“Nobody makes time for digital L&D”: Ways to engage your learners online

Jun 02, 2022

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It’s one of the most common questions we get from clients and other learning leaders we speak with: how can we get our learners more engaged?

Learning has never been more crucial. With the Great Resignation, companies are rushing to upskill their employees to stay competitive in a tough hiring landscape. Meanwhile, employees, too, are looking for their employers to show that they are invested in their careers and their growth.

At the same time, learners have never had more distractions. There’s the transition to remote and hybrid work. There’s the stress and burnout due to the confluence of Covid-19 pandemic, layoffs and resignations from team members, the supply chain crisis, and general economic turbulence.

And there’s also the fact that amidst all this, organizations are calling on their employees to carry out a host of mission-critical transformations. We hear about these massive undertakings every day from our clients and their peers, whether it's a digital transformation; implementing sustainability as a new strategic pillar; learning to manage remote or hybrid teams; or embedding an increased and much-needed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organization.

Learning has a real strategic role to play in all of this. But amidst these competing priorities for learners' (and leaders') time and attention, where does learning fit in?

Best learner engagement strategy: make learning matter

We’ve found that embedding learning in business strategy is the best way to drive engagement, which is why the bulk of our learner engagement resources focus on this. You can read all about our belief in crafting consultative L&D strategy, how we see learning's role in driving business transformation, and some of the background thinking we've done on what learner engagement really is and how to best measure it.

Learner engagement is highest when the learning is relevant, impactful, and tied to business goals. Doing the foundational work to develop a learning initiative that impacts the wider business, and to the communicate the "why" behind this initiative, is essential.

But once the plan is in place, everyday tactics that support this engagement are also key. There are always ways to finesse the learning experience to better capture and keep learners’ attention in the day-to-day.

In that vein, here are five quick tips for learner engagement that we've seen work well.

Driving engagement in digital learning: five tips

  1. Take a cue from marketing and media. These disciplines are all about capturing and sustaining a busy audience’s attention. Assume you’re reaching learners in a state of distraction, and design your learning content and your launch communications accordingly.
  2. Let learners engage in their own language. Digital learning provides a host of opportunities for translation of learning materials, closed captions, and custom content. Creating cohorts where employees can discuss topics in their local language can foster livelier discussion.
  3. Communicate throughout the learning process. Learning communications must go well beyond the initial rollout. Take advantage of your internal channels to remind leaders and learners why your initiative is important and to solicit learner feedback at each stage.
  4. Balance social learning and solo reflection. The most engaging learning features social interaction between learners and time for individual reflection. Finding an equilibrium between these elements will ensure your learning is optimized to drive the desired outcomes.
  5. Consider every element of the user experience. It seems so basic, but this is where many learning initiatives falter! Make sure your learning platform is user-friendly. Small details like how many times they need to click to access the learning, or whether they're encouraged to use their real photo, can go a long way in making this a virtual "place" learners actually look forward to spending their time. Check out our tips on great learning UX here.

Key takeaway for online learner engagement

The most effective learner engagement strategy focuses on making the learning meaningful for employees and for the organization at large. Ultimately, people want from their learning what they want from their life: experiences that are moving, meaningful, and beautiful. Design with this in mind, from the big picture to the day-to-day details, and engagement will soar.

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To learn more about Nomadic's cohort-based learning and how we use great learning design and strategic alignment to drive record engagement, download your free copy of our report, Why the Future of Learning is Instructorless, which explores how we designed our entire learning experience to put learners at the center.

Want to learn more about what Nomadic can do for your organization? Learn about our approach, or get in touch to request a demo.

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