We all know that motivation plays a very important role in learning. While motivating learners in a regular classroom setting is relatively easy, doing so in an eLearning course, may be challenging. In this post, I want to look at some ways you can motivate your learners.
- Always use more than one way to present instructions/directions- Remember, your learners will not have an instructor who will be able to provide further explanations. Therefore, when you want learners to do something, you need to be as clear as possible. When it comes to instructions, more is better than less. Be as specific as you can, and don’t forget that all people learn differently. In addition to written instructions, consider offering instructions in the audio format. Try to provide clear examples of what you want your learners to do. Lastly, always use plain language when writing instructions. Your learners should not spend too much time thinking about the assignment. In fact, your instructions should be so simple that learners should immediately understand what they need to do without having to re-read the instructions multiple times.
- Communicate your expectations and objectives – We all do better when we know what is expected of us. Expectations help us understand if we are performing better or worse than we should. Furthermore, clear objectives and expectations help us progress in the right direction. If adults are unsure why they are learning a particular skill, they will most likely give up, and think of training as a waste of their time. Course expectations do not necessarily have to be written as bullet points. Instructional designers may consider showing a motivational video, telling a story, or even displaying an image that emphasizes the real-world benefits. Throughout the course, try reminding your learners of goals and objectives. Remember, when we know the goal, or the reason we need to get to our goal, we will be more motivated to succeed.
- Feedback, feedback, feedback – We all know that feedback is a crucial part of learning. Even kids in school know about their successes and failures through test scores and report cards. Obviously, adults don’t need grades to feel motivated. What they need is constant clear and immediate feedback. While it’s hard to provide truly valuable feedback in an eLearning format, there are some ways to do that. For example, instructional designers may create short quizzes or “test your knowledge” activities after each segment or objective. These knowledge checks may be in a form of a question, or designed as a game or simulation. You may even consider breaking your game into levels, and have learners participate in the level that is right for them.
- Avoid cognitive overload – Break your course into as many chunks as you can. If you present a lot of information at once, your learners will be overloaded and their retention level will decrease. To increase retention, you should deliver your course in small segments. In eLearning courses, allow learners to go back, and review sections that they missed, or need more time to comprehend. Even if your course is short and to the point, never expect your learners to remember all the content. Whenever possible, provide a downloadable reference guide that contains all the must-know information from the lesson.
- Personalize learning experiences – While eLearning is not easy to personalize, there are some ways to do so. For example, you can speak directly to your learner. This can be done by using the pronoun “you” throughout your presentation. Always put yourself in your learners’ shoes. Use relevant real-life examples and stories in your course. Your goal is to make learners feel at home. You want them to be able to relate to the material you are presenting.
As you can see, motivation plays a prominent role in eLearning experiences. While it’s not always easy to motivate adult learners, if you apply the strategies outlined above, the level of engagement and retention among your learners will increase.
If you want to learn more about motivation in eLearning, or if you want to learn how to design instructionally sound eLearning courses, please check out the Instructional Design for eLearning: Essential guide to creating successful eLearning courses book. This book is also available in Spanish.
You may also be interested in the Instructional Design for ELearning course. https://www.udemy.com/instructional-design-for-elearning/