The first question that comes to mind when we talk about a training program is, “What Makes A Program Successful?” The answer to this question is simple. The one thing that makes a training program successful is: Learner Engagement.
What does Learner Engagement mean?
Learner Engagement means involving the learners at every phase of the training program keeping them motivated to fully invest themselves in learning. Engaged learners are active in their learning, understand the need for training, are motivated to participate in discussions and activities and are willing to bring about a positive change in their work.
Learner Engagement increases the productivity of the learners as more engaged learners means highly motivated employees who are willing to implement what they have learnt which results in better performance.
5 Best Learner Engagement Strategies:
- Understand And Communicate The Training Objectives:
Learners engage better when they know what they are about to learn and what exactly is expected of them. Understanding the training needs of the participants is an important first step. That could involve simply asking the participants about their previous learning experiences, what they are expecting from the program and what do they want to achieve at the end of the program. Understanding the training needs of the learners at the very beginning of the program helps determine the gap between their current skill levels and those required.
- Make Learning Fun And Interesting:
The next thing to do is to design the content in a structured manner so that the message is easy to understand. “Learning by Doing” is the best policy therefore the program must include short videos, activities, role plays and case studies to make learning more fun and interesting. This also helps the participants to grasp the content effortlessly while they are enjoying the activities.
Just remember that fun is a means to an end, not the end goal itself. Also remember that short breaks and interactive discussions allow the learners to recharge and refocus.
- Creating Open Communication Channels:
At the very beginning of the session itself one must communicate to the participants that their feedback and opinions are important, valuable and will be heard and their questions will be answered. Allow healthy discussions, exchange of ideas and questions and answers. Effective Communication occurs when all parties feel that they have reached the desired outcome.
- Customization Based On Real-life Situations:
One sure-shot way of getting disengaged learners is to make a generic program.
Corporate learners are interested in translating their learning experiences into better performance. They are likely to be more engaged when asked to deal with their specific real-life workplace issues. Successful training programs use case studies and scenario-based activities relating to common issues encountered at the workplace. This way the learners feel that they are getting the help and knowledge they actually need.
Customization as a learner engagement strategy means that you need to take into account your learners’ culture, language, and learning preferences.
- Learner Must Be Engaged On Multiple Levels:
- Intellectual Level: I think curiosity is an excellent way to engage learners. Keeping learners engaged intellectually helps them retain their learning. Trainers may introduce an activity with a problem or question that the participants need to solve. For example, the trainees can be asked to do a SWOT Analysis of their organization or they can be asked to prepare their weekly plan using planning tools such as Mind Mapping.
- Emotional Level: Trainers may use a wide variety of strategies to bring about positive emotions in the trainees that will facilitate the learning process and minimize negative behaviors. For example, in a team building session, the trainees can be given fun activities which help them bond and connect with each other. This positive emotion will motivate them to work effectively with the other team members.
- Physical Level: Trainers may use physical activities to stimulate learning or interest. For example, instead of asking the trainees to answer questions aloud, they can be asked to walk up to the whiteboard and write the answer on the board. In this case, the trainees are more likely to remember information when they are “Learning By Doing”.
- Social Level: Trainers may use a variety of strategies to stimulate engagement through social interactions. For example, the trainees may be divided in pairs or groups to work collaboratively on a task or activity.
Engaging your learners and actively involving them in their own learning will make them feel empowered and motivated. Engaged learners are more likely to implement what they have learnt and improve their performance at the workplace. That, in turn, means that they will be more productive and will add more value to their organization.
About the Author
As the Managing Director & Trainer at Rave Institutes, Rohini Raju plays a key role in understanding client’s training objectives, customizing the modules as per their specific training needs, and adding value to the client’s organization by ensuring that the objectives are achieved. Rohini has also been one of the directors of Riba Constructions, a premier construction company, for 10 years.
Rohini has always believed in, “Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude” which is reflected in whatever she does. This attitude has made Rave Institutes “Leading Soft Skills Training Institute in Hyderabad”, having received the award from celebrity author Ms. Shobha De at Education Excellence Awards, New Delhi.
Under her leadership, Rave Institutes has featured in the Silicon India Magazine among “20 Most Promising Corporate Outbound Training Providers- 2019”. Rohini has also received the award for ‘Super Woman Achiever’ at the World Women Leadership Congress & Awards, Mumbai, amongst 120 other Woman Achievers from different parts of the world.