As the e-learning champion of your organization, you can have the best of e-learning resources like LMS, E-Learning modules, M-Learning modules etc., but usually there is one element that is not directly in your control and more-often-than-not turns up to be the weakest link!

Any guesses?

It is the learner’s “desire” to learn and use the learning productively.

While quite a few parameters of e-learning rest with the organization, the learner’s intrinsic motivation to engage proactively rests with the learner and this is one area if kindled well, can lead to a course becoming a roaring success an if neglected could lead to a lot of dropouts after subscription.

Interestingly, a person dropping out of from a MOOC after attending a few sessions can be compared with a person buying a book to learn a subject and then keeping it on the display-shelf after going through few pages. Seems familiar?

When we register for a MOOC or any other online course, our personal desire to learn the subject is high. However, once the initial euphoria reduces and the course catches momentum, that is when the true level of the desire to learn starts showing up and for some learners, slowly the involvement fades away due to aspects like unable to cope up, bored, etc.

While content being taken to an electronic media might meet the basic requirements like “on demand learning” and “learning across geographies”, for the courses to be truly effective there needs to be a “proactive engagement” from the learner wherein the wish to engage with the course should increase as the learner goes deeper into it.

How is it achieved? Well, it’s actually quite simple.

Rather than forcing the learner to find interest, the e-learning course can be designed in a manner to involve specific elements that make people engage with things and like doing them, in general.
Two such things are:

1. Social Interactions

2. Gamification

When an online course has a strong peer-to-peer social interaction built into it, the social engagement increases the level of involvement and further can help certain individual learners overcome a weak moment to quit!

With gamification, more the competition and collaboration, more fun and more the engagement.

I shall be writing more about social interactions and gamification in context to e-learning in my forthcoming blog posts, but before that a simple word of caution:

There is no “magic formula” when it comes to using either social interactions or gamification for learning. You need to understand these elements, involve them in your courses and with consistent “course corrections” you will be able to achieve the desired results.

So if you are tempted to directly add PBL (Points, badges or leaderboards) or add a Social Media API to your course remember one thing: you cannot turn a horse into a zebra by branding stripes on it!