Top tips for learner engagement - Part 2
Make a good first impression - Jeffrey
When you first roll out your learning strategy, it's important that you start off on the right foot. Here are five things that you can do to make a great first impression.
1. To deliver an effective learning strategy, you need to understand your target audience. Start by creating some audience personas. Then, segment your audience using these personas and map out a user journey that reflects the needs of each persona.
2. A great way to make an impact is to create an identity for your learning platform that your users can easily recognize. So, make sure that all of your resources follow the same branding and style.
3. Once you've created an identity for your learning strategy, it's time to start building some momentum for its release. Why not run some ads to generate interest in your resources? You could get people to pre-enroll for the training resources, or gather the names of those who are interested.
4. Run a session to give users first-hand experience of your resources and offer incentives for early adopters.
5. Once you've rolled out your strategy, highlight some of your best resources. Show the variety of formats you have available (podcasts, videos, infographics, and so on) and choose some topics that will resonate with your audience.
Top Tip: Your strategy doesn't end with its release! Promote your resources regularly, and use the feedback you gather to refresh the content that you provide.
Think like a marketeer - Carrie
Everyone is unique. So, to successfully encourage your users to learn, you'll need different techniques for different people. Plan your activities around your target groups (from senior management through to entry-level staff) and create different messages accordingly. Ensure that everything you push out is visually engaging but consistent in style.
There are many different platforms out there to send your message, so carefully consider what's right for your audience. Some people may be more engaged with regular emails and intranet posts, while others may prefer a 'top tips Tuesday' or monthly giveaways. You can have fun trying to figure out what's right for your company, but remember to set SMART objectives for the things you test, so you can see whether or not they're working.
Top Tip: Consider the different types of people you're targeting and create a learner persona for each one. This will help to establish the best marketing routes to take.
Think outside the box - Charlotte
When it comes to engaging learners, it can be useful to take a step back and think about what you can do differently. Consider what is happening within your organization, and how you can align it to your current resources. Perhaps you've launched a mentoring program, or your performance appraisals are approaching, for example.
Tailoring your learning around the needs of your business is a great way to encourage your users. But try to make it fun, too. As well as pushing content through the usual means (such as email and newsletters), you could create an event, or hand out merchandise such as pens or mugs to inject a bit of excitement into your learning strategy. Overall, you need to ensure that your approach and execution are memorable, innovative and effective.
Top Tip: Wherever possible, make sure that your communication is personalized. A client recently ran a direct mail campaign with an individual letter directed to each user, talking about the benefits of learning, and including a pen and some sweets. This resulted in a 50 percent increase in engagement with learning content in that week, and some great feedback from users.
Define success - Jeffrey
To demonstrate how successful your e-learning strategy is, you first need to define your measures of success. It's important to show a correlation between your efforts and the value they have added. Mind Tools offers a reporting dashboard that provides 24/7 access to all of your usage information. This allows you to measure when, what, and how your users are learning. It's also an easy way to show how well your learners are engaging with content, and spot areas for improvement.
However, the numbers alone do not prove that you are achieving your goals or making the right business impact. You need to explore other ways to track the development of your individual users and teams, and define what success means to you. To start with, set some benchmarks for your goals. Look at where you are now, with the end result in mind. The steps below can help you identify areas where value can be added:
- Self-measurement. Ask users to consider their own goals and objectives and to test themselves to identify where the gaps are in their learning.
- Peer and manager feedback. Users and managers need to work closely together to understand the user's areas of development so they can track their development and improvement effectively.
- Team performance. You need to understand whether your teams are equipped to achieve their goals and define the gaps in the knowledge.
Top Tip: Make sure you have answered the following questions before you decide on your measures of success:
- Are your learning objectives aligned to initiatives critical to your organization?
- Does the measure of success marry up to your organization's culture and values?
- Can you establish a baseline of your population's attitude towards learning?
- How will you measure the immeasurable?
Adopt a blended approach - Charlotte
A blended approach is where you use both online and offline training as part of your learning strategy. Some organizations start out with an offline approach to learning, using face-to-face training. Then, due to expansion or issues around resources, they move to an online, self-directed approach to learning. But it can be hard to make the transition, so many organizations have adopted a blended approach, tailored to the needs of their employees. This can be done through internal workshops, lunch and learns, and providing managers with training to run team sessions.
Top Tip: Create a workshop that encourages learners to utilize online learning resources. Try splitting the group into teams of two or three. Give each team one skill area to research, and ask them to present the most useful resources they find back to the groups. You can follow this up by encouraging learners to share the resources online later.
A final thought from our Client Success Managers
People's appetite for learning doesn't stop at the boundaries of their job descriptions. But L&D professionals have often faced tight budgets, and that has meant focusing their efforts on the people who need specific learning for their current job, right now.
Mind Tools changes this paradigm, and democratizes access to learning. Everyone from janitors to CEOs to call-center agents can have the same access to resources on strategic leadership or stress management, at any time. They can explore creativity and innovation, or advanced problem-solving techniques, and contribute so much more to an organization's continuous improvement efforts than was previously achievable.
This ability to foster widespread skill development, and to engage with people beyond the specifications of their current role, is often overlooked. Promoting learning to a specific section of your audience is fine, but take care to avoid creating the counterproductive impression that this content "isn't for" the rest of your learners.
Top Tip: Engage with people as people, not as job descriptions. And avoid making assumptions about what they want or need to learn!