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Nurturing Growth: The Art of Increasing Learner Engagement

March 25, 2024

L&D Terms

Picture a workplace where people fully engage in their work, collaborate effortlessly, and produce remarkable outcomes. This scenario isn’t an improbable fantasy; it’s the outcome of cultivating learner engagement within organisations.

According to research, businesses with highly engaged teams witness a 17% growth in productivity, a 20% increase in sales, and an impressive 21% spike in profitability. But what exactly is learner engagement, and why does it matter?

Unpacking Learner Engagement

Learner engagement is more than just ticking off boxes; it’s about provoking curiosity and interest, building a sense of identity, and cultivating enthusiasm and a thirst for learning. But this doesn’t mean a one-size-fits-all approach. We need to think about different types of learner engagement.

1. Cognitive Engagement: The employee who is elbow-deep in a new project, eagerly absorbing information, asking questions, and actively seeking solutions is engaging in cognitive engagement. Think mental stimulation, critical thinking, and a genuine interest in learning.

2. Behavioural Engagement: Then, consider someone who not only does great work but cares about doing so, who wants to apply what they learn to daily tasks, who’s interested in trying new ideas, and who’s looking to grow personally by helping their team. This employee embodies behavioural engagement, where learning moves into action, and action creates impact.

3. Emotional Engagement: Finally, there’s the engaged employee who feels good about the team around them with whom they’re engaged and connected. They’re satisfied in their job and understand its purpose through their relationship with others. This approach represents emotional engagement, where a positive connection boosts motivation and a shared sense of accomplishment.

Challenges Hindering Learner Engagement

Employee engagement in South Africa stood at 53% in December 2023. So, despite its undeniable benefits, fostering learner engagement comes with its challenges. From overcoming resistance to change to combating distractions in a digital world, organisations often battle with the following:

  • Lack of motivation and enthusiasm among employees.
  • Limited resources and time constraints for training initiatives.
  • Difficulty in catering to diverse learning preferences and styles.
  • Ensuring sustained engagement amidst competing priorities and distractions. 

Strategies to Promote Learner Engagement

Fortunately, there are ways to address these challenges. For example, organisations can harness various strategies tailored to employees’ unique needs and contexts. 

Here are a few effective approaches to consider:

  1. Mobile-based Learning Management Systems (LMS): Empower learners with flexibility and accessibility by adopting mobile-friendly LMS platforms. Whether it’s micro-learning modules, interactive quizzes, or on-the-go access to resources, mobile-based LMS facilitates seamless learning experiences anytime, anywhere.
  1. Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS): Integrate learning initiatives with HRMS platforms to personalise learning pathways, track progress, and provide timely feedback. Organisations can foster a culture of continuous development and growth by aligning learning objectives with performance management processes.

Communication Tools: Facilitate open communication channels through collaborative platforms, discussion forums, and virtual meeting spaces. Encourage knowledge sharing, peer-to-peer learning, and community-building initiatives to promote a supportive learning ecosystem within the organisation.

Leveraging Tech for Improved Engagement

The role of technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), must be balanced in driving learner engagement. Analytical data offers valuable insights into learner preferences, performance patterns, and areas for improvement.

Why not consider these additional approaches:

1.   Rewards Programmes: Who doesn’t love a good incentive? Rewards programmes liven up the learning journey by offering recognition and tangible rewards. Whether badges, certificates, or even small perks, rewards add more motivation to the learning process.

2.   Gamification: Gamification turns mundane tasks into exciting challenges, tapping into our natural inclination for competition and achievement. Leaderboards, quizzes, and interactive challenges transform learning into an adventure where every completed task feels like a victory.

3.   Automated Feedback & Support: Gone are the days of waiting endlessly for responses. Automated feedback systems provide instant insights and guidance, helping learners track their progress and address areas for improvement in real time. Whether it’s interactive assessments or AI-driven chatbots, prompt feedback ensures that learners stay on the right track and receive the support they need when they need it.

Driving learner engagement is a process, not an outcome. It takes a concerted effort, a commitment to continuous improvement, and a genuine belief in the transformative power of learning. By encouraging cognitive, behavioural, and emotional engagement, leveraging innovative technologies, and embracing a learning culture, organisations can empower employees to thrive, adapt, and succeed in future endeavours. Connect with us to ignite the journey towards a highly engaged workforce.

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