Lists of the best online learning programs show that prestigious universities worldwide embrace the online learning trend. Despite the broader adoption of electronic learning, teachers and professors admit that getting students interested can be challenging. The remote nature of eLearning partially impedes face-to-face contact with students, complicating engagement.
As a result, professors use various techniques and tools to keep students' attention and improve the quality of courses. Building an engaging mLearning training portal can help education providers attract new students, enhance engagement, and boost loyalty.
Why increasing engagement in eLearning matters
eLearning engagement refers to a student's willingness and desire to participate in an educational program, training session, or online course and achieve goals during the educational process.
Increased student engagement results in:
- high level of satisfaction and achievement
- material assimilation
- completion of the training
An engaged student learns harder and remembers more information. But how to track the engagement? There are various techniques to monitor students’ progress:
- account activity and login frequency
- completion reports
- student feedback
- participating in rating events
- number of new course submissions
- an increasing amount of user-generated content
- interaction between learners
According to Market Research, the global eLearning market is expected to reach $336.98bn by 2026. But the success of eLearning solutions depends largely on knowing the audience and creating a balance between business and students' needs. A thorough analysis of students' needs can help to get them interested, decrease the dropout rate, and achieve the desired outcome.
How to motivate students
An isolated eLearner can feel lonely and distant during the training. Isolation is associated with a lack of interaction with other students and the teacher. It leads to the feeling that they are not supported and can decrease engagement.
To solve the problem and better socialize students, it is worth conducting joint training of groups of students, for example, through webinars. Live training compensates for not being physically present in the classroom. For example, it might be worth using Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms where the training takes place.
A certificate or diploma is not just a confirmation of successful course completion but also an additional motivation to take the training program. A certificate proves that the recipient has demonstrated specific knowledge and skills at a predetermined level. Certification can be formal, like continuing education units (CEUs),or informal, issued by a particular organization.
For example, healthcare professionals need CEUs to prove their expertise and advance their careers. Students believe a certificate will impress current and future employers and provide more career opportunities. Certification at the end of the eLearning journey can motivate students to take all the required courses and get people more involved in gaining the necessary expertise. For example, Udemy and Coursera give electronic diplomas at the end of each course, confirming successful training completion.
Gamification is an effective way to boost students' engagement. It can turn the educational process into a quest. DIviding the entire educational course into manageable quests helps to control users' attention and gives a sense of victory with each completed block of exercises. For example, users receive points for completing homework, and the number of points is used to rank students.
Gamification encourages the users' emotional involvement and can be implemented in several ways:
Different storylines will increase student learning engagement and captivate users as they get to know it.
Levels that open up as students complete the tasks develop their interest in "What happens next".
Badges and medals are special virtual items or fixed images on a user's profile. They reward students for their efforts.
For example, at Cisco, gamification allowed employees at different levels to participate in team trials and earn three levels of social media certification.
In Duolingo, students earn their first Wildfire badge by using the app for three consecutive days. The highest 10th level rewards students who successfully use the app every day for a year.
Deloitte gamified its approach to training by offering badges and certificates to motivate top-level executives. The training course engagement and completion rate increased by more than 50%.
Visual and audio information
Visual tools such as videos, webinars, images, graphs, and charts help students absorb information that can be difficult to digest in the text format. For example, graphs and charts can be used to show statistics and display data, such as survey results, in an orderly way using a survey chart, or Sankey diagram.
Universal Design (UD) calls for digital content creators to make their products accessible to everyone. For example, captioning is necessary for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. However, subtitles could be beneficial to everyone. Even if people can hear the lecture, they can concentrate better when they read subtitles while listening.
Audio Description (AD) provides accessibility for people with blindness and vision impairments. AD involves a narrator describing the visual components of the video during pauses in the original audio.
Podcasts provide a learning experience anywhere and anytime, without sitting in front of a computer. Students can listen to them while commuting to work, shopping, or traveling. Podcasts can share case studies and real-world examples and become additional learning resources for more in-depth knowledge, for example, instead of regular PDFs.
For example, Chris van Wingerden and Brent Schlenker host the Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee podcast every Wednesday. The podcast has more than 150 episodes covering topics such as corporate learning success, storytelling, gamification, and microlearning.
Using Narrative Podcasts
Unlike regular podcasts, narrative podcasts weave together multiple recordings, interviews, or sounds. Narrative podcasts rely more on production effects, like music, and narrative techniques like the use of characters. Narrative podcasts can be fictional, based on an imaginary situation, and non-fictional, based on real-life examples. Either way, they allow students to be more engaged in learning by receiving practical examples.
For feedback to be more effective, students must clearly understand its purpose. And the task of the educator is to explain at the very beginning why assessment is needed and how it can help students. For example, the educator can ask students to give feedback on their work and try to incorporate their wishes.
One way to ask for feedback is through personal communication channels like email or Slack. Learners can use it to point out parts of the course that positively or negatively impacted their experience. That way, the educator can introduce quick solutions rather than long-term strategic improvements. Online forums and chats with group mates also enable students to leave direct feedback, report problems and share their opinions about the course.
Vice versa, when students receive positive feedback from instructors, or notifications of successful progress and achievements, it encourages them to continue learning.
The bottom line
Distance learning does not stand still, making education more accessible to millions. eLearning with modern technology teaches students how to function in the evolving professional world.
Increasing student engagement with eLearning requires a thoughtful approach. A strategically well-planned curriculum will reduce entry barriers, motivate students to learn, and strive for continuous improvement.
How can LiveWebinar help enhance eLearning engagement?
LiveWebinar can significantly enhance eLearning engagement by providing an interactive platform that promotes active learning. This tool allows teachers to keep their students actively engaged by facilitating real-time interaction through audio, visual and text-based communication, thus creating a much more dynamic online learning environment.
Features such as screen sharing, whiteboards, and polls foster collaboration and facilitate comprehensive understanding of the educational material.
Additionally, the ability to record and replay webinars offers flexibility for those who cannot attend live sessions, ensuring that no one is left behind. Therefore, LiveWebinar can act as a creative and manipulable online classroom, enhancing student involvement and motivation in eLearning. Download a free Ebook here.