August 25, 2015

Engaging Your Staff With eLearning

How can you encourage your employees to start learning online? What should you do if they don’t complete the courses? What kind of employee does not respond well to gamification? We have talked about this at one of the previous webinars, and share the main thoughts of the discussion here.

In an ideal world of an L&D specialist the problem of involving personnel in learning would not exist. All employees would know that they ought to be learning so that they can climb up the career ladder and improve in their professional environment. They would do this willingly, asking “have some new courses come up yet?” They would complete all the programs and collect diplomas.

The reality is somewhat bleaker. As a matter of principle, most people don’t want to train, and think that it’s simply a waste of time. Even if they’ve been forced to enter the distance learning portal, they try to make the work as easy as possible for themselves. They’ll scroll through the courses at random, find answers to the test questions on forums or just chuck it all in mid way through.

How can you match the ideal picture with reality?

Who Are We Dealing with?


Let’s start with the staff, who can be different and varied, and each of whom have their own reasons for abandoning training. Nevertheless, the most common types of staff who tend to sabotage training are:

  • “I know everything and don’t need you”
  • “A good thing, but no time for it today”
  • “I want to learn but I’m too lazy to look for it”
  • “Do you have pictures there?”
  • “Er...well if I must then I’ll do it”
  • “Will I get paid more?”
  • “First will you teach me how to turn on my computer?”

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and each company has their own types of people. Therefore, you firstly need to find out the most common kinds of people in the team, and work with their objections.

Where Do People Disappear to?

If you were to represent a course as a “training funnel”, then a typical picture would look like this:

common picture

Here there’s work to be done, but on the whole the situation isn’t critical.

It’s a whole other matter when a set number of staff members enroll on the course, but only a few of them actually receive a diploma from it:

gap in engagement

This means that something needs to change within the course itself, the way it’s disseminated or how the process is organized.

Here’s an even worse scenario: the course is so boring for the staff that they don’t even log on to the learning portal to look at it:

gap in progress

Here the problem is more serious and is more likely to be a fault in the system, but you can correct it.

Attracting Staff to the Learning Portal

If a member of staff doesn’t see that there’s any value in taking a course, then they won’t do it at all, no matter how high-quality it might have been. The conclusion is therefore that you need to motivate people from the very beginning with something good (entertain them) or useful (give them practical tools).

entertain employees

1. Introductory instructions or mini games

Advantages: reduces the amount of questions from users, as it’s easy to find prepared solutions on the market.

Disadvantages: you may irritate other staff groups, such as experienced users.

2. Worksheet of users’ activity

Advantages: gives a sense of competition and shows which courses are actually relevant.

Disadvantages: may violate people’s personal space, and not all LMS offer this opportunity.

3. Certificates

Advantages: simple, cheap and really useful, particularly if the certificate that they receive can be applied somewhere else.

Disadvantages: if there are too many certificates issued then they decrease in value, and people’s self esteem and the likelihood that an employee leaves increases as a result.

4. A series of closed courses or webinars

Advantages: easy to customize for any LMS and effective for the uptake of knowledge.

Disadvantages: fewer people would benefit; compulsory courses aren’t held like this.

5. Special (bonus) learning

Advantages: once they have completed the course, staff can become a real expert in the field they have studied.

Disadvantages: doesn’t work when there is an initially low level of motivation.

Getting Them to the End


If staff members “drop out” during the course, but the course is quite important for them, then you can try the “gameification”.

1. Leader boards, tables of “star students”, game points

Advantages: easy to embed into any LMS almost free; it can be used in combination with leader boards on employees work efficiency.

Disadvantages: certain types of employees find competition to be demotivating; others may get too distracted by the competition and forget about the work altogether.

2. Badges or medals

Advantages: shows people’s actual achievements and can be combined with marks of distinction for completing assigned tasks.

Disadvantages: requires all previous parts of gameification and may create difficulties when updating learning programs.

Enroll and Complete’s courses have the highest degree of engagement: up to 87% of those who start learning receive at least 1 diploma (in comparison to the standard rate of 3-7%). Get a free 14 day access to Eduson and let your staff attend 1000+ courses in a broad range of subjects.

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