Learner Engagement And Motivation: A Journey


Elements Of Studying Engagement

That is simply how I consider engagement and motivation, however it might additionally make it easier to. Take into consideration engagement and motivation as knowledgeable journey. You’ve got a imaginative and prescient (you possibly can see the ends in entrance of your thoughts’s eyes). Motivation is the gasoline. Motivation can drive no matter automobile you select. You may consider this gasoline as intrinsic (the driving power is to really feel your accomplishment) and extrinsic (while you get to your vacation spot you may get promoted). You’ve got a full tank in the beginning.

However gasoline with no automobile is simply pleasure with out progress. Engagement is that automobile that strikes you thru this journey. Let’s say you decide a automotive as a automobile. A automotive with a full tank. You’re able to hit the highway. Driving round in circles can rapidly burn the gasoline whilst you’re getting nowhere. Doing pressing errands as a substitute of retaining on monitor may waste your gasoline. To drive a automotive, you’re going to want at the least three several types of engagement:

  1. Bodily/motion/habits
    That’s, turning the wheel, urgent the gasoline and brake, turning on the sign, and so forth.
  2. Cognitive or psychological
    That’s, making choices about how briskly you go, the place you go, when to take a relaxation, the right way to keep away from accidents, and so forth.
  3. Affective or emotional
    That’s, how you’re feeling concerning the journey, how excited you might be to see new locations, and the way happy you’re feeling concerning the progress.

All three parts collectively (habits, cognitive, and affective) contribute to what we regularly name merely (learner) engagement. The problem is to design an expertise whereas balancing these parts: what folks do, what psychological choices and actions they take, and the way emotionally concerned they get. A journey is a progress by each time and house. The depth of those three engagement components could fluctuate all through the journey.

What Does The Analysis On Learner Engagement Say?

My journey in house and time analogy is sweet, however is there analysis information backing it up? A current Studying Guild publication is an efficient begin as a result of it does deal with the connection between learner engagement and educational outcomes. I extremely suggest studying the entire paper “Learner Engagement and Tutorial Outcomes” [1]. Dr. Jane Bozarth, Director of Analysis on the Studying Guild, does an incredible job “translating” the analysis language and its findings by Charles Dye right into a sensible, extra comprehensible piece for these with eyes untrained within the language of academia: “Among the many findings significantly related to our readership had been isolation of three dimensions of learner engagement: affective, cognitive, and situational. [1]” Trowler (2010) summarizes the components of the educational engagement assemble as:

  • Behavioral
    Referring to college students’ actions. For instance, class attendance, submission of labor, contribution to class dialogue, or participation in school-related actions (e.g., extracurricular sports activities or faculty governance).
  • Emotional
    Referring to college students’ affective reactions in relation to their studying. For instance, an emotionally engaged pupil may report that they had been all for their course and that they loved studying.
  • Cognitive
    Referring to college students’ psychological funding of their studying. For instance, the will to transcend the necessities of the category and the adoption of metacognitive studying methods.

In line with Charles Dye, what’s lacking from these complete research is the educational surroundings as a crucial aspect: “The deal with studying surroundings as a component of learner engagement is of concern as a result of whereas grownup learners within the office are primarily the identical as these of 30 years in the past, studying environments aren’t [1].” The way in which we stay, store, entertain and get issues are dramatically totally different from the way in which it was a long time in the past. Out there expertise that can be utilized for delivering and facilitating studying within the office has additionally modified. I intentionally used the phrase “out there,” as a result of many people are nonetheless caught with the old school “content material supply and administration” method with out the mandatory personalization and adaptive expertise.

Is There A Correlation Between Learner Engagement And Studying End result?

“Learner efficiency and learner engagement had been discovered to be extremely positively correlated, r(326) = .96, p <.001. It have to be famous that there is no such thing as a declare of a causal relationship within the information, though that’s the final objective of this line of analysis [1].” As for the notion of adjusting the depth of those parts as you progress by the journey:

Furthermore, information persistently supported the concept learner engagement was not mounted all through a studying expertise, however fairly modified—usually fairly rapidly, each as a consequence of the learner and the surroundings many practitioners and organizations have centered on driving the learner to “have interaction” within the studying expertise to enhance outcomes, scale back attrition, and attain the organizational targets of the coaching program [1].

