Guest Contributor: Tracy King, Chief Learning Strategist and Founder of InspirEd.
We know it when we see it.
Looking around a course room, we can see whether the learners are engaged. They’re nodding their heads, sitting upright and leaning forward, laughing, sharing ideas, taking down notes. A few may look confused or frustrated — and because the instructor notices these cues, the session pauses to address questions. There’s a buzz in the room. You just know this is going well!
Transition into the online learning environment and suddenly we’re less sure about what cues we can rely upon to know whether learners are engaged. But we do see declining enrollment, tepid evaluations, and low completion rates in online courses. All the while learners are asking for online learning opportunities and industry trend reports are telling us if we don’t offer them other organizations will.
So how do we know which strategies to invest in – sure fire winners for engaging learning brains? How can we win their commitment to participate in and complete our eLearning programs?
I want to invite you to a conversation on learner engagement.
If you identify with this story, your concerns span the education strategy and design spectrum. There are many factors we could take a look at that would amplify the appeal and effectiveness of your programs. But a quick win entry point is understanding how to engage your learners. (Subtext: So that they will love your programs and become your greatest champions.)
The neuroscience of learning reveals insights we can’t afford to ignore. So let’s get this conversation started by talking about critical contextual factors that influence engagement even before the course begins.
1. Learning cycle:
All brains learn the same way, following a similar process from attention to application. There are no learning styles. Every course must account for how we focus upon and process new information to have any hope of engaging our audience. We can design learning experiences to maximize the learning process.
The culture of your organization, of the profession you represent, of your workforce, in addition to individuals’ culture of origin all influence how our audiences approach the learning experience and how they will respond within it. The choices we make designing the learning environment, the visuals we use, the acronyms and colloquialisms that pepper presentations can unintentionally exclude some learners. When learners feel like they’re not on the “inside,” they disengage. We can design inclusive learning experiences by better understanding our audiences.
Just as how a table is set tells us what type of dining experience we’re in for (crab shack bucket with paper towels vs. fine dining pressed linens and silver…), we’ve got to “set the table” for great eLearning. We have significant influence over creating environments conducive to learning, and, importantly, how adults wish to interact with online content. The online environmental conventions are very different than the face-to-face classroom. We can design learning experiences for how adults learn in online environments.
With this foundation in place, we’re ready to turn our attention to what it takes to design for learning engagement. So we’ll just know it when we see it.
If this is something you know you and your team need, then watch my webinar! I present 3 key engagement triggers, brain sticky qualities to incorporate into your online learning program designs, and 5 super-strategies maximizing these triggers and qualities that you can immediately use. These are sure fire winners for engaging learning brains that will transform your programs.
Learner engagement is important – important for learning to actually happen and important for the vitality of our online learning programs. We can do this. Let’s get there together.
Want to learn more about influencing engagement online? Join the iCohere Academy for free and gain access to this ‘on-demand’ webinar and many others for free. Join the academy here.
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About Tracy King:
As Chief Learning Strategist & Founder of InspirEd, Tracy leverages her more than 16 years in the education industry for associations interested in increasing their relevance and revenue with meaningful live, online, and mobile learning programs. Tracy specializes in the intersection of learning science and technology. She’s a thought leader in education strategy and learning experience design. In addition, Tracy offers training to instructional design teams, content experts, and at conferences to promote leading edge practices developing learning experiences that make a measurable difference. For more information please visit www.inspired-ed.com or www.edthreads.com