How to Use Reinforcement to Increase Learner Engagement

July 4, 2018

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man is happy at work: positive reinforcement

Behavioural science has inspired new ideas to increase the stickiness of your content and promote learner engagement. It doesn’t matter if you are a chief learning officer, trainer or instructional designer, creating engaging content can be a moving target.

Applying principles of reinforcement can be a way to improve engagement rates as long as you go beyond retraining and sending reminder messages. A successful reinforcement program applies a behavioural methodology that motivates learners, increases retention rates and ultimately creates lasting change.

Seven Principles of Reinforcement

These principles use proven, science-based theories to keep learners engaged and encourage them to apply the new skills that they have learned.

1. Close the Five Reinforcement Gaps

There are five key reinforcement gaps that hinder learners' ability to learn and apply new concepts: knowledge, skills, motivation, environment and communication. Successful programs must teach the knowledge needed to succeed and skills necessary to put what they've learned into action. This must also be taught in the right environment for participants to learn and communicate new information in an understandable way.

2. Master the Three Key Behavioural Phases. 

To change their behaviour, learners must go through three phases of behavioural change: 

  1. Gain awareness that a change is necessary;
  2. Acquire the knowledge and skills to change their behaviour, and; 
  3. Apply the new behaviour change to create a positive impact

3. Create Push and Pull to Encourage Learner Engagement

Push factors cause learners to take actions so they can avoid potential pain. This could stem from minor actions such as an email reminding them that they must complete a mandatory module as a condition of their employment. In contrast, pull factors reward learners with a sense of achievement which motivates them to take more of this action.

4. Encourage Social Friction and Provide Direction

Show learners how to apply the concepts that they are learning in their daily work. Integrating real-world scenarios leverage social friction which will reinforce the learnings from the program.

5. Find a Balance between Challenge and Satisfaction 

Creating a balanced reinforcement flow helps learners stay engaged. Challenge your participants with relevant short-term goals. Build in feedback points to encourage learners by highlighting their progress. Remember the importance of breaks that allows learners to recharge and refocus.

6. Set Measurable Behaviour Change Targets

Before implementing a new program, consider your reinforcement objectives. What behaviours should successful learners demonstrate? Use your unique goals to develop LMS learning analytics to track and quantify your results. LMS engagement analytics can help organizations develop a comprehensive view of their training programs by measuring learners’ reactions, knowledge, behaviour and outcomes.

7. Place Learners at the Centre of Your Programs 

To maximize learner engagement with the LMS, each module should deliver value to learners. User-focused programs consider the different needs, preferences and learning styles of participants at every stage in the process.

At Lambda Solutions, we can help you use your learning analytics to implement effective reinforcement techniques and increase learner engagement. Our learning analytics and reporting solution, Zoola Analytics, makes it easy to access, analyze and understand your LMS data. 

Contact us to learn how we can help you improve the behavioural outcomes of your training programs.

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For more details, download our eBook, Getting Engaged: How To Make Your Learners Fall in Love with Learning, where we delve into the mind of the disengaged learner and examine a number of factors that influence engagement.

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Sell, market, manage, and scale your eLearning all in one place with the brand new Lambda Suite!!

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