Using Carrots in Your ELearning

carrot-stick-picMany people in corporate settings are required to take elearning training on a variety of topics. Elearning also plays a vital part in the education arena, providing teachers an additional tool for delivery learning to their students.

No matter what industry, most elearning courses are quite similar in the way that they are administered.

For the most part, courses are required to be taken, and often lack any form of incentive. It’s no wonder why the reaction to required elearning courses is one of annoyance.

I can recall being required to take countless elearning modules as part of employee on-boarding at a previous employer – a total of 14 hours!

It was a bit miserable.

Using Incentives, or “Carrots”

In thinking back on that 14-hour elearning marathon, I am not sure much could have been done to improve the experience. However, perhaps it could have been improved if there was some kind of incentive.

When possible, elearning can become more effective when there is a reward at the end (and it’s certainly a lot more enjoyable than doing it just to avoid punishment). It doesn’t have to be for a single course, but instead the incentive could be for a bundle of courses – or even a specific number of obtained learning hours.

In the educational space, the use of points and badges is a great way to create interactivity with the content. Letting students earn rewards for their “digital backpack” keeps them engaged and motivated.

Similar types of programs can be used in the corporate setting, but the rewards need to be a bit more tangible. For example, a point system can be used, but employees should be able to “cash in” after reaching a certain amount – perhaps for an extra vacation day.

Besides badges and points, certificates are also a great way to provide some incentive – especially if those certificates are accredited by a professional institution.

Not all training warrants incentives, but when the “carrot” can be used, it can increase the learning retention and user engagement with the content – which of course is the ultimate goal of any elearning course.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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