5 Ways to Humanize Virtual Learning
As we all know by now, eLearning is an effective means for delivering training and knowledge on demand to the modern remote workforce. The increasing challenge for L&D leaders is keeping the learners engaged amidst screen overload, distractions in the home environment, or simple waning interest and motivation. The problem can arise from too much reliance on digital solutions that lack any sort of human interaction.
As organizations move to embrace the benefits of virtual learning, how can they mitigate unintended consequences like increased feelings of isolation and detachment? Fortunately, there are a few creative ways to humanize digital training and keep learners engaged. The following are the top five techniques to humanize your virtual learning.
Design with empathy
Empathy is an important component of Human-Centered Design. Having a deep understanding of your target audience and their challenges provides designers with the insight to create engaging learning. Utilizing empathy as the first step in Design Thinking enables designers to incorporate learners’ needs in a unique way by placing them in the learners’ shoes. Embracing how learners are thinking and feeling will produce better insights for designing virtual learning experiences that incorporate the human factor.
Tell a story
In virtual instructor-led training (ViLT), it is always a good idea to begin the session with a personal experience or a specific scenario. Or when designing a microlearning module, incorporate videos with a real-world connection as a catalyst to capture the learners’ attention. Giving examples can act as a hook, helping learners relate to abstract information and simplifying complicated analytical material for better retention. Good storytelling is about making a connection and keeping the learner engaged.
Practice two-way communication
Look for opportunities to provide communication and build a rapport with your learners. Give learners adequate time to assimilate information by designing sessions that include short virtual pauses in between topics. This will provide learners time to assimilate new information. Adding a virtual mentor or providing access to chat functionality will also provide deeper engagement in eLearning courses for the learners to ask questions. In virtual instructor-led training, the facilitator needs to go the extra mile to break through the passive online experience to make the sessions collaborative and prompt learners out of their comfort zone to participate actively.
Build a community
Learning is rewarding when learners feel a sense of belonging and common interest. As part of your learning design, introduce online platforms such as discussion forums, bulletin boards, and brainstorming sessions, to encourage the exchange of information by trainers, learners, and experts. Learners can discuss topics and share information with other participants and inspire each other. Plan event calendars where learners have regular updates, meetings, and advice from industry experts and influencers. Learners not only exchange information but can also network among their peers, engaging in social learning.
Facilitate peer review
Learners tend to appreciate innovative approaches to assessments, assignments and feedback. Apart from the usual end-of-module assessments, build interactivities that would promote collaborative interaction with other learners. A peer-reviewed assignment could be an interesting way for learners to get a perspective from their colleagues and offer the chance to review the work of others. This brings a sense of responsibility and ownership in learners that could make a real impact.
Online learning is engaging, interactive, and interesting as long as the human factor is included in the learner design experience. By incorporating these top 5 techniques, organizations will benefit from these human-centric approaches bridging the gap between engagement and virtual learning.
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