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7 Tips To Engage Online Learners BEFORE Your eLearning Course Commences

March 10, 2017 | By Asha Pandey


7 Tips to Engage Online Learners

Is your eLearning course launch quickly approaching? Why wait until the orientation, when you can start building the excitement today. In this article, I’ll share 7 tips to engage online learners before your eLearning course commences.

How To Engage Online Learners BEFORE Your eLearning Course Commences

You may not know your online learners yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t interact with them. There are a variety of ways to engage and motivate your online learners before the big launch. Getting them excited about the eLearning experience now may bring future benefits, such as increased participation and fostering a personal connection. Here are 7 of the best tips to engage your online learners long before the eLearning course begins.

1. Highlight The Benefits Of Active Participation

Online learners are going to invest their time, effort, and possibly even their money into your eLearning course. As such, they want to know what’s in it for them. Before they sign up, all of your online learners are probably going to ask one very important question: “Is it really worth it?” You need to sell them the benefits in advance and let them know what to expect. Be clear about how the eLearning course will improve their lives, help them solve a problem, or achieve their objectives. In addition, you should specify that active participation is essential if they want to get the most from the eLearning experience. This will help you sort the online learners who are truly interested from those who are likely to drop-off.

2. Discover Their Sources Of Motivation

Everyone has something that drives and motivates them. Certain online learners are looking for tangible rewards, even if it’s a certificate of achievement. Others are more intrinsically motivated and believe that the eLearning course can unlock their potential. Conduct surveys, focus groups, and online discussions to get to the root of their motivation. You can then use these key factors to create an effective game plan. For example, develop a gamification strategy that rewards those who engage early on. Online learners can earn points for completing their enrollment forms or taking an online poll.

3. Get Online Learners Involved In The Development Process

Online learners like to know that their voices are being heard and their ideas matter. Which is why you should reach out to your audience and gather feedback from day one. Many people send out surveys and questionnaires after the eLearning course to make future improvements, but you can get online learners involved now in order to improve it. Asking for their input also increases engagement and gives online learners a sense of ownership. They can be proud of the fact that their thoughts and opinions influenced your eLearning course design.

4. Unveil Your Incentive Program In Advance

Most eLearning professionals wait until the day of launch to reveal their reward program. However, it’s best to lay all your cards on the table and give them the details in advance. This gives them plenty of time to get excited about competing with their peers and earning special incentives. It also allows you to clarify any ambiguities beforehand. For example, some online learners may be unclear about how to earn badges or what it takes to rank up on the leaderboard. You have the opportunity to address these questions in your next webinar and fine tune reward guidelines.

5. Keep Online Learners In The Loop

In addition to getting their input, you should also give online learners frequent updates about your progress. Create an email newsletter that informs them about upcoming eLearning events or invite them to a pre-launch workshop. The key is stay fresh in their minds so that they show up on the first day. Keeping online learners in the loop also builds the buzz and increases your enrollment rates. Online learners can share your social media updates with their network, which allows you to reach a broader audience. Additionally, send notifications as soon as possible when anything changes, especially if it impacts their eLearning experience. For instance, you need to push back the launch date because of an unexpected glitch, or you’ve decided to add a new section that further enhances the benefits.

6. Release Pre-Course Sneak Peeks

People enjoy exclusive updates and sneak peeks. So, include an opt-in one of your website and social media pages where online learners can sign up for your mailing list. As an added incentive, they’ll receive previews of your eLearning course, such as exclusive access to serious games and simulations. Online learners will also be able to test out the platform and provide their feedback. However, you shouldn’t reveal too much too soon, as you still want to retain some of the mystery. Just give them little snippets of what’s to come so that they can spread the word to their friends and colleagues.

7. Be Fully Transparent About Goals And Expectations

Some of your online learners may be hesitant to sign up because they don’t want any surprises. Maybe they’ve taken eLearning courses before and have been disappointed by the results. Or they are new to the world of eLearning and aren’t sure what to expect. This is why it’s crucial to have full transparency about the eLearning course goals and online learner expectations. In other words, what do they need to do in order to benefit from your eLearning course? Clearly outline every step of the process to alleviate their worries and prepare them ahead of time. For example, share the outline for the eLearning course that highlights every lesson, module, and objective. Specify how long they have to complete each section and how much time they need to invest. Are they required to participate in online discussions and social media groups? How much of the study is self-paced?

These 7 tips can help you engage your online learners before they log in for the first time. The secret to success is reaching out on a regular basis and keeping your eLearning course fresh in their minds. Every day leading up to the eLearning course launch is an opportunity to get them excited about your eLearning course.

Is your eLearning course ready to roll out? Before you share it with the masses, read the article The Ultimate eLearning Course Design Checklist to discover a checklist that every eLearning professional should have on hand to get your eLearning courses ready for launch.

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