How can you engage learners and drive positive behaviour changes?

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Staff development training must be more than a tick-box solution and delivers the best results when it's relevant, engaging and memorable.

When you are investing in training and development for staff, you need to feel confident that it will have long-lasting results, with employees applying what they have learned straight away.

But certain habits can become firmly ingrained in members of staff, particularly if they have worked for you for a long time. And even in the face of regulatory changes affecting the wider industry, some may be slow to adapt or perhaps forget the new information they have learned straight away.

Both scenarios can invite problems for businesses, from providing a less-than-adequate service to breaking the law. That's why it's very important that learning and development courses have a real impact on participants, with people taking away what they have learned and putting it to use immediately.

With this in mind, many organisations have turned to e-learning, as they've found it's much more than a simple tick-box solution and can bring about meaningful behaviour changes.

Why e-learning can influence behaviour

Businesses sometimes make the mistake of delivering staff training in an overly prescriptive way, giving participants very little chance to influence the proceedings and genuinely engage with the learning process.

However, e-learning puts participants in control over their training, as it is interactive and they can proceed at a pace that suits them.

As a result, they can move on to the next stage of their training having genuinely had the opportunity to understand what has been taught so far.

Our e-learning courses also recognise the nuances of human nature, especially the tendency of people to stick or revert to established habits.

That's why courses are often based around practical experiences rather than pure theory. By giving learners the chance to take part in challenges, simulations and devise their own scenarios, they can be far more engaged with the facts being conveyed.

Furthermore, they will feel confident applying new knowledge and processes in the real world later on.

The aim of e-learning is often to encourage people to break habits, so giving people the chance to demonstrate both to themselves and their employer that they can adapt is crucial.

Another advantage of e-learning is that it relies on many of the techniques and methods that people use in their everyday social lives to receive information.

Many of us routinely turn to our smartphones, tablets or laptops and fire up a YouTube video to find out how certain tasks are performed.

If we're learning a new skill, we can follow step-by-step instructions at our own pace any maybe even test ourselves using online tools and resources.

Virtual College's e-learning courses operate in much the same way, using the tools people have at their disposal to deliver complex information in a practical, convenient and engaging way.

With videos, for instance, training can be delivered in a succinct, clear and stimulating way, taking advantage of various stimuli to keep viewers alert, from lively graphics to entertaining sounds and music.

And since participants won't be interacting with others face-to-face throughout their course, they can be a good way of breaking up e-learning modules.

More and more people are using mobile devices to view video content. Indeed, it's just as common to see people on the bus to work watching videos on their phone as it is to see them reading a book or newspaper.

By delivering employee training via a platform that has been readily embraced by people from many walks of life, we are confident that this is a good way of getting people invested in a course and retaining what they have learned.

Rewards and motivators

Another element of human nature that e-learning courses recognise is the desire to be rewarded for success.

If a participant is doing an e-learning course on their own, they do not have a lecturer or trainer giving them the extra motivation or encouragement they may require, so courses often include a number of game-inspired elements.

By adding a healthy level of competition and markers of success and progress throughout, participants can be given a psychological boost and a greater stake in the outcome.

Ultimately, the objective is to ensure participants are simply not rushing through vital training as quickly as they can, to the point where they are not paying full attention or going through the motions simply to tick a box.

We are dedicated to putting people in control of their learning and using a variety of methods to get people engaged, motivated and eager to put their newfound knowledge and skills into practice.


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Author: Felicity Bagshaw

Felicity is a Learning Technology Consultant who specialises in safeguarding training and developing digital learning solutions that create change and make an impact. Felicity is passionate about using technology for good and regularly highlights the role which learning technologies can play in making positive changes to working culture.