a curriculum customized for each of its participants.
For increased engagement, you can even consider building a virtual classroom environment in which your employees can plot their own path. The more they participate in creating the curriculum, the higher their motivation to engage with it will become. Especially younger employees will expect this type of customization suited to their individual situation.
2) Build Truly Relevant Content
In addition to building a more relevant training path, the content of each module needs to be relevant, as well. Put simply, you will not get very far with theories and concepts that don’t carry much immediate relevance for your employees’ everyday work lives.
Instead, seek to build content and assignments that your online training participants can apply directly to their own situation. As with the above, consider including your employees in building this content to ensure its relevance and get crucial participant buy-in.
3) Don’t Be Afraid of Gamification
At this point, you might be tired of gamification, the concept that has been predicted to revolutionize the training for years. But its potential remains very real and can be the key to unlocking the engagement your employees need to exhibit to succeed in the virtual classroom.
Implementing gamification concepts can be simple, such as a points system that helps your employees gain levels as they complete individual modules. Or it can be complex, like the virtual reality opportunities increasingly available for larger companies. The right approach will improve the learning experience, while allowing participants to better retain information.
4) Ensure Mobile Capabilities
It’s quite simple: if your virtual classroom is not accessible or user-friendly on mobile devices, you’re starting off behind the eight ball. Mobile optimization is no longer optional, as mobile users now outnumber their desktop counterparts and a majority of training users prefer vertical screens as their user experience.
By 2020, mobile learning alone will be a $70 billion industry. Adjust now, making sure that your training participants can easily access their training modules and curricula on smartphones and tablets. The more easily your virtual classroom experience can translate to mobile devices, the more engaged your employees will be.
5) Communicate the Benefits
Sometimes, simple steps can help you optimize your engagement. For example, it’s difficult to get participant buy-in if your employees don’t know exactly what they’ll get out of the training.
Fortunately, you can easily alleviate that problem. Communicate the specific benefits of your training, from immediate applications in everyday tasks to potentially increased advancement opportunities in the future. The more clear the goal for your employees, the more likely they’ll be to become active participants.
6) Vary Your Delivery Methods
Online learning brings with it an opportunity to keep training interesting by changing up the delivery opportunities. Rather than simply offering static videos that emphasize one-way communication, consider more interactive training methods designed to keep your audience active and engaged.
For example, a straightforward lecture can be followed up by an interactive discussion of potential applications by all applicants. Through live chat or video coaching, you can connect the trainers with their students for increased interactions. The more immersive you can make the content, the better.
7) Integrate Social Media
The average adult now spends up to 30% of their online time on social media, which is more time per day than it takes us to eat and drink. In fact, the medium has become such a crucial part of our everyday lives that your online training needs to account for audience preferences.
Make it easy for your audience to connect with each other and share content beyond the virtual classroom. Intuitive integration should allow your audience to share and discuss course content on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other relevant networks.
8) Recognize and Reward Progress
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of communicating your appreciation for your participants’ engagement in the form of rewards. If the internal motivation to complete the online training is not enough, external rewards can help to push your employees across the finish line.
The rewards can be intangible, such as the above-mentioned point and levels system. But you can also introduce more tangible alternatives, such as small bonuses or other perks of completion. The key is not necessarily the monetary value, but the emphasis and public acknowledgment of how much you value your employees’ time and efforts spent in the virtual classroom.
How an Effective LMS Can Facilitate Immersive and Informative Online Training
Of course, many of the strategies mentioned above require a platform that allows for easy implementation. Designing your virtual training to be mobile-friendly, for example, is impossible without a learning management solution built to accomplish that goal.
In other words, when it comes to employee engagement in online training, your LMS is the key to success. Choose the right solution, and build it the right way for your audience, and you will see an increase in engaged participants who appreciate the balance of immersion and information your virtual classroom can provide.
About Knowledge Anywhere
Knowledge Anywhere is an elearning company focused on providing flexible, modern learning and development solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of an engaged, knowledgeable workforce.
Our Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training, and Course Development services, combined with our experience and customer support enables our users to create a learning and development program that boosts sales and drives company growth.
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