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3 Ways to Build and Maintain an Army of Engaged Learners

Jennifer Reid
Dec 15 2020

Let’s be honest: if you’re an L&D manager and you’re reading this, you’re well aware that learning in the enterprise has an engagement problem. Anyone involved with enterprise level learning and development knows exactly how hard it is to build a culture of continuous learning at scale.

The fact is, it’s high time L&D re-assessed and introduced change in order to increase the value of learning across enterprise. Having an army of engaged learners and subject matter expert learning content developers that view learning as second nature and willingly engage in it daily doesn’t have to be an L&D manager’s pipe dream: organic, inherent, engaged learning is completely possible. 

We know, because we’ve recently completed our latest ebook - Solve the Learning Engagement Problem - and power bigger impact for business - which is dedicated entirely to this very subject. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing a few snapshot posts covering what you will learn from this excellent resource. This one is dedicated to all L&D professionals that want the inside scoop not only just on how to catalyse engagement, but also how to maintain that positive learning culture continuously. Read on to hear how it’s done.

1. Lead from the front

Regardless of whether you are at the beginning of your L&D rollout or whether you are looking to re-launch a more effective L&D strategy, you need the support of leadership and influencers across your organisation if you want to do this successfully. Think of leadership as the catalyst that builds an organic movement that will later on become second-nature to everyone across your organisation. 

At Fuse, we’ve got so many examples of great leadership and the power of advocacy in creating and maintaining engaged learning. Below is one example that illustrates the point very simply. 

Leading UK telecoms company Vodafone says that its purpose is to ‘connect for a better future,’ and the company took a very strategic view with implementing its re-launched L&D strategy to make sure its employees really felt the human connection. 

It was in the company’s retail stores where the power of advocacy and leadership really stood out. When Vodafone implemented the Fuse L&D platform, it pre-launched the platform to store and regional managers first so that they could begin to use it. 

The result? Firstly, they loved it (obviously.) Secondly, because they had used it, they were able to express the value they’d gotten from it, and this worked as an amazing catalyst to inspire teams to become engaged learners when Fuse was introduced to them. It’s one thing to try and engage because your manager has asked you to do so. Yet it’s entirely another to begin to engage because you trust your manager’s good experience with learning and development via a great platform.

2. Demonstrate the Value of Learning

Ultimately, you are never going to create a culture of continuous learning if you can’t prove one thing to people: value. People need to understand how learning may solve problems related to their role. Learning has to be relevant, and it has to make their day to day lives better. We’ve all been on work courses that have been unbearable because of how useless they are in helping with our immediate tasks and goals. 

Learners need to recognise value, and they need to do it quickly, or they will lose interest. And that value needs to be consistent over time - when a resource stops being valuable, people stop using it. Addressing gaps in value is one of the most important steps L&D departments can take in building and maintaining an army of engaged learners, and one of Fuse’s most interesting customer examples is Hilti, a leading technology provider to the global construction industry. 

Before launching Fuse, Hilti surveyed over 4000 employees to understand what they needed from learning. This invaluable data then enabled them to respond to their employees through their learning strategy and learning provision in order to provide the desired results. 

In launching Fuse, Hilti focused on providing its people with the resources they needed at the point they needed them, rather than equipping them for any eventuality. This best supported learners to see and experience the value of the learning, and guess what? It really worked! Fuse wasn’t just a snazzy new L&D platform that would eventually gather dust in the corner: it quickly became a day to day tool that helped Hilti’s people do their jobs better, and one they quickly came to value very much.

3. Make Learning Interesting

‘Make learning interesting’ may seem an obvious and even bluntly patronising instruction to anyone involved with L&D, but let’s face it: L&D needs a shake up, and if you want to maintain engagement, learning content has to be really, really interesting and probably fairly concise in order to encourage frequent use. 

Think about it this way as well: if the process in learning something new is so tedious and dull, will you look forward to applying that skill? Or will you regard it as a chore, and stop doing it the very moment you can stop? 

In order to maintain engagement, we need to make sure that people choose to engage. To be truly effective in the learning process and to have the best opportunity to drive intended outcomes (whether that’s performance or learning), people need to want to undertake and engage with the journey. 

It’s 100% okay to have fun with learning, and you’ll find it does wonders for engagement. Our client, Alliance Residential were absolute geniuses at creating engagement through compelling content. In fact, they maintain a monthly engagement rate of 80% using a strategy that involves news and performance focused content via song, dance, and acting, all woven into a ‘Saturday Night Live’ approach. 

So, get creative. Video, animation music all have their places in creating content for truly engaged learning.

Wait…..there’s more! 

Did you know that these are only three of six points in our section in the ebook dedicated to building and maintaining engaged learning? Download Solve the Learning Engagement Problem - and power bigger impact for business - and get started with building and maintaining your army of engaged learners today.

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