Warning! When The Journey Is Mandated…

“Members interviewed on this research famous a lot greater dissatisfaction with necessary coaching indirectly helpful or relevant to them as learners of their function, with one participant noting ‘most necessary company-wide coaching is a waste of time'” [1]. Different studies point out the identical outcomes:

Moreover, when staff really feel like they’re being managed, says Dobbin, organisational research present they have an inclination to react negatively. So, when range coaching is designated as necessary—which Dobbin’s analysis discovered was the case at 80% of firms within the US—staff can understand these periods as a lot much less palatable than in the event that they had been voluntary.

My Essential Takeaways From The Paper On Learner Engagement

Personally, I discovered 4 key takeaways after studying the publication:

1. Design For All Elements

First, nobody issue of learner engagement is adequate in and of itself to lead to an engaged learner. This has profound significance for each educational design and supply. There are myriad new studying environments; it’s crucial to partaking the learner that they be positioned in an efficient and supportive studying surroundings and obtain related and genuine educational content material [1].

I utterly agree with the primary a part of the assertion. It’s crucial to take into account that specializing in a single part out of the three isn’t adequate. For instance, throughout my interviews with new hires about their onboarding, 95% of them recalled this one course they preferred (gamified arcade), but solely 30% remembered what they realized there.

2. Notion Of The Learner And Alignment (Relevance) Depend

“The second implication of this mannequin is that the notion of the learner of each the coaching program and the alignment of intent between the learner and the educational program being delivered is crucial to learner engagement. [1]”

First, word this implication says “notion of the learner” and never actuality. Does this imply L&D must be expert in not solely studying design however psychology? Shock! Second, alignment is not going to occur till we transfer from a content material supply service to enablement that’s private and adaptive primarily based on present and desired abilities.

3. Engagement Adjustments

The third implication is that the depth and frequency of engagement by these parts change over time. This brings up the query: when and the right way to observe and measure engagement? Throughout the expertise itself? Proper on the finish? A day or two later? How does the peak-end rule have an effect on the notion and recall of the expertise?

“The height-end rule is a psychological heuristic that modifications the way in which we recall previous occasions. We bear in mind a reminiscence or decide an expertise primarily based on how they felt on the peak moments, in addition to how they felt on the finish. [2]”

4. Obligatory Trainings

The fourth implication is necessary coaching. Analysis reveals that forcing you to take a coaching undermines intrinsic motivation and raises negativity. On high of that, necessary trainings are sometimes generic, which suggests it’s even more durable to seek out relevance and alignment. I had as soon as an ethics coaching situation the place I needed to resolve if it’s moral/authorized to just accept a yacht journey around the globe by a vendor. Hmmm… let me bridge that river once I get there.

5. The Fifth Factor

The ultimate crucial part doesn’t come from the paper, however fairly from my a long time of expertise in office studying. You possibly can simply fall into the analysis-paralysis relating to designing the proper studying experiences. And so, for these of you who’re in office studying, my steerage is that this: “the objective is to not be proper, it’s to make a distinction.”

You don’t want to put in writing a peer-reviewed analysis paper. The objective is to not be proper, however fairly to make a distinction. That distinction that it’s a must to make occurs below particular circumstances, tradition, company biases, and so forth. You’re the just one who is aware of all the small print. So, do your analysis however do not count on step-by-step directions. Use evidence-based approaches to attenuate trial and error. Begin the place you might be, measure the appropriate issues, and iterate from there.

If you happen to inform the enterprise that you just’re 80% positive of your resolution right this moment however you possibly can in all probability stand up to 99% in 6 months in the event you do extra analysis, I assure they’ll take the 80%. Why? Priorities you’re aligned with and issues you’re fixing for right this moment could change utterly in six months, so that you may find yourself with an ideal resolution for an issue you don’t have (or don’t care about anymore). A fast win (making a distinction) right this moment can construct your belief and road credit score, to have the ability to affect stakeholders sooner or later.

To this point, we have established the next about learner engagement:

  • There are three parts of engagement (bodily, cognitive, and emotional).
  • Specializing in solely one among these parts isn’t adequate.
  • The depth of those parts could fluctuate through the expertise.
  • Obligatory trainings are sometimes doomed. 😊
  • About workplace-learning steerage—you don’t want to put in writing a peer-reviewed analysis paper on this. The objective is to not be proper however make a distinction. Begin the place you might be, measure the appropriate factor, and iterate from there.

