2022 Learner Engagement And Motivation: A Journey


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Parts Of Studying Engagement

That is simply how I consider engagement and motivation, however it could additionally assist you to. Take into consideration engagement and motivation as knowledgeable journey. You’ve a imaginative and prescient (you possibly can see the ends in entrance of your thoughts’s eyes). Motivation is the gasoline. Motivation can drive no matter car you select. You may consider this gasoline as intrinsic (the driving power is to really feel your accomplishment) and extrinsic (once you get to your vacation spot you may get promoted). You’ve a full tank in the beginning.

However gasoline with no car is simply pleasure with out progress. Engagement is that car that strikes you thru this journey. Let’s say you choose a automobile as a car. A automobile with a full tank. You’re able to hit the street. Driving round in circles can rapidly burn the gasoline whilst you’re getting nowhere. Doing pressing errands as an alternative of holding on observe may also waste your gasoline. To drive a automobile, you’re going to want no less than three various kinds of engagement:

  1. Bodily/motion/habits
    That’s, turning the wheel, urgent the gasoline and brake, turning on the sign, and so forth.
  2. Cognitive or psychological
    That’s, making choices about how briskly you go, the place you go, when to take a relaxation, find out how to keep away from accidents, and so forth.
  3. Affective or emotional
    That’s, how you are feeling concerning the journey, how excited you might be to see new locations, and the way glad you are feeling concerning the progress.

All three elements collectively (habits, cognitive, and affective) contribute to what we frequently name merely (learner) engagement. The problem is to design an expertise whereas balancing these elements: what folks do, what psychological choices and actions they take, and the way emotionally concerned they get. A journey is a progress by each time and house. The depth of those three engagement components might range all through the journey.

What Does The Analysis On Learner Engagement Say?

My journey in house and time analogy is sweet, however is there analysis information backing it up? A latest Studying Guild publication is an effective begin as a result of it does concentrate on the connection between learner engagement and educational outcomes. I extremely advocate studying the entire paper “Learner Engagement and Tutorial Outcomes” [1]. Dr. Jane Bozarth, Director of Analysis on the Studying Guild, does an excellent job “translating” the analysis language and its findings by Charles Dye right into a sensible, extra comprehensible piece for these with eyes untrained within the language of academia: “Among the many findings notably related to our readership have been isolation of three dimensions of learner engagement: affective, cognitive, and situational. [1]” Trowler (2010) summarizes the elements of the training engagement assemble as:

  • Behavioral
    Regarding college students’ actions. For instance, class attendance, submission of labor, contribution to class dialogue, or participation in school-related actions (e.g., extracurricular sports activities or faculty governance).
  • Emotional
    Regarding college students’ affective reactions in relation to their studying. For instance, an emotionally engaged pupil may report that they have been thinking about their course and that they loved studying.
  • Cognitive
    Regarding college students’ psychological funding of their studying. For instance, the need to transcend the necessities of the category and the adoption of metacognitive studying methods.

Based on Charles Dye, what’s lacking from these complete research is the training atmosphere as a important component: “The concentrate on studying atmosphere as a component of learner engagement is of concern as a result of whereas grownup learners within the office are primarily the identical as these of 30 years in the past, studying environments should not [1].” The best way we reside, store, entertain and get issues are dramatically completely different from the way in which it was many years in the past. Accessible expertise that can be utilized for delivering and facilitating studying within the office has additionally modified. I intentionally used the phrase “accessible,” as a result of many people are nonetheless caught with the old style “content material supply and administration” strategy with out the mandatory personalization and adaptive expertise.

Is There A Correlation Between Learner Engagement And Studying Consequence?

“Learner efficiency and learner engagement have been discovered to be extremely positively correlated, r(326) = .96, p <.001. It have to be famous that there isn’t a declare of a causal relationship within the information, though that’s the final purpose of this line of analysis [1].” As for the notion of adjusting the depth of those elements as you progress by the journey:

Furthermore, information constantly supported the concept that learner engagement was not fastened all through a studying expertise, however relatively modified—typically fairly rapidly, each as a consequence of the learner and the atmosphere many practitioners and organizations have targeted on driving the learner to “interact” within the studying expertise to enhance outcomes, scale back attrition, and achieve the organizational objectives of the coaching program [1].

