The Secret to Increasing Learner Engagement

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Understanding learner behaviour has seemed a bit of a mystery. Hundreds of blog posts talk about engagement and provide simplistic suggestions such as “If you’re going to train millennials you need video!” as if video is the magic bullet.

Spoiler Alert: it isn’t. 

If you’re looking for media like videos or images to solve engagement, you’ve already lost the game.

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The Cognitive Science Behind OttoLearn - OttoLearn Adaptive MicrolearningThe Cognitive Science Behind OttoLearn - OttoLearn Microlearning

Hi Josh,

About a week before I began getting my Ottolearn Mastery Moments, I had a popup window from Adobe appear on my screen as I was working on another project, prompting me to update my version of Flash. We do use Flash, so like an idiot, I clicked on the popup and asked it to start the update—and only then noticed that the url was not an adobe address. Of course, I closed the popup window using the X in the upper corner, which didn’t solve anything. Our IT guys did the best they could for me, but my computer is still compromised, and is being replaced.

Fast forward to Ottolearn and your Online Security for Employees course. After completing several mastery moments, I have now learned what to do with popups like that. This morning, as I restarted my computer again, that same Adobe popup appeared and this time I was ready! I opened task manager and killed that little $%^&^ dead in its tracks.

I know the point of letting us try out OttoLearn as participants was for us to experience the power of this platform from the learner’s point of view. I can tell you that I personally am very grateful for the training you provided to me, and the fact that I was able to let others in my company know how to kill off those nasty virus-carrying popups. Yes, it works. Yes, it’s fun! And yes, I have a true feeling of accomplishment.

I can’t wait for the point at which we can talk more about developing courses for our clients.

Thank you!

Option

Pros

Cons

Seats

  • Super easy to understand
  • Very predictable cost, if you have a specific number of users (eg: employees)
  • Doesn’t differentiate between users that have different volumes.
  • Have to purchase seats for your maximum number of users.‍

Active Users
(Typically the number of users that log in during a month)

  • You don’t need a license for every specific user, you can often only license half of your users (since perhaps only half ever log in during a month)
  • Typically there is a large cost for going over your licensed number of users, which can be incredibly expensive (eg: 5-10x more than your licensed cost)
  • You often have to “play games” as an administrator, not wanting to do a mass course enrollment if you have only have your users licensed in a month

Experience

Exp.

High

New accounting rules

Workplace violence & harassment prevention

Low

Framing a basement

Changing a tire

High

Low

Perceived Relevance

For workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention, you have High Experience & Low Relevance.

  • ‍Why? You’ve worked in an office setting for years, so you’ve been through a number of workplace compliance courses.  You have a lot of experience in this area, and you really aren’t excited about it.  
  • What is going to motivate you?  Not much.  It won’t matter if there is a slick expensive video, you’re going to click through the material to get the quiz as quickly as possible, so make the material as short as possible or provide a pre-assessment to skip past the content.

For new Accounting Rules you have High Experience & High Relevance.

  • Why? This is directly related to your job, and builds on your existing knowledge.  You’re going to want to absorb the information efficiently, since you process related information every day.
  • What is going to motivate you?  Efficiently written information.  Just the facts, in as little a time as possible.  Video takes too much time, text is perfect.

For changing  a Tire, you have Low Experience & Low Relevance.  

  • Why? You don’t own a car or drive. You don’t feel that you need to know this, and you also know you can find the information on demand, if and when you actually need it.  
  • What is going to motivate you? Very little, this is the most difficult category. For learners in this category, it’s best to try to engage them through story telling techniques to create a sense of relevance. This could be through text and/or video.

For framing a Basement you have Low Experience & High Relevance.

  • Why?  You don’t know much about it, but you’re highly motivated to learn!  
  • What is going to motivate your? You’ll pretty much consume any form of training, but you’re most likely to seek out rich media experiences, to understand the topic from multiple angles. This is the only category for which video is a perfect fit.

Text as Training

Let’s start with plain old, boring text. Learners engage with text far more that any media.

But wait - “Text isn’t engaging! Learner’s don’t like reading!”

Seriously? Which learners? You’re reading this right now! Amazon sells quite a few books each year!

You and everyone else are lifelong learners. You read books (for the most part sans pictures), you read articles online - you read all the time, and often there is little media (well, except for all the ads surrounding the articles).

Psst! Some of the most engaging training you can ever develop is just text, written in the form of a story. Seriously.

The Secret to Increasing Learner Engagement - OttoLearn Adaptive Learning
No items found.

Option

Pros

Cons

User-based
(Seats)

  • Cost predictability. Each seat costs you $x/month
  • Typically more expensive than a usage-based license

Usage-based

  • Typically less expensive than a seats license
  • Cost variability tempered by pre-purchasing usage credits that never expire and consume them over time

Seats

Pros

  • Super easy to understand
  • Very predictable cost, if you have a specific number of users (eg: employees)

Cons

  • Doesn’t differentiate between users that have different volumes.
  • Have to purchase seats for your maximum number of users.

Active Users
(Typically the number of users that log in during a month)

Pros

  • You don’t need a license for every specific user, you can often only license half of your users (since perhaps only half ever log in during a month)

Cons

  • Typically there is a large cost for going over your licensed number of users, which can be incredibly expensive (eg: 5-10x more than your licensed cost)
  • You often have to “play games” as an administrator, not wanting to do a mass course enrollment if you have only have your users licensed in a month
No items found.

Engagement Factors

Experience

Exp.

High

  • Best possible quadrant for engagement 
  • Will overcome learning obstacles
  • Will find a way to learn, even if materials are poor  
  • Won’t need nudging or incentives
  • Text is great
  • Can easily learn something
  • May need to work up the energy to engage in low quality materials  
  • May procrastinate, so incentives can help motivate.
  • Text is great

Low

  • Wants to learn
  • Has little experience so can benefit from more instructional quality
  • Greatest benefit of video and other rich media
  • Worst possible quadrant  
  • May not have experience in the topic
  • May not really care about it
  • Will require a lot of motivation to see engagement
  • Video can help

High

Low

Perceived Relevance

So, if media doesn’t drive engagement, what does?

Our answer? Relevance to the learner. WIIFM is a powerful acronym used in marketing that asks “What’s In It for Me?" If I’m going to be successful in getting someone to buy something from me, I need to articulate why they should. They need to understand “what’s in it for them.”

We need to  approach training in the same way.  We need to market our training to the learners.  To do that effectively, we need to first understand our market (learners), and what motivates them: relevance.

To achieve relevance, we need to craft training experiences that deliver highly personalized, targeted knowledge that takes into account a learner’s prior knowledge and job function.

However, in training relevance isn’t quite enough, we also need to leverage a learner’s desire to achieve and demonstrate mastery.

Done successfully, the learner’s intrinsic motivation to achieve and demonstrate mastery to themselves will kick in, and the learner will be highly engaged, driving themselves to achieve mastery.

Let that sink in - imagine, your learners actually self-engaging and driving themselves to achieve mastery. It’s more than a fantasy, it’s reality.

User-based (Seats)

Pros

  • Cost predictability. Each seat costs you $x/month

Cons

  • Typically more expensive than a usage-based license

Usage-based

Pros

  • Typically less expensive than a seats license

Cons

  • Cost variability tempered by pre-purchasing usage credits that never expire and consume them over time
Training Engagement, Retention, and Microlearning - OttoLearn MicrolearningNeovation Learning Solutions Team - OttoLearn Microlearning is a product of Neovation Learning Solutions

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