Did you know that 77 percent¹ of companies in the U.S. offer corporate training via an online LMS? There are several reasons for this, reduced costs of learning management systems and increased convenience for learners being just two of them. Another reason why company leaders choose to offer their employees online learning is because online learning, or eLearning, is easy to engage with. It typically has a higher rate of learner engagement than traditional, classroom-style learning because it can include elements of gamification and is designed to be fed to learners bit by bit, in small units of training that are easy to digest and retain. Still, not every learner loves online learning. Can company leaders help employees fall in love with online learning? The answer may surprise you.
To Get Employees to Love Online Learning, Engage Their Positive Emotions
For the most part, we love things and people who pull on our heartstrings. For example, think of your favorite movies. Do they not evoke a positive emotional response in you? Of course! Good feelings like these cause us to form an attachment with whatever inspired the pleasant emotions. Who’s to say employees/learners can’t have these warm, fuzzy feelings about training that is offered online? The idea may seem far-fetched, but it’s possible. Just think of the ramifications of having an entire workforce that truly enjoys employee training. This would impact your company’s learning culture, revenues, and growth.
Many people say they hate school. Usually, these individuals’ early experiences with school were either traumatic or boring, but almost always negative. School engaged their negative emotions, and they grew to detest it as a result. Conversely, those who claim to have loved school had good experiences with their teachers and peers, and likely comprehended the content presented to them. This illustration further reminds us that emotions about learning can make or break someone’s attitude toward it and willingness to participate in it. The challenge for corporate leaders is presenting online training in a way that plays on people’s pleasant emotions.
How to Present Online Learning in a “Safe” Way
If you want to get your employees to love online learning, you must design and deliver it in a way that stirs up their positive feelings. One of the most powerful ways to do this is by presenting online learning content in a manner that makes the learner feel safe.
It’s impossible to determine precisely how many people feel threatened by learning, whether it happens at school or work. Karla Gutierrez wrote a fascinating article about how individuals can interpret learning as either safe or threatening, and the impact this has on knowledge transfer. In her article The Role of Emotions in Learning, she wrote,
“When the limbic system interprets a situation as being ‘safe’, it facilitates learning by releasing another set of chemicals that open the higher cognitive centers of the brain, namely, the cortical region. These chemicals aid the workings of these regions, so you are more receptive to external input, your imagination is fired, and creativity soars. Think of the confident student during an exam. Because his limbic system has interpreted the situation as being ‘safe,’ it has triggered the ‘fight’ response. The student feels he can handle what’s coming his way.”²
You want your employees to feel as though they can handle what’s coming their way when participating in online training. You can facilitate this by…
- Letting employees know that online quizzes and exams are more about helping you assess where they are so you can better train them than judging their intelligence.
- Using tools like VoiceThread, which allow you to have asynchronous voice and video conversations with learners. These types of tools humanize online learning, making it feel even safer to employee learners. Learning management systems (LMS) associated with the IMS Learning Consortium have access to Voice Thread as well as other groundbreaking features that humanize eLearning.
Remember, if employees know they know they won’t get ‘in trouble’ for scoring low on an online quiz or not comprehending information, they will feel safe and will come to you with questions. This will undoubtedly promote better knowledge transfer and positive learning experiences that will keep employee learners coming back for more instead of avoiding training.
Helping Employees Love Online Learning is a Win-win Situation for Companies
One of the best things about online learning is that it lends itself to positive emotional attachment. Employees’ emotions shouldn’t be manipulated, but there is nothing wrong with company leaders doing all they can to make learning and training a pleasant experience for workers. It just so happens that the result of this is better knowledge transfer and a greater willingness of employees to fully participate in training. This is a win-win situation if there ever was one.