Even when you think your learning management system (LMS) is doing what it should, your LMS metrics can indicate unsatisfactory trends.
The most obvious case is getting subpar user feedback, which is fairly common. In one survey, only 39 percent of respondents were highly satisfied with their LMSs’ feature sets. Other signals may include low training completion rates, low frequency of attendance, or low competency rates that show staff members are unfamiliar with procedures they are supposed to know.
The metrics can tell you whether your training program needs to be changed, but they may not necessarily tell you what improvements need to be made. Investing in training without a plan can lead to squandered resources, so upgrades must be carefully considered before any decisions are made.
With that in mind, here are some common issues that cause low learner engagement with LMSs and corporate training content, plus advice on how to rectify them:
1. Employees Don’t See the Value in the Content
It must be immediately evident how any given training can add value to an employee’s job, or they will simply see the training as a nuisance. If that happens, engagement will drop significantly.
For example, while safety training seems obviously important for those who work around heavy machinery in manufacturing environments, the benefit may not be clear to the HR team in that same business. Many employees are likely to wonder, “I don’t even spend time around any of the dangerous machinery — why do I need this training?”
The value of training in the eyes of an employee depends on how much useful knowledge the training can impart to them. In other words, staff members want training that directly helps them accomplish their daily duties.
What to Do
A needs analysis can help ensure a given learning path is effective and properly targeted. Through a needs analysis, you can determine what should be in the learning materials and what should not, allowing you to weed out irrelevant content and reinforce the relevant knowledge.
Businesses can compare their compliance requirements with their actual business routines in order to align training content with the needs of employees. The crucial question of a needs analysis is: “What is this staff member required to accomplish in their position, and how does this course help them do so?” Answers to this question will reveal how targeted the training is and how it can be adjusted.
Learner feedback is equally important when assessing whether content is still relevant. Trends pass, the market evolves, and businesses adapt. Knowing this, no one can afford to keep the same outdated content in their learning paths. The same way you can’t keep supporting a declining legacy system no matter how profitable it once was, you can’t maintain legacy content just because it used to be relevant.
2. Training Lacks Relatable Goals
If learners can’t understand why they should follow through with training in the first place, they will see it as yet another task on the to-do list, mentally categorizing it as nothing more than busy work.
What to Do
Setting meaningful, straightforward learning goals and measuring outcomes are key. When it comes to eLearning, the general criteria are: focus on the learner, establish the skills they will learn, and keep the outcome measurable. Including in lessons a simple construction like, “At the end of this lesson, the learner will be able to do X,” makes it clear to the employee why the training matters and what they are working toward.
Having a measurable goal makes it possible to see changes in employees and compare their performance after the training to their performance before the training. Therefore, “Learning how to deal with difficult customers” is not as good a goal as “At the end of this lesson, the learner will be able to identify lack of interest in customers and respond to it with conversational techniques based on previously recorded interactions.”
3. Training Content Is Not Engaging
Assuming the content is useful and its usefulness is clear to learners, the problem may lie with how the content is being conveyed. Lessons should be delivered in engaging, digestible formats. Avoid lengthy blocks of text, as they not only require more effort to process than images and videos, but they are also likely to contain excessive and unnecessary information.
What to Do
From microlearning to gamification, there are several approaches to turning corporate training into a more enjoyable experience that is easier to digest. What all the approaches have in common is tweaking delivery to make content less dense and more media-rich. Video, mobile, and microlearning solutions often rank high among employees’ preferred learning formats, with interactive videos being particularly preferred.
“Microlearning” refers to a method of delivering content in smaller chunks, which makes it possible for learners to engage with, process, and understand materials much more easily. Employees find this method of delivery quite appealing, with 58 percent of them saying they’d be more likely to use a company’s online learning tools if the content were presented in shorter segments.
4. Training Is Hard to Access
Can learners connect with training materials through their smartphones and mobile devices? Does training require them to sit through long, unbroken sessions? If accessibility is too constrained, engagement is sure to plunge.
Additionally, a time-consuming course can devour a considerable portion of your employees’ workdays, all while their workloads pile up. If employees do training at home, these courses will eat up their personal time, fueling resentment. In either scenario, you will reinforce the idea that training is, at best, a necessary evil to be tolerated.
What to Do
As previously stated, briefer training segments are more appealing to employees. Additionally, instead of bringing the learners to the course, bring the course to your learners by making it available on their mobile devices. People spend hours a day with their smartphones in hand. If an eLearning course were as accessible as a cute cat video, your employees would be more likely to engage with the material.
Furthermore, straightforward, always-accessible lessons help combat the dreaded forgetting curve. Knowledge that goes unpracticed is sure to be forgotten. If you don’t review new information after learning it, you will forget half of it by the next day.
Corporate training is only as good as its ability to engage those being trained. Even a single misstep in delivery can cause employees to disengage from an otherwise valuable training course. Pay attention to how your employees use your LMS and solicit their feedback on training. This will help you quickly identify and remedy issues before they spiral out of control.
Elena Bondarik is an eLearning observer at Iflexion.
Elena Bondarik is an e-learning observer at Iflexion. She has been working in education for more than 10 years exploring how to apply technology to everyday training sessions and teaching practice.