Instructional Design

7 Tips To Engage Employees Through Emotional Learning

Win Hearts and Minds With Engaging Emotional eLearning
Most people reserve their brains for the workplace and their hearts for the home, but there is much to be said for online training experiences that build an emotional connection with your corporate learners.

In this article, I’ll share 7 tips to help you engage your employees through emotional learning.

How To Engage Employees Through Emotional Learning: 7 Tips For eLearning Professionals

One of the most significant challenges facing corporate eLearning developers is how to get their learners hooked. They need to be engaged, focused on the task at-hand, and excited about their online training in order for it to be truly successful.

All of this can be easier said than done, however, unless you can get them emotionally involved. In this article, I’ll be offering 7 tips to engage and inspire employees by tapping into their emotions.

1. Put your corporate audience in charge.

Let your corporate learners take control of their own online training experience by choosing when, how, and what they learn. Give them a clear idea of what they need to complete by the training deadline, but then allow them to take it from there.

Of course, you can offer them support when they need it, but giving them the opportunity to work autonomously empowers them to learn and boosts their confidence.

2. Use mistakes as learning tools.

Mistakes often have a negative connotation. However, if you know how to truly analyze and reflect upon mistakes, they hold the power to transform learning behaviors.

If an employee makes a mistake during the online training course, then draw their attention to it and offer input on how they can improve. Constructively criticize corporate learners without making them feel as though they failed the task. This automatically triggers their brain to absorb the correct information and commit it to memory.

More importantly, it makes them aware of the fact that you care about their success, and that they are free to take risks that can lead to professional growth.

3. Encourage learner reflection.

At the end of every online training activity or module, give your employees ample time to reflect upon their eLearning experience. Allow them to absorb what they have learned and to determine how they can improve moving forward.

This time for self-reflection also gives them the chance to focus on their emotions, such as how they felt about the online training experience, and determine how they can use their newly-found information in the real world.

When they can see how the training will benefit them on-the-job, they will understand the true value of their eLearning experience and be more willing to actively participate.

4. Honor negative emotions, rather than hiding them.

Let’s be perfectly honest; some employees aren’t particularly fond of compliance training or taking the time to learn about new product updates. There are also certain employees, particularly over-achievers, who tend to beat themselves up when they cannot master a topic in a timely manner.

This is when it’s crucial to honor negative emotions by encouraging your corporate learners to analyze why they are feeling this way, as well as how they can channel their energy into a positive endeavor.

For example, you can ask them to reflect upon why they don’t want to participate in the online training course, then work together to formulate a training strategy that works for them or stress the benefits of taking the eLearning course.

5. Challenge learners’ opinions.

Think about the last time someone told you that your opinion was wrong or that they disagreed with your viewpoint. Despite the fact that an opinion cannot be “wrong”, as it’s all a matter of personal perspective, when someone challenges our assumptions this typically evokes a strong emotional response.

It makes us question the knowledge that we already have stored in our long-term memory banks, and to reassess our way of thinking about that particular topic. So, why not tap into these strong emotions by contradicting popular opinion or making a bold statement.

For example, you can question a common work practice or turn a popular belief on its head. This not only grabs their attention, but gets their mental gears turning and prompts them to consider alternate approaches to work related challenges and tasks.

6. Praise is the key to persistence.

Ultimately, every member of your corporate learning audience wants to improve themselves in some way. Even those who may seem more reluctant to participate still have an inherent desire to be better at what they do or, at the very least, improve their work practices in order to climb the corporate ladder.

This is where praise comes into play. If you praise your learners when praise is due, this will fuel their motivation and make them more emotionally connected to the online training experience.

Though it’s important to provide constructive criticism to fix incorrect learning behaviors, giving them the praise they need can strengthen favorable behaviors.

7. Let them know that they make a difference.

Employees can often lose sight of the fact that they make a difference in the workplace. The job duties that they carry out on a daily basis make the company more successful, thereby increasing their own professional success.

Emphasize the fact that online training will give them the ability to become not only better employees, but more confident and self-fulfilled individuals. Stress the fact that their contribution to the organization truly matters, and that you appreciate they are taking the time to develop their skills and knowledge base.

If they know that you respect their participation and acknowledge their efforts, they are going to be more engaged and emotionally connected to the online training experience.

Conclusion

With these tips and tricks, you can transform any online training course into an emotionally-centered, highly effective online training experience for your corporate audience. Even compliance training can become exciting and engaging if you add emotional learning to the equation.

Interested in learning more about motivating your corporate learners? Read the article How To Create A Motivational eLearning Experience: 6 Tips For eLearning Professionals to discover 6 top tips to create a motivational eLearning experience for every member of your corporate audience.

  • There’s a lot of really practical advice here I can use right away; thanks, Christopher. It can be real challenge “getting through” to learners who don’t see the relevance of the training for them, or who are being forced by workplace pressures to do a course. This article really helps us break down those barriers.