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How to keep trainees engaged with your LMS

30th Apr 2013
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For our final 'how-to...' piece of the month, Jordan Barrish focuses on making the most of your learning management system.

Spending money on a learning management system and then not having it meet your goals is like buying a car and letting it sit in your driveway; it’s a complete waste of money. While every organisation has multiple goals, we can all agree that a goal of any training program is for the learners to be engaged and connected with the material so as to get the most value out of your learning platform.

Thanks to developing mobile technologies and social media, today's learners are constantly being bombarded with new information. So, in a world of 24/7 news, how do you make sure they’re engaged with your training and development platform? You don't want someone turning on your training, only to open another screen and let it run in the background to show they’ve 'watched' it.

Consider these five tactics to ensure that your learners are tuned in to your training:

Pop-up Q&A

Creating interactive pop-up questions for each screen is a great way to make sure the training content you're presenting isn’t getting lost in the shuffle (or blatantly ignored). Check in with trainees to see whether they listened to that last clip by asking discussion questions or posting a pop-quiz throughout the presentation. This will not only reinforce what you're teaching, but hopefully it'll help the material stick with your learners.

Appealing design

While the majority of us are not graphic designers, it's important to choose an LMS that either has well-designed course authoring templates OR will let you customise your learning materials to include pictures, graphs, and videos. In today’s high-tech world, stimulating multimedia content is going to resonate best with trainees. You don’t have to get drastic with the design, but design also applies to the interface and how easy it is for your learners to get to their training destination.

Discussion boards

Use chat and discussion boards to allow trainees to connect with each other and learn from one another's expertise. Especially if you're training a large organisation, give the learners a place to ask questions and talk with their peers or instructors to make sure everybody’s up-to-speed.

Good content

This may be a no-brainer, but your training content needs to be compelling. There are some incredible teachers in this world, and those teachers should be able to deliver training electronically so that it doesn’t diminish the learning experience compared with teaching in-person. Continue to use the same engaging content that you normally would in an in-person setting, but simply transfer it to an online format.

Change it up

If you normally post videos, try posting an interactive discussion instead. Or, if you typically post articles and reading assignments, switch it up by posting videos or slides. We’re creatures of habit, but too much repetition can make otherwise interesting content lose its luster. Change up how you deliver that content to really help the information stick with your learners.

While some of these tips might not apply to your specific training program, you can use these suggestions to get creative with your own techniques. There’s so much information you’re trying to get across to your trainees, so if you, as the trainer, can make that information as interactive and memorable as possible, it will really pay off toward helping your organisation meet its training goals. In other words, don’t leave that car (your LMS) just sitting in the driveway - take it out for a spin every once in a while.

Jordan Barrish is a market analyst for Capterra. She researches and writes about trends in a variety of software verticals, with a particular focus on learning management software. Follow Jordan on Twitter - @CapterraLMS.

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