An external training management system for partners, customers and resellers can generate better informed and more engaged learners across your enterprise's full network. This naturally leads to better sales and retention. No wonder the eLearning market is booming; according to Forbes, the industry is predicted to surpass $300 billion by 2025.
So, how can you maximize external learner engagement in this dynamic industry? The first step is to understand the key differences between "internal" employee training and "external" partner, reseller and customer learning:
- Mandatory vs. voluntary training: While a large chunk of employee training is mandatory, most external learning is voluntary ... and paid for! So a positive user experience and high content value are much more important to sustaining ongoing engagement.
- Assigned vs. discovered content: Employees are typically assigned content and learning paths based on their roles and departments. However, external learners often have to search for content of interest. If it's not easy to find, they won't take it.
- Singular vs. contextualized domains: Because employees are usually part of one company, a singular training domain and functionality works great. But, to serve several external groups, an external training management system should have multiple, contextualized domains for optimal engagement, including group-specific branding, localizations, content libraries, notifications and workflows, among other features.
6 ways to engage learners with an external training management system
Keeping these critical differences in mind, there are several ways you can use a learning management system to meet your external learning audiences' unique needs.
1. Speak their language
Globalization is on the rise. There's no better way to unite your far-flung learners than equal learning opportunities and demonstrating your commitment to inclusion. Don't overlook the importance of recognizing language barriers. If your training content's poorly translated or too complex, you'll lose your global learning audience. Even if your learners know English, they may prefer learning in their native language. A robust LMS will have built-in localization tools, so take advantage of them.
2. Make content quick & easy to consume
External learning groups, like partners or resellers, often represent multiple products or services. As a result, their training time is limited. If you give them content that's easy to find (simplified user interface navigation), convenient to access (desktop- and mobile-friendly) and simple to digest (think microlearning, printable reference guides and video tutorials), you'll be gleaning the most value from your LMS.
3. Recognize top performers—convert to SMEs
Provide incentives (digital badges, training credits, volume discounts, awards, giveaways, swag, etc.) for top performers—both in sales or purchases and external training management system use. Then, recognize their loyalty and dedication by adding them to a "lead team" of resellers, partners or customers with additional perks. Going one step further, enlist this group as subject matter experts to help with training modules, LMS-based forums and discussion groups and video FAQs.
4. Regularly gather feedback
Use your LMS as another channel for improving external training and engagement. Offer quizzes, surveys and assessments, along with online collaboration tools, to encourage two-way communication regarding training content and effectiveness. Not only does it provide a reliable pulse check, it can build loyalty because people appreciate when their opinions are valued.
5. Save learners time with FAQs
Again, time is money for external learners. Comb through their frequently asked questions and create training content to address them.
6. Launch email marketing campaigns
A robust learning system can track how often external learners log in, what content they consume, forums they visit, products they purchase, etc. When integrated with email marketing systems, you can leverage this data to trigger engagement campaigns, sending learners additional training recommendations, discounts, special offers and more.
Context leads to engagement
External learners differ vastly from internal employees and have unique needs and motivations for engaging with training. If you want to keep their interest, you must contextualize their learning experience and content to optimize its value.
See how Absorb LMS drives external learner engagement. Access the demo for a first-hand look.