How To Make The Studying Expertise Partaking?

Figuring out what builds engagement, the elemental query is the right way to design it. The remainder of the article (together with the third article within the sequence, which can observe shortly) will undergo a few of the frequent approaches. Nonetheless, earlier than you attempt any of those options, be sure you do must design a studying expertise! If the issue isn’t solvable by formal studying, all of those approaches are ineffective. Making any course partaking when the course would not make a distinction is a waste of time. And time, as you will note, is without doubt one of the high studying limitations cited.

Know-how Is By no means The Reply

Know-how distributors usually see the issue in… shock! Know-how: “if solely there was a characteristic…”

In truth, 67 p.c of organizations say that consumer engagement is the highest barrier to adopting technology-enabled coaching. One motive for this might be the shortage of compelling performance. Solely 39 p.c of LMS customers in a current survey gave their system’s characteristic set a excessive ranking. [3]

In line with Charles Coy, senior director of Analyst and Neighborhood Relations at Cornerstone OnDemand:

The concept of ranking studying programs in the identical method that you’d fee a e book on Amazon has two advantages. One, the nice or in style programs bubble to the highest. Two, it encourages folks to return in after they’ve accomplished one thing they thought was helpful to let their colleagues learn about it. They will earn a “top-reviewer” standing.

The 12 months was 2014. Within the final eight years so much has modified. Anecdotally, I preserve listening to folks complaining about their LMS and L&D transitioning from one platform to a different. Nevertheless it’s not concerning the lack of options that folks complain! There are many options, with a sea of content material you possibly can drown in. Consumer engagement isn’t an issue as a result of the LMS isn’t doing what it was designed for nicely. It’s designed for “managing” studying programs. For admins, there are many options to handle course content material. However finish customers are totally different. Their drawback doesn’t begin with the shortage of options. Their drawback begins with the tip: measuring the incorrect issues.

You could measure the appropriate issues. Past measuring the variety of options supplied by a system, check out the standard, practicality, and worth for finish customers. Sadly, in lots of organizations, the individuals who resolve on what programs to purchase aren’t those who’re utilizing them. And as we all know, coaching is commonly the device used to compensate for dangerous UX design, mismatches between the appliance and the issue, or damaged processes. The worth of L&D is in not within the seen content material of programs. It’s within the invisible change that occurs in folks’s brains, that results in the appliance of data on the job and its implication on efficiency.

“Lack Of Time” To Study

“Lack of time” for studying emerged as one of many high limitations in a number of surveys throughout a number of purchasers I’ve labored with within the final 5 years. The dearth of time (or perceived lack of time) additionally resonated with different L&D leaders throughout the business throughout our EdTech board assembly just lately. (Notice that “lack of time”doesn’t imply folks do not be taught. It means they now deprioritize the time-consuming effort of looking for a proper course that will or could not clear up their drawback.) The response by stakeholders is commonly a requirement for shorter programs. I am not satisfied that is the basis of the issue. Once more, if we measure the worth of our work by the period of programs, we’re specializing in the incorrect metrics. A course must be so long as it must be: generally 5 minutes, generally quarter-hour, generally 0 minutes.

Microlearning Is For The Rescue

Fast googling reveals that one of many high contenders to extend studying engagement remains to be microlearning. If the shortage of time is a problem and a motive for disengagement, then shorter studying occasions have to be the reply. Microlearning has been the frontrunner for years within the business, for addressing this drawback. A shorter, extra digestible, “snackable” studying design sounds precisely what the busy office wants. Is microlearning what L&D professionals favor? In line with an engagement-strategy tip weblog, sure: “94% of L&D professionals favor microlearning vs. conventional [4].”

Bear in mind! Any time you learn “something shiny vs. conventional,” simply be skeptical. Like Edward Tufte says, method the novel findings with an open thoughts however not with an empty head. So, sure! We’re onto one thing right here. Let’s be certain that we are able to additionally cite the supply: the weblog refers to www.softwareadvice.com. Sadly, this isn’t an article or publication however a website. I searched excessive and low however couldn’t find the supply graphics.

Plan B: googling the textual content itself results in some articles referencing analysis by Michael Boyette in 2012. That is signal! We’re again in enterprise once more! After extra searches and hyperlinks, I lastly land on the precise Boyette research from 2012.

