Create an interactive and engaging learning environment

If you have taken an online course in the last few years, you would join the overwhelming majority who would say that the course made them feel alone or silo’d. It no longer has to be that way.

The best method to change the numbing effect of online courses is to make them more interactive and engaging. Provide tools like live chat, shoutboxes, forums/blogs, profiles, access to social media and more to help keep learners connected. Create an online learning environment people want to participate with and connect to others they may not have much interaction with if their cubicle is on the other side of the building.

To build a better system, first we have to focus in on who will be participating. I am only going to focus on the up-and-coming Millennials (defined as being 16 – 34 years old) because these are the employees of the future. And, they are getting a glimpse of that future today in their academic education that will translate into their corporate training expectations.

So, let’s get to know Millennials, the future leaders of the world,  a little better.

Did you know that:

  • US Millennials are the most educated generation ever
    – they have the college debt to prove it
  • 15.8M are unemployed – this is about 1/3 of the entire group
  • They excel at online learning opportunities

In the infographic below, there is more great information about how Millennials are viewing the workplace of tomorrow:

Millennials Interact

Here are some of the key points that I found interesting from the infographic.

  • Desire to collaborate together on projects
  • Looking for direct feedback and increasing responsibilities
  • 2/3 said professional development is important to them
  • 92% feel education overall is critical
  • Comfortable with new technology (Surprise. Surprise.)
  • Over 1-out-of-5 chose training as the MOST important benefit an employer can offer

All of these point lead to one conclusion, Millennials will be more receptive to the benefits of online learning programs when it comes to their employer. many will look at such thins as an important factor when considering employment.

To create this interactive, eLearning environment for all employees (not just Millennials), the best approach is to review learning management system options. Some come with integrated social learning tools to really build upon that idea of interaction and collaboration.

To get a learning management program up and running, it is probably easier than you think. Many are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings that will not require additional IT hardware and personnel.  The platform is delivered from the cloud, which is maintained by the software provider so all of your users can access it from any device anywhere in the world. See? That makes it pretty easy.

As for cost, there are a lot of different options that would have to be based off an individual organization’s unique needs. There are some learning management systems that charge per user and some that have a flat fee. It all depends on what works for you.

If you are starting the learning management software search, remember the point of all of this: interactive and engaging system are key to adoption.  It can make the difference in the employees you attract and retain, especially from the Millennial generation.

If you build it, they will come.