February 17 2015

5 Tips to Inspire and Engage Online Learners

Written by Nimritta P.

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One of the major challenges LMS administrators often face with online learning  is keeping their learners inspired and engaged in their course work and we have some great advice on how to overcome this. Here are a few tips on how to keep online learners motivated:

 

1.  Implement Gamification.

This is perhaps the most efficient way to engage learners. In a study conducted at the University of Colorado Denver showed that learners scored 14% higher after completing gamified courses. That is a significant increase! Gamification is the concept of using game design elements, game mechanics, and game thinking, in non-game contexts to make learning more compelling. Some basic game design elements are fixed rules, ranks, negative consequences, and 3-D environments. You should include features like points, levels, and rewards, and incorporate storytelling or narratives, challenges and quests. Keeping these components in mind, you can design a highly effective gamified course that will engage and inspire your learners.

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2.  Monitor all questions and discussions frequently.

One of the major benefits of online learning is that it allows a steady and constant stream of communication between learners and LMS administrators, so ensure that your users are able to take advantage of this feature. If learners are not getting to reap the benefits of the online learning system, they will lose their drive to learn. To avoid this, you can set a schedule so you can check and answer all questions in a timely manner, or you can turn on social and forum functionality with alerting.  This will motivate users, and hopefully allow them to get to a point where they will be self-sufficient online learners.

3. Provide detailed feedback on assignments.

One of the setbacks that people see in Online Learning is the physical distance between administrators and learners. Don’t allow learners to feel this gap. If feedback is scant, learners will surely have questions. Try to avoid this excess communication by addressing as many of their potential questions as you can to begin with. This will also ease the tension that comes with having questions, but no physical person to answer them.

4. Schedule a monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly video.

This allows common questions to be answered, notification of any updates to the system or courseware, and also helps build the relationship between the administrators and their learners by making your presence known. You should also create a welcome video at the beginning of the course, to introduce yourself to your learners, and so they can put a face to the name. Seeing your face, or hearing your voice on a regular basis will remind your learners that you are there to assist their success.

5. Include links to any additional resources that might help learners at any point during their learning process.

This can include but is not limited to online library databases, supplemental readings, websites, and videos with further information on certain topics. Predict their struggles and questions as best you can, and provide them with the necessary tools to help them ahead of time. Make sure that the resources are relevant though, as you don’t want to overwhelm learners with information.

 

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