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Engagement is about people – not technology

Engagement in learning comes from a belief that we are connecting with someone (or something) from which we will get some benefit. If we don’t have any confidence that the content will be of use, we are unlikely to participate in the learning and certainly won’t implement it back in the workplace.

Of course, it is natural that we would want to know the engagement rate, because that is a metric that we can usefully connect to performance improvement. But when we talk about engagement, it surely must be at an emotional and intellectual level.

In our data driven universe it’s easy to consider learning engagement through the metrics that we set up for a digital platform. But we get a more meaningful insight if we ask why people engage with learning rather than how often or for how long.

Evidence suggests that it’s more about people than it is about the tech. And that is the challenge because the holy grail is to measure this human effect and so we often fall back on anecdotal ‘data’ at best.

If we want to discover something that is useful, then we need to know what makes someone ‘sign up’ to training. Often, it’s because of a recommendation or idea that’s come from someone or something that they have confidence in.

That is also why the L&D brand and reputation is so important, because the power of suggestion is so strong. Endorsement by someone you know has experience or who you value as an authority makes the recommendation so much more impactful and in the case of training worth engaging with.

So, relationships determine our engagement. If people we trust have signed up to something and tell us that it’s valuable, we are likely to want to experience it too (and not run the risk of missing out!).

This, ‘social proof’ is one of the most clearly understood reasons why we can be influenced – “If so many people think it’s good, they can’t all be wrong” – so it will always be an important motivator for learning.

This also makes the credentials of the person making the recommendation of immense importance. Yes, they are trusted, but people also need to know “What difference will the training make for me?” or “How will this help me?”

If you want people to commit, don’t ignore this information because it can secure the connection – make sure you include it in the learning comms.

Also, reduce the distance between the learner and the provider by bringing them closer together. Those detailed comms, provider bios and introductory sessions for modular programmes all contribute to the attraction of the learning experience.

Learners that have access to the training ‘authority’ are more likely to invest the trust in them that encourages a connection. There are many things that will improve learning engagement but possibly the most important is to connect the learners with the people they will learn from.

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One comment on “Engagement is about people – not technology”

Hi Hans
Great site, nice blog. I like the ‘social proof’ factor.
All the best with the future.
We’re living in interesting times, as they say, and whatever happens the challenges and issues that arise will need our skills!

… confident, caring, knowledgeable; handled the team dynamics very well; informative and fun.

Tailored advice and feedback to the individuals and teams as he got to know us better; personal.

Great at defusing tricky situations.

Respectful and caring Educator and a wonderful individual.

Extremely good facilitator of many discussions, valuing everyone in the group.

Clear presenter; good at bringing across the material.

Very good facilitator; great listener and a great sense of humour.

On a personal level I felt it was the first time that I had been able to draw a breath and think about all you discussed since the start of Covid. So, a huge thank you, the content, slides, interaction on chat etc was all brilliant.

Special kudos to him for creating the psychological space that enabled the group to publicly share feedback

In addition to the training material itself, Hans was able to provide deeper answers on specific topics that came from more experienced managers.

Super confident, had answers for everything or helped find them. Really, good. Pretty impressed!

Great speaker, leaving sufficient space for attendees to get involved in the discussions

Hans was an engaging facilitator and was able to both answer questions expertly and cultivate a healthy dialogue including the whole room.

Good sense of humour, effective at delivering content and soliciting questions from the audience.

Hans did great job in involving people to have discussion about the various issues instead of just presenting them, much appreciated!

Clear, engaging and committed to helping us – amazing facilitator