It can be overwhelming to build and market a learning strategy that successfully incorporates a combination of live and on-demand content across an entire year. But you don’t need to get stressed.

The Freestone LMS team is here to help! We’ll break down learner engagement, so you’ll have a better understanding of how to reach more learners with your continuing education program.

What is learner engagement?

Learner engagement is the measure of whether someone has been given sufficient motivation to fully invest themselves in learning. True “investment” is mirroring a learner’s interaction and cooperation with co-learners and instructors.

If you want learners to engage with your continuing education program, you must make sure the content truly meets a learner’s needs and preferences. It’s important to design, communicate, structure, and deliver your continuing education program in a way that appeals to learners across diverse roles and multiple generations. And that starts with understanding your learners.

What do learners want?

When it comes to continuing education and training, learners turn most to their employer or professional organization, according to the latest Community Brands research. Among those top sources, more learners rate the quality of professional education and training from their professional organization as “excellent” than those of their employer (50% versus 38%).

Learners also express interest in a variety of professional education options – particularly short videos, online courses and webinars, and hands-on experiential training. Additionally, learners believe that organizations should provide new learning opportunities to remain relevant.

Innovation is particularly important to learners, with 77% of learners believing that associations choosing not to innovate will cease to be a go-to source for professional development.

What is student engagement?

Student engagement is how much attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion a student demonstrates as they are learning. This metric ultimately extends the level of student motivation throughout a student’s education.

The concept of student engagement typically arises when educators discuss or prioritize educational strategies and teaching techniques that address the developmental, intellectual, emotional, behavioral, physical, and social factors that either enhance or undermine learning for students.

Why is learning engagement so important?

Learning engagement is the glue that holds your continuing education program together. Without learning engagement, learners won’t invest in a course, won’t take another course, and won’t remain a learner.

Additionally, learner engagement makes the act of learning more fun and rewarding. Research has shown that learner engagement has critical impacts on students. As learners display high levels of engagement, they are more likely to excel academically and form a strong connection with their learning program.

Low learner engagement is connected to several negative outcomes, including truancy, absenteeism, and more. Research shows that poor learner engagement often sets a student on a negative trajectory, frequently leading to dropping out from a learning program.

What does learner engagement look like?

If your learners are engaged, you will notice certain behaviors. How can you identify an engaged learner?

An engaged learner is:

  • Active in their learning
  • Eager to participate
  • Willing to expend effort
  • Motivated
  • Inspired

If a learner is producing excellent results, completing their assignments on time, participating in discussion posts or Q&A sessions, it is very likely you have a high rate of learner engagement. However, if a learner merely completes assignments and neglects other activities, it’s likely they have a low rate of learner engagement.

What are the four types of learner engagement?

Now that you can identify the marks of an engaged learner, you can better utilize the types of earning engagement in your continuing education program. There are four types of learning engagement strategies that will help you boost student engagement:

1. Direct engagement
Direct engagement is a strategy to better hold a learner’s attention. This method can come in many forms including sharing a funny anecdote, offering a relevant fact, or including something you recently learned with the students.

Direct engagement helps to build relationships between learners and educators, driving learning engagement and investment in a course and continuing education program.

2. Active engagement
Active engagement is a learning strategy that helps students better retain the information they are taught, offering another way to retain course content. This learning engagement strategy gets all learners involved in a hands-on activity, ensuring students will remember the needed information.

Active engagement is a great strategy to get learners excited about what they’re learning and generate interest in your continuing education program.

3. Passive engagement
Passive engagement occurs when a learner listens to what an educator has to say. Because learners need only listen in passive engagement, this strategy is not as involved as active or direct engagement. However, passive engagement can still be an effective learning strategy, driving interest in your continuing education program.

If an educator keeps a student interested in their lecture, passive engagement serves as an effective learning strategy. An educator can keep a learner invested by asking questions throughout a lecture, using PowerPoint slides, and encouraging students to take notes.

4. Formal engagement
In formal engagement, an educator will give learners praise or rewards after correctly answering a question or earning the highest grade in the class. Educators could consider offering tangible rewards for learners who participate the most on class discussion boards or who initiate thoughtful conversations regarding course content.

The purpose of this strategy is to motivate learners to engage with tangible benefits, ultimately incentivizing them to contribute to the course and continue to engage in your continuing education program.

How Freestone LMS can help with learner engagement

Ready to drive learner engagement at your continuing education program? It might be time to consider a robust learning management system (LMS) to empower your staff and learners. With the right LMS you can create, manage, and deliver continuing education content that is engaging and accessible to all your learners.

With its ability to track attendance, issue credits, and deploy interactive tools like polls, Q&As, and chats, Freestone LMS allows associations to quickly roll out learning content without having to build complex courses or manage multiple platforms. We provide the tools and functionality to help you deliver a high volume of live and on-demand programming through a user-friendly, intuitive online environment that keeps learners engaged.

Learn more tips to boost learner engagement

To learn more about how Freestone LMS delivers a powerful learning experience that meets the needs of both presenters and participants, contact us today for a guided demo of the platform.