Online learning, or eLearning, is forever changing and has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its accessibility and flexibility. As instructors and learning and development (L&D) professionals, it is crucial to understand the psychology of online learning and implement effective strategies to keep employees motivated and engaged. In this article, we will explore the best practices for delivering training to employees, with a focus on virtual training and techniques to enhance motivation and engagement.

What Is Online Learning?

Online learning offers training virtually using various forms of technology (e.g., computers, mobile devices). It is a great and flexible alternative to traditional educational settings and enables learners to study at their own pace from any location. Digital platforms provide courses, learning resources, instructor support and assessments, which are often recorded for convenient access. Distance learning courses can be accessed from any location with an internet connection and can be fit into any schedule.

The Benefits of Online Learning

With the implementation of online training, you can equip employees with the necessary skills, processes and procedures essential for their job when it is convenient for them. Moreover, you can foster desired behaviors, attitudes and competencies that align with your organization’s expectations with on-demand resources they can access any time.

This could involve familiarizing employees with the latest computer software, completing essential health and safety courses, or promoting an inclusive and diverse work environment where everyone understands their role.

Many skills, such as creativity, problem-solving and decision-making, can be effectively developed through self-directed online learning.

The Challenges of Online Learning (And Possible Solutions)

While online learning offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges for both learners and facilitators. These challenges have become more prominent with the transition to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some common challenges that are faced in the online learning industry:

  1. Limited human interaction: Online learning eliminates the social aspect found in physical classrooms, making it challenging to replicate the classroom atmosphere. Without face-to-face interactions, learners may experience a lack of motivation when working solely online.

To help prevent learners from feeling isolated, utilize chat room functions when delivering online learning. will allow the learners to hang out casually so that they can communicate with each other outside of their study time as well if they so desired.

  1. Technical issues: The reliance on technology for online learning makes it susceptible to technical difficulties, such as computer malfunctions or software glitches, disrupting the learning process.

To prevent this, you can try limiting the reliance on web access. Whilst it is important for the trainees to remain connected and up to date with online employees, designing offline modules allows learners to study anywhere which is convenient for them, regardless of internet access.

  1. Time management: Learners trying to fit training in their already demanding work day can feel disengaged and constrained. This happens even with other mandatory online training.

Therefore, you should make it easier for them to manage their time better and accommodate their needs with flexible deadlines and expectations. You can also offer on-demand content available in the flow of work including podcasts, videos, and infographics to eliminate these challenges.

  1. Perception: Online learning and training is not always embraced. Employees in favor of traditional methods can find online training to be dull or dry and expect more than what they get.

To prevent this, you can improve the quality of your online training resources. Include engaging and entertaining content that is personalized for the trainee’s needs. Even serious games and other activities can allow employees to learn and develop new skills better and grasp better experiences.

  1. Real-world translation: When translating the skills learned from online courses, trainees may not always perceive the real-world application.

Applying practical lessons within the training can help the learners to understand more about practical real-life application of the content. Teaching critical thinking will improve their productivity and willingness to learn within the courses.

Tips for Motivating and Engaging Employees in Online Learning

To maintain motivation and engagement in online learning, implement the following strategies in your online training methods:

  1. Set achievable goals: Instead of aiming for large goals that may take a long time to achieve, set smaller, realistic goals. This approach ensures a sense of accomplishment and motivates employees to complete their courses.
  2. Incorporate rewards: Establish a system to reward employees as they progress through the training. Gamifying training and adding badges and leader boards creates friendly competition that can keep employees going. These rewards provide motivation and help track progress effectively.
  3. Create a schedule: Encourage employees to create and adhere to a training schedule. This promotes time management, ensures breaks for self-care and increases the likelihood of completing the course successfully. Divide the training content into manageable modules to help them feel a sense of progress and accomplishment as they complete each one, keeping them motivated.
  4. Foster social connections: Facilitate social interactions within online classes by encouraging regular communication between learners, their colleagues and instructors. Utilize social collaboration or video conferencing platforms to create a sense of connection and combat feelings of loneliness.
  5. Use interactive elements: Incorporate interactive elements into the online training, such as quizzes, polls, discussions and simulations. This engages employees and makes the learning experience more dynamic and enjoyable.
  6. Provide timely feedback: Regularly provide feedback to employees on their progress and performance during the training. Positive reinforcement and constructive feedback help them stay motivated and improve their skills.
  7. Encourage self-reflection: Encourage employees and students to reflect on their learning journey and set personal goals. This helps them take ownership of their learning and stay motivated to achieve their objectives.
  8. Personalized experience: Recognize diverse learning preferences and offer flexibility in training, providing additional options for self-paced learning or customized learning paths to accommodate individual needs.
  9. Contact other trainers: Learning how other tutors and trainers implement their learning methods for students will allow you extra opportunities to improve your own training exercises if you are struggling for ideas. Furthermore, you could work collaboratively between them during classes.

Stay Motivated for the Finish Line!

As technology continues to shape the future of corporate training, understanding the psychology behind online learning becomes increasingly important. By equipping yourself with effective strategies for staying motivated and engaged, you can help your learners improve their performance and drive business outcomes.