5 Ways to Motivate eLearners

Like many, my resolution this year is to lose weight, improve my personal fitness, and maintain both goals by adopting a healthier lifestyle.  To help me on my journey, I’ve downloaded a popular weight loss app. Throughout the day, I log the food I eat, the drinks I imbibe, and the activities I undertake. Overall, I must say the user experience is a great one. With a handy barcode scanner, almost any foodstuff can be added to my daily diary in a matter of seconds. Calories that I burn are calculated instantaneously, thanks to a formula that considers my weight, the duration of the exercise, the intensity of the workout, and the activity type. Beyond ease of use, the app is great at maintaining motivation. Net calories are displayed visually in bar graph form with your max budget clearly defined. I must say, I am filled with a sense of accomplishment when I review my weekly bar graph and see that I routinely come in under my assigned calorie limit. What’s more, as certain milestones are achieved, I receive a virtual award. So far, I am proud to say that I have earned the Exercise Buff badge. Other features tap into the social media craze. I can share my progress with friends as well as external social outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, adding an additional layer of accountability. Overall, the app succeeds in encouraging repeated use with a smart design and built-in motivators that are both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature.

ELearning developers everywhere should take note. The creation of successful technology-based training and educational platforms is not hinged solely on the achievement of a striking design, engaging content, and interactive features, but also on motivation. If we as eLearning creators are to encourage use, we need to think up effective ways to reward action.

  1. Map Accomplishments Visually:  Though it may sound simple–because it is–displaying a user’s accomplishments within an eLearning portal can boost his or her sense of worth. Test scores can be mapped in graph form and plotted against overall scoring averages. By giving the user a benchmark to overcome, individuals will be compelled to try harder.
  2. Pit eLearner against eLearner: Let’s face it, we all enjoy a bit of healthy competition. Integrating a feature as simple as a leader board can tap into this innate human desire. ELearners who complete modules within a specified time period or achieve outstanding scores can take their place among the elite rank for all to see.
  3. Make it Public: Utilize some of the principles of social networking to raise the accountability stakes. Why not create an individual trainee profile and post achievements, good or bad, to a running news feed that is seen by all portal members. Users will be motivated to do their best when their efforts are on display.
  4. Reward Effort:Virtual badges and trophies give eLearners a goal to strive to achieve. These badges should be displayed prominently and continuously as a record of an individual’s personal merit and commitment.
  5. Organize Educational Content in Layers and Levels: Just as an individual may play a video game non-stop until the next level is unlocked, eLearners will do the same if content is divided into requisite layers. Set strict requirements that demand certain scores and the completion of certain activities until the next layer of material is unlocked. This approach is sure to garner concerted and dedicated efforts.

Motivation is not necessarily a primary concern on many organization’s minds when it comes to eLearning, but it should be. Without this essential element of design, you might just achieve a resource of important information that your staff or audience does not value or desire to use. DDA VMS, a developer of interactive and innovative eLearning technologies can help you strike the correct balance with a platform that is easy to use, immensely relevant, addictively engaging, and motivating. Contact us today for additional information: 215-355-6442.

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.