When you start a learning journey (online or blended), you expect to be drawn into an experience that keeps you on track and tells a story. This is the moment that is going to define you as a learner and even better, a “happy learner”. Your brain’s “seeking system” will start to activate its sense of motivation and action. This system is the brain engine for creativity, but it also boosts the process by creating our sense of achievement resulting from the learning journey.
If you as a learner in a programme, class or training feel motivated, then you are also going to create a sense of purpose around the learning activity. This will drive you to connect and start to build a system of engagement to achieve an educational goal that will have a long-term impact. As a result, lifelong learning brings a feeling of completion and well-being.
And that is what you have to achieve as a trainer, programme manager, or learning experience supplier if you want to deliver an unforgettable experience in people’s lives. As I mentioned before, ensuring the experience has an added value in the learner’s mind is key to keeping their commitment and to drawing their full attention to the content that you have provided.
In other words, anything that doesn’t capture our attention, does not exist.
But what exactly is engagement?
Definition of engagement
- 1a: an arrangement to meet or be present at a specified time and place
- 1b: a job or period of employment, especially as a performer
- 2: something that engages: PLEDGE
- 3a: the act of engaging: the state of being engaged3b: emotional involvement or commitment
- 3b: emotional involvement or commitment
By definition, engagement must be about emotional involvement through the state of being engaged, a pledge or a commitment to something that leads us to achieve a set goal. In this case a learning achievement goal.
The state of being engaged makes an agreement possible between the parties involved to resolve an optimal individual or collective call to action, which usually requires putting into practice the skills learned.
Engagement here also means some form of connection between the learner and the task, or an attentiveness facilitated by the professor (trainer) or the environment (learning management system or classroom). Based on this definition of engagement, what do we set out to achieve?
Key elements to boosting engagement
These are, in my experience, the ingredients to creating perfect engagement with your content during the learning journey. You can apply this as a standard protocol for all teaching methodologies, whether through face-to-face, blended or digital learning. Perfect engagement can be achieved via effective communication, explaining the content simply and with a straightforward delivery. In short:
Communication + Good Content + Delivery + Motivation + User Experience = Engagement.
- Making connections, being able to communicate clearly to create a sense of commitment.
- Establishing a common ground to acquire codes of conduct that contribute to a better understanding of the content and the delivery.
- Creating a sense of belonging and making people feel empowered, motivated, inspired, engaged, energised, and proud.
- Fostering storytelling through your content, because people engage with stories! Throughout the whole learning journey, stories enhance learners´ engagement and encourage behavioural factors such as attention and curiosity, which explore, stretch the delivery and go beyond expectations.
- Having the perfect conditions to enable creativity is very important as well as having professors or trainers that empower learners to be creative. This means allowing for mistakes to happen and encouraging a sense of belonging based on trust.
- To inspire our learners, we, as instructors, also need to be inspired and to build an environment of trust to allow them to express new ideas and put into practice the content or learning experience.
In these times in which we are immersed in digital learning environments, creating a memorable experience, motivation and engagement are crucial to setting a framework and maintaining a connection with learners. Whether you are 100% online, in-person or in a blended learning environment, this formula remains the same.
Initiating an understanding through effective communication, the content design, encouragement from the professor or trainer, the delivery, and the user experience, is essential to promoting sustained engagement, contributing to fruitful lifelong learning, self-motivation, and psychological well-being.
Feature photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash.