How the Right LMS Can Motivate Learners

How the Right LMS Can Motivate Learners


Liz Sheffield


There's a psychological connection between goal setting and box checking that helps people stay on task. With the right learning management system, simple everyday tools can be used to motivate learners and integrate training with ongoing operations and activities. This integration helps make the LMS a fluid part of daily business and encourages learning every day.

When we experience even seemingly small amounts of success, our brains release dopamine. That dopamine creates pleasant feelings, including motivation, says Trello. For example, many people might even write something down on a list so that they can check it off after they've accomplished it. For new projects or mandatory tasks, feeling the pleasure of completing a task can help inspire action.

Motivate action

Tools such as check boxes, lists of required tasks and badges can be implemented to help learners track progress and celebrate a task's completion. Additionally, when these tools are integrated into daily activities, they help ensure that learning is part of the daily flow of work.

"Too often, learning opportunities and technology deployments are developed based on what centralized groups think would be useful, or on what is possible, rather than on what would actually enable someone to do something better or differently at work," a digital learning and design manager told Harvard Business Review. They suggested that learning and development leaders focus instead on people's day-to-day working patterns and align training programs with them.

It's frustrating for learners and employees to step outside of normal work to log an action or update their progress. To maximize the motivational potential of any system, it's important they're integrated. Instead of keeping them separate, include checklists, badges and games as parts of everyday business operations. Using these tools to engage learners is a great way to unlock motivation for those who are inspired by tracking progress or earning badges. Without motivation, it's easy for people to lose sight of goals and tasks—regardless of how important they are.

Track & complete tasks

As you consider areas in which you can motivate and engage learner participation by integrating the LMS into daily business operations, think about requirements that may be more challenging for learners to track and complete, such as:

  • Onboarding processes
  • Standard operating procedures for common projects
  • Mandatory compliance courses
  • Degree or certification requirements
  • Tasks or assignments to complete on a regular basis

Completion of mandatory tasks or training is easier for people to manage if they can quickly review and assess what still needs to be completed. Tracking completion also encourages participation and engagement around key items.

If people are dispersed across various locations, or they're learning in a remote environment, they may not receive regular feedback. A flexible LMS provides a means for instant feedback and follow-up, regardless of someone's location. Tools such as to-do lists and leaderboards help motivate people with instant, online recognition when they complete a task or course. Incomplete tasks in an LMS also help organizations evaluate if follow-up is required. The system of record in an LMS provides a powerful way to augment any in-person feedback and ultimately motivate people to complete tasks and meet requirements. When you're already using an LMS to assign learning, record completion and support a culture of learning, it offers an easy way to use seemingly simple, back-to-basics features that can do wonders to motivate learners.

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