Online Training and e-Coaching Tips

3 Tactics to Increase Motivation in Trainees

March 2, 2015 10:05 by
Melting ice on a branch

Photo credit: photophilde, published under CC

We’ll shortly discuss 3 tactics to increase motivation in trainees. But first, let’s take a look at Dieter’s predicament.

Dieter is a product manager in a multinational company. He is responsible for keeping employees up to date on the latest products the company has to offer. Each time a new product is released, he sends out information to sales, operations, and customer service.

Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many employees who greedily absorb all this new information. Some of them are simply too busy at the moment. But others don’t seem to care at all. So how does Dieter distinguish between the two groups? In other words: how does he measure motivation?

Sure, he could interview thousands of employees. If he had the time and resources available. With that option out of the door, what’s Dieter to do?

Dieter is actually looking for a proxy-variable for measuring learner motivation. Because measuring it directly would be too time consuming (and very hard anyway). Here are two ways of indirectly measuring motivation:

Dewy branch

Photo credit: liz west, published under CC

‘In a face-to-face environment [that is, in class and not online], try a few sessions that, by design, end early; allow the learners to stay and work on what was covered, share info with others, or mingle with staff. in other words, are the learners excited/interested enough to forego the “free” time and stay to learn more even if in a casual setting.” (Here, we assume that learners who stay are motivated, while others are not.)’ – A tip from Neil, in a LinkedIn discussion.

Another way is to create a number of facultative (i.e. optional, non-obligatory) courses in a wide variety of topics. For employees who never ever sign up for these trainings we can assume they are not motivated to learn.

Much the same can be done by making the educational content available online through multiple channels: videos, text, podcasts (i.e. interviews), pop quizzes. Send out emails (or sms text messages) whenever you add new material. Liberally disseminating this information (at least inside the company) is a good idea anyway, but it also allows you to track who’s interested in learning more.

As a minor detail: the only requirement is that people are logged in (e.g. on the corporate website), in order to track them. Here, again, if somebody never pays a visit to these sources (the aforementioned videos, texts, podcasts), you can assume they’re not motivated.

Drops on Branch

Photo credit: Alden Chadwick, published under CC

Of course, this system can be ‘gamed’. If it becomes well known within the company that this is the way you measure motivation, it can be easily faked by simply visiting the corporate learning site every once in a while. On the other hand, if people complete your pop quiz only to ‘game’ the system, they’ll still actually learn something if you provide feedback after each quiz item!

Now that we know how to measure motivation, how do we actually increase motivation? Here are 3 tactics:

  • Ask employees what they want to master. Tell them “I need your help in figuring out what the training should contain.”
  • Measure their progress and report it back to them, both in terms of what they should do and compared to the rest of the group.
  • “Set your training up so there are intermediate goals that have to be reached before the achievement of the end goal with rewards at each level to make it competitive. The rewards themselves should relate back to reinforcing the training received to that point, but don’t have to be of great value, just fun. The competition itself, if presented correctly, will pretty much make identifying the levels of motivation for each student easy to assess.” – Brent, in a Linkedin discussion.

If you’re in the same spot as Dieter, let me know in the comments section if these tactics helped you out!

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