Warning! When The Journey Is Mandated…

“Individuals interviewed on this examine famous a lot larger dissatisfaction with necessary coaching indirectly helpful or relevant to them as learners of their position, with one participant noting ‘most necessary company-wide coaching is a waste of time'” [1]. Different studies point out the identical outcomes:

Moreover, when staff really feel like they’re being managed, says Dobbin, organisational research present they have a tendency to react negatively. So, when variety coaching is designated as necessary—which Dobbin’s analysis discovered was the case at 80% of firms within the US—staff can understand these periods as a lot much less palatable than in the event that they have been voluntary.

My Essential Takeaways From The Paper On Learner Engagement

Personally, I discovered 4 key takeaways after studying the publication:

1. Design For All Parts

First, nobody issue of learner engagement is ample in and of itself to lead to an engaged learner. This has profound significance for each educational design and supply. There are myriad new studying environments; it’s important to partaking the learner that they be positioned in an efficient and supportive studying atmosphere and obtain related and genuine educational content material [1].

I utterly agree with the primary a part of the assertion. It’s important to needless to say specializing in a single part out of the three will not be ample. For instance, throughout my interviews with new hires about their onboarding, 95% of them recalled this one course they appreciated (gamified arcade), but solely 30% remembered what they discovered there.

2. Notion Of The Learner And Alignment (Relevance) Rely

“The second implication of this mannequin is that the notion of the learner of each the coaching program and the alignment of intent between the learner and the academic program being delivered is important to learner engagement. [1]”

First, observe this implication says “notion of the learner” and never actuality. Does this imply L&D must be expert in not solely studying design however psychology? Shock! Second, alignment is not going to occur till we transfer from a content material supply service to enablement that’s private and adaptive primarily based on present and desired abilities.

3. Engagement Adjustments

The third implication is that the depth and frequency of engagement by these elements change over time. This brings up the query: when and find out how to observe and measure engagement? In the course of the expertise itself? Proper on the finish? A day or two later? How does the peak-end rule have an effect on the notion and recall of the expertise?

“The height-end rule is a psychological heuristic that adjustments the way in which we recall previous occasions. We keep in mind a reminiscence or choose an expertise primarily based on how they felt on the peak moments, in addition to how they felt on the finish. [2]”

4. Necessary Trainings

The fourth implication is necessary coaching. Analysis exhibits that forcing you to take a coaching undermines intrinsic motivation and raises negativity. On high of that, necessary trainings are sometimes generic, which suggests it’s even tougher to search out relevance and alignment. I had as soon as an ethics coaching situation the place I needed to determine if it’s moral/authorized to just accept a yacht journey all over the world by a vendor. Hmmm… let me bridge that river after I get there.

5. The Fifth Aspect

The ultimate important part doesn’t come from the paper, however relatively from my many years of expertise in office studying. You possibly can simply fall into the analysis-paralysis in terms of designing the proper studying experiences. And so, for these of you who’re in office studying, my steerage is that this: “the purpose is to not be proper, it’s to make a distinction.”

You don’t want to jot down a peer-reviewed analysis paper. The purpose is to not be proper, however relatively to make a distinction. That distinction that it’s a must to make occurs below particular situations, tradition, company biases, and so forth. You’re the just one who is aware of all the main points. So, do your analysis however do not anticipate step-by-step directions. Use evidence-based approaches to reduce trial and error. Begin the place you might be, measure the correct issues, and iterate from there.

When you inform the enterprise that you simply’re 80% certain of your answer at present however you possibly can most likely stand up to 99% in 6 months in the event you do extra analysis, I assure they may take the 80%. Why? Priorities you’re aligned with and issues you’re fixing for at present might change utterly in six months, so that you may find yourself with an ideal answer for an issue you don’t have (or don’t care about anymore). A fast win (making a distinction) at present can construct your belief and avenue credit score, to have the ability to affect stakeholders sooner or later.

Thus far, we have established the next about learner engagement:

  • There are three elements of engagement (bodily, cognitive, and emotional).
  • Specializing in solely certainly one of these elements will not be ample.
  • The depth of those elements might range in the course of the expertise.
  • Necessary trainings are sometimes doomed. 😊
  • About workplace-learning steerage—you don’t want to jot down a peer-reviewed analysis paper on this. The purpose is to not be proper however make a distinction. Begin the place you might be, measure the correct factor, and iterate from there.

