It is likely the case that your team is more than a little bit busy. The employees within your organization probably have a lot going on while on the job — and likely at home, too. They have limited time and multiple things on their mind, all of which means your learning initiatives must be engaging to get their attention. Have you done a needs analysis to determine what your learners need from training to increase the chances for success?

In general, there are best practices to motivate your learners. Use the following tips to motivate your learners, even before you have conducted a needs analysis.

Tip No. 1: Make it visually appealing: Use the most appealing, engaging design you can for your training.

Tip No. 2: Make it personal: It’s best to customize your training if you can. That means using real-world scenarios employees will recognize that they might encounter on the job. If the training doesn’t seem relevant, your learners will become disengaged and tune out.

Tip No. 3: Break up the information into smaller, more easily processed bits of information. This practice is called microlearning, and it helps people process and remember what they have learned.

Tip No. 4: Add incentives or make it a friendly competition to get through the learning materials. You might provide an award upon completion with after a successful assessment. This is called gamification, and it’s a proven method to gain engagement.

Tip No. 5: Build community: When using instructor-led training for groups, give learners one-on-one time to ask the facilitator questions through the chat or through a digital social message board or forum.

Your learning and development (L&D) team will want to incorporate as many of these best practices as is practical. You can accomplish this by bringing in members from other teams to help, when needed. For example, pull in a graphic artist to help with the visual appeal. Talk to management about potential incentives. Gather information on real-world scenarios from the subject matter experts on your team. Pull in your information technology (IT) team to help implement various digital forums and other resources.

Beyond these general best practices, you can get even more targeted in designing a training that will motivate your learners by conducting a needs analysis.

When to Conduct a Needs Analysis

A needs analysis is the first step in the performance mapping process, generally conducted by a performance consultant or your L&D team, to determine the best way to develop your learning initiative.

An effective needs analysis answers the following questions:

  • What are the competencies needed to succeed in the role?
  • Are there currently any gaps in skills needed to succeed?
  • What is the current level of competency in the subject area?
  • What requirements do your learners have in terms of time commitment?
  • Are there accessibility requirements?
  • Does your organization have the content and technology needed to facilitate learning in this subject area?

You may try to conduct a needs analysis on your own, but it is often helpful to bring in a consultant to provide additional perspectives and insight. A fresh set of eyes, ideally with a background of expertise in instructional design and education, can help you spot potential pain points and other general areas of weakness.

You can also conduct group surveys, individual interviews, take assessments and gather user data to determine your needs. Often, asking your team for insights will earn their trust as well as buy-in for future initiatives.

Finally, don’t hesitate to bring in outside consultants to help in one or more areas. If it increases learner engagement, improves learning and helps your organization get the results you require, it’s an investment worth making