Skepticism Pays Off

Effectively, this isn’t precisely analysis. It’s a ballot carried out by Michael Boyette (Speedy Studying Institute) at an ATD (formally generally known as ASTD) convention. Michael’s precise ballot assertion was barely totally different: “94% mentioned that e-learners favor quick kind modules (10 minutes or much less) for soft-skills coaching.”

This assertion then modifications the unique thought: it’s not that 94% of L&D professionals favor microlearning however fairly that 94% of L&D professionals taking part in a ballot mentioned eLearners favor it, particularly for soft-skills coaching. On the finish of the article they embody the limitation of the research: “With a pattern dimension of 43, RLI considers these early outcomes directional and never definitive, and plans to survey extra studying professionals to validate the findings.”

Pattern Dimension Issues!

So, let me recap: 94% of 43 folks is 40.42. I suppose not everybody responded, possibly? So, let’s assume the very best situation: 40 folks. The unique assertion, out of context, that 94% of L&D professionals favor microlearning, must be interpreted as: “Among the many 43 folks on the ASTD convention who responded to the ballot, 40 believed that learners favor microlearning for soft-skills coaching.”

To Michael Boyette’s credit score, the limitation of the survey is talked about there. Everybody who cited this ballot ignored it. Now, think about if somebody simply grabs this 94% statistic and builds an engagement technique round it! Who’s accountable for checking citations and sources? Readers? Editors? Authors?

Be Skeptical

I perceive lots of you don’t have the time (and infrequently the talents, or the entry to analysis papers) to trace down each single infographic you discover on-line. However be skeptical sufficient to rapidly test the cited useful resource. You’ll discover pink flags resembling citing their very own sources, citing a special article, or citing nothing generally. Use crucial pondering: if an organization sells X widget and the quotation is about how the world wants X, double-check for affirmation bias. Comply with individuals who decipher these and translate findings (and limitations) into L&D language. Here is a listing of individuals you may need to observe: Jane Bozarth, Clark Quinn, Will Thalheimer, Mirjam Neelen, Julie Dirksen, Karl Kapp, Donald Clark, Nick Shackleton-Jones.

And yet one more tip: do not simply observe folks you agree with. Each time somebody disagrees with me I be taught one thing. In right this moment’s world, the flexibility to respectfully disagree has turn out to be the exception. Even with the folks I discussed above, I do not at all times agree 100%. Finally, it’s my mission, my group, and my circumstances that decide one of the simplest ways ahead. The choice and the duty are mine. Nonetheless, that call have to be evidence-based and knowledgeable.

Within the third article of this sequence, we’ll look into the remainder of the approaches to handle learner engagement:

  • Microlearning
    It’s shorter, will they like it?
  • Video
    They will pace it up?
  • TikTok
    Who doesn’t desire a viral microvideo?
  • Animation
    The extra motion the higher?
  • Extremely interactive course
    Clicky-clicky-bang-bang as Cammy Bean (unintended Tutorial Designer) retains them energetic?
  • Humor
    Let’s boost the script? Hahaha!
  • Who desires to be a millionerd? Weakest cyberlink? JeoparDISC?
    Sport reveals are at all times enjoyable! Are they?
  • Video games and gamification
    You’ve logged in! Congrats! 300 factors for being awake?
  • Mind-based studying (no matter that’s)
    With hocus-pocus about how neurons throw a dopamine celebration each time you hear a Bloom motion verb. Acquired neuro?
  • Studying types
    90% of our learners are visible. Let’s present them extra footage?
  • Know-how
    Let’s dazzle them with AR/VR/XR/metaverse?
  • If all the pieces fails, give them cookies!


[1] Learner Engagement and Instructional Outcomes


[3] Top LMS Features To Drive Employee Engagement

This text is the second of a three-part sequence exploring questions associated to studying, engagement, and methods to extend learner engagement. You possibly can learn the primary article of the sequence here; the third will likely be revealed shortly.


Our names are Fareedah and Kamilah Amoo. We are seven and five year’s old sisters and live in Ontario, Canada, with our parents and little brother, Awad. We love writing stories, painting on canva, coding, reading books, and enjoying arts and crafts. Our goal is to motivate every child worldwide to read more books.

Related Posts



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Recent Stories