How To Make The Studying Expertise Partaking?

Figuring out what builds engagement, the elemental query is find out how to design it. The remainder of the article (together with the third article within the sequence, which is able to comply with shortly) will undergo among the frequent approaches. Nonetheless, earlier than you strive any of those options, be sure you do have to design a studying expertise! If the issue will not be solvable by formal studying, all of those approaches are ineffective. Making any course partaking when the course does not make a distinction is a waste of time. And time, as you will note, is likely one of the high studying obstacles cited.

Know-how Is By no means The Reply

Know-how distributors typically see the issue in… shock! Know-how: “if solely there was a function…”

The truth is, 67 p.c of organizations say that consumer engagement is the highest barrier to adopting technology-enabled coaching. One cause for this could possibly be the shortage of compelling performance. Solely 39 p.c of LMS customers in a latest survey gave their system’s function set a excessive ranking. [3]

Based on Charles Coy, senior director of Analyst and Neighborhood Relations at Cornerstone OnDemand:

The concept of ranking studying programs in the identical means that you’d fee a guide on Amazon has two advantages. One, the nice or well-liked programs bubble to the highest. Two, it encourages folks to return in after they’ve accomplished one thing they thought was helpful to let their colleagues learn about it. They will earn a “top-reviewer” standing.

The 12 months was 2014. Within the final eight years loads has modified. Anecdotally, I preserve listening to folks complaining about their LMS and L&D transitioning from one platform to a different. But it surely’s not concerning the lack of options that individuals complain! There are many options, with a sea of content material you possibly can drown in. Consumer engagement will not be an issue as a result of the LMS will not be doing what it was designed for nicely. It’s designed for “managing” studying programs. For admins, there are many options to handle course content material. However finish customers are completely different. Their downside doesn’t begin with the shortage of options. Their downside begins with the tip: measuring the fallacious issues.

You should measure the correct issues. Past measuring the variety of options provided by a system, check out the standard, practicality, and worth for finish customers. Sadly, in lots of organizations, the individuals who determine on what methods to purchase should not those who’re utilizing them. And as we all know, coaching is usually the device used to compensate for unhealthy UX design, mismatches between the appliance and the issue, or damaged processes. The worth of L&D is in not within the seen content material of programs. It’s within the invisible change that occurs in folks’s brains, that results in the appliance of information on the job and its implication on efficiency.

“Lack Of Time” To Be taught

“Lack of time” for studying emerged as one of many high obstacles in a number of surveys throughout a number of shoppers I’ve labored with within the final 5 years. The dearth of time (or perceived lack of time) additionally resonated with different L&D leaders throughout the trade throughout our EdTech board assembly just lately. (Notice that “lack of time”doesn’t imply folks do not be taught. It means they now deprioritize the time-consuming effort of looking for a proper course which will or might not clear up their downside.) The response by stakeholders is usually a requirement for shorter programs. I am not satisfied that is the foundation of the issue. Once more, if we measure the worth of our work by the length of programs, we’re specializing in the fallacious metrics. A course must be so long as it must be: generally 5 minutes, generally quarter-hour, generally 0 minutes.

Microlearning Is For The Rescue

Fast googling reveals that one of many high contenders to extend studying engagement continues to be microlearning. If the shortage of time is a problem and a cause for disengagement, then shorter studying occasions have to be the reply. Microlearning has been the frontrunner for years within the trade, for addressing this downside. A shorter, extra digestible, “snackable” studying design sounds precisely what the busy office wants. Is microlearning what L&D professionals desire? Based on an engagement-strategy tip weblog, sure: “94% of L&D professionals desire microlearning vs. conventional [4].”

Remember! Any time you learn “something shiny vs. conventional,” simply be skeptical. Like Edward Tufte says, strategy the novel findings with an open thoughts however not with an empty head. So, sure! We’re onto one thing right here. Let’s ensure that we are able to additionally cite the supply: the weblog refers to www.softwareadvice.com. Sadly, this isn’t an article or publication however a website. I searched excessive and low however couldn’t find the supply graphics.

