How an LMS can complement online learner engagement tools and strategies
While there are many LMS features that can boost learner engagement, some have more of an impact than others. Here’s a look at the most important features for increasing learner engagement.
1. The best of both worlds: blended learning
Blended learning combines online learning and traditional classroom teaching. These two approaches can be combined in various ways according to the given training needs.
For example, an LMS that offers online conferencing and webinar features, like TalentLMS, can make all the difference by allowing online teaching to be paired with on-site assessment. In other cases, testing can be done online with an LMS’ assessment features, while briefing sessions and collaborative workshops can be held in a face-to-face manner.
The blended learning approach can work wonders for motivating learners. Firstly, blended learning diversifies the learning experience to prevent boredom. It also reduces the in-person time required to complete a course and provides more convenience and flexibility through the online components.
Finally, blended learning provides groups of learners with more opportunities and a flexible platform to socialize and bond with their fellow learners. That way, it increases their emotional engagement and strengthens their connection to the learning experience.
2. Motivating every learner through gamification features
These days, gamification is quite the hot topic, and gamification features are considered a must-have for engaging online learners. Some of the best-known gamification features include:
● Points for progress or achievement
● Badges for learning milestones
● Leaderboards for peer and team competition
● Levels to “unlock” as a learner progresses through a course
Features like points, badges, and leaderboards motivate online learners to compete for recognition, thereby increasing emotional and social engagement. Other features like course levels that have to be unlocked by meeting performance standards appeal to the learners’ curiosity and quest for knowledge.
Many organizations have found gamification to be one of the most effective ways to motivate learners. For example, gamification can be used to engage and motivate learners by creating competition between different companies under the same organizational umbrella or various departments within a business.
Real-life examples of how gamification can lock down learner engagement
Many of our users have “gamified” their online training by using the numerous gamification features of TalentLMS in their portal. Using avatars, points, rewards, badges and levels, they have managed to make the learning process exciting both for the instructor and the learner. Here’s how they’ve described their gamification experience:
Western Governors University
“We love TalentLMS’ gamification options. We use the points system to drive user excitement and gain their buy-in. We set things up so whenever any of our employees finishes a course, they receive a specific amount of points. We created a points catalog housed in TalentLMS where employees can ‘cash’ in their points for various WGU-branded promotional materials. Thank you TalentLMS for providing a platform where we can provide training in a fun, creative, and exciting way!”
Visma Software Finland
“We offer our software user training within TalentLMS, and have taken advantage of the white-labeling option, so our customers recognize their portals as Visma Talent. We use gamification in a quite simple but effective way: users collect points and we reward the most active ones regularly (once every quarter). We also have many elderly software users, who are not so confident using technology, and their feedback is that gamification makes using an LMS less “serious”, more fun and much more motivating. So we will definitely continue using TalentLMS’ gamification features for sure.”
While gamification is promising, it is important to remember that the rewards it offers need to make sense to the learners and fit in the course’s context. Take care in designing these rewards so that they are truly motivating, and even inspiring.
Carefully consider the behaviors or achievements learners should be rewarded for. Should completion be enough to earn a badge? How about a certain level of achievement for an activity? Should achievement relative to other learners be emphasized? The answers to these questions will depend on the learning outcomes of the course.
3. Features that support social learning
Social learning is a powerful tool for reducing isolation and engaging online learners emotionally.
On an online learning platform, learners like to feel represented and heard. Therefore, TalentLMS’ features that support social engagement can make all the difference in boosting learner motivation:
● User profiles: Profiles allow learners to share information about themselves and feel more personably represented on the platform. By choosing an avatar to represent themselves on the LMS and writing a short bio containing their experience, personality, and expectations, learners become more invested in the learning community.
● Discussions: Discussion forum features remain a staple of any LMS worth its salt. Learners can share their opinions, observations, and experiences on these forums (Discussions) in both structured and unstructured conversations. Instructors can lead focused topics firmly related to learning outcomes, and learners can start their own threads for casual discussion.
● Certificates: A more recently introduced social feature is the ability to share Certifications earned on the LMS via social media platforms, like LinkedIn. That can be a meaningful reward for completing the course, especially for adult learners seeking recognition in their professional community.
4. How learners learn using mobile features
Convenience is undoubtedly one of the top online learner engagement tools and strategies today. Who doesn’t want learning to be readily accessible at their fingertips?
Mobile learning is accessible anytime, anywhere via polished learning management systems that support a wide variety of smartphone and tablet formats. TalentLMS’ native mobile apps for Android and iOS provide learners with the flexibility they search for. And when learners are allowed to complete their courses in the comfort of their own home, on their way to work or even on lunch breaks, their engagement is bound to improve.
5. Using SCORM for more engaging content
One of the best ways to motivate learners is to provide content that is interactive, eye-catching and stimulating. SCORM content is widely used in the eLearning and online training industries.
SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). It is a set of technical standards for presenting content on online training platforms and LMSs.
TalentLMS allows for a wide variety of content to be created using SCORM, including presentations, videos, interactive activities, and assessments. SCORM authoring tools also allow instructional designers to create content that is even more advanced, tailored to a course’s learning outcomes and given audience.
The most important takeaway here is to choose an LMS that is SCORM compliant, like TalentLMS. Creative, engaging content created with a SCORM authoring tool can be imported to your eLearning portal seamlessly, ready to be accessed by learners.
Today, an even more advanced tool called xAPI is gaining favor with instructional designers. xAPI does things that SCORM cannot, like produce in-depth test results, work outside of a learning management system, and transition between different platforms.
6. Online portal customizations
We all have our favorite websites that we visit many times over. Those websites often attract us because they combine a unique visual identity with a user-friendly layout.
A learning environment that is customized to match the organization or a specific course further invites learners to engage with the platform. Keep in mind that learners spend a significant amount of time on an LMS. Therefore, the platform’s design and layout are crucial to maintaining the interest of learners.
Branding can be a key factor for engaging online learners. Not only do customized interfaces look better, but they also leave a lasting impression. That’s why TalentLMS offers a broad range of options for creating a unique look and feel. That includes the ability to create separate training portals (Branches), each with its own unique logo, theme, color scheme, and more.
7. Feedback features: surveys and rating systems
We all want to know what learners truly think about their learning experience. Providing an opportunity to voice opinions and be heard on the LMS is one of the key ways to motivate learners.
Tools like surveys can help determine how successful a particular module or content component has been in engaging learners, or provide constructive criticism to help improve what doesn’t seem to work.
TalentLMS also provides a rating feature where learners are prompted to rate a course on a scale of one to five stars. That feature provides instructional designers and trainers with a quick overview of learner experience. It can also be set so that learners can see how their peers have rated the course.
Open feedback is highly effective for engaging online learners. Also, it provides trainers and instructional designers with useful information for course improvement.
Choosing the best LMS for engaging online learners
By using your LMS to its full potential, you can achieve and maintain increased learner engagement, overcome the barriers to learning, and employ the best strategies for motivating learners.
The TalentLMS features listed here all provide effective ways to motivate learners, from friendly competition and gamification to honest and open feedback opportunities in course design.
So, when choosing an LMS, it is important to consider its features and whether it provides the flexibility and customizations necessary for successfully engaging learners.
Even better, make sure to choose an LMS that is easy to use and, ideally, comes with a free plan. That way, instructional designers can experiment with techniques for engaging online learners until they find what works best for their course.