Plan B: googling the textual content itself results in some articles referencing analysis by Michael Boyette in 2012. That is a very good signal! We’re again in enterprise once more! After extra searches and hyperlinks, I lastly land on the precise Boyette research from 2012.

Skepticism Pays Off

Properly, this isn’t precisely analysis. It’s a ballot finished by Michael Boyette (Speedy Studying Institute) at an ATD (formally often known as ASTD) convention. Michael’s precise ballot assertion was barely completely different: “94% mentioned that e-learners desire brief kind modules (10 minutes or much less) for soft-skills coaching.”

This assertion then adjustments the unique thought: it’s not that 94% of L&D professionals desire microlearning however relatively that 94% of L&D professionals collaborating in a ballot mentioned eLearners desire it, particularly for soft-skills coaching. On the finish of the article they embrace the limitation of the examine: “With a pattern dimension of 43, RLI considers these early outcomes directional and never definitive, and plans to survey extra studying professionals to validate the findings.”

Pattern Dimension Issues!

So, let me recap: 94% of 43 folks is 40.42. I assume not everybody responded, perhaps? So, let’s assume the most effective situation: 40 folks. The unique assertion, out of context, that 94% of L&D professionals desire microlearning, ought to be interpreted as: “Among the many 43 folks on the ASTD convention who responded to the ballot, 40 believed that learners desire microlearning for soft-skills coaching.”

To Michael Boyette’s credit score, the limitation of the survey is talked about there. Everybody who cited this ballot ignored it. Now, think about if somebody simply grabs this 94% statistic and builds an engagement technique round it! Who’s liable for checking citations and sources? Readers? Editors? Authors?

Be Skeptical

I perceive a lot of you don’t have the time (and infrequently the abilities, or the entry to analysis papers) to trace down each single infographic you discover on-line. However be skeptical sufficient to rapidly examine the cited useful resource. You’ll discover pink flags comparable to citing their very own sources, citing a unique article, or citing nothing generally. Use important pondering: if an organization sells X widget and the quotation is about how the world wants X, double-check for affirmation bias. Observe individuals who decipher these and translate findings (and limitations) into L&D language. This is an inventory of individuals you may wish to comply with: Jane Bozarth, Clark Quinn, Will Thalheimer, Mirjam Neelen, Julie Dirksen, Karl Kapp, Donald Clark, Nick Shackleton-Jones.

And another tip: do not simply comply with folks you agree with. Each time somebody disagrees with me I be taught one thing. In at present’s world, the flexibility to respectfully disagree has change into the exception. Even with the folks I discussed above, I do not all the time agree 100%. Finally, it’s my challenge, my group, and my circumstances that decide one of the best ways ahead. The choice and the accountability are mine. Nonetheless, that call have to be evidence-based and knowledgeable.

Within the third article of this sequence, we will look into the remainder of the approaches to handle learner engagement:

  • Microlearning
    It’s shorter, will they adore it?
  • Video
    They will pace it up?
  • TikTok
    Who doesn’t need a viral microvideo?
  • Animation
    The extra motion the higher?
  • Extremely interactive course
    Clicky-clicky-bang-bang as Cammy Bean (unintended Tutorial Designer) retains them lively?
  • Humor
    Let’s boost the script? Hahaha!
  • Who desires to be a millionerd? Weakest cyberlink? JeoparDISC?
    Recreation exhibits are all the time enjoyable! Are they?
  • Video games and gamification
    You’ve logged in! Congrats! 300 factors for being awake?
  • Mind-based studying (no matter that’s)
    With hocus-pocus about how neurons throw a dopamine get together each time you hear a Bloom motion verb. Received neuro?
  • Studying types
    90% of our learners are visible. Let’s present them extra footage?
  • Know-how
    Let’s dazzle them with AR/VR/XR/metaverse?
  • If all the things fails, give them cookies!


[1] Learner Engagement and Instructional Outcomes


[3] Top LMS Features To Drive Employee Engagement

This text is the second of a three-part sequence exploring questions associated to studying, engagement, and methods to extend learner engagement. You possibly can learn the primary article of the sequence right here; the third might be revealed shortly.


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