9 Principles for Increasing Engagement through Learning
It takes an inspired leader to inspire a team. While incentives and time off reward and reinforce extrinsic reasons to engage, intrinsic motivations have a more significant impact.
Imagine the competitive advantage of two companies that—in essence—deliver the same product. One company’s employees are engaged and inspired to innovate and transform their tasks. The other company’s employees complete the tasks without being personally invested. The two companies would produce wildly different results.
Your approach to learning & leading is key to engagement
The way employees learn either disconnects or creates meaningful connections that spur engagement. The engagement level in your learning environment determines how much of that learning gets applied in the actual work environment. The following principles guide you to cause engagement, which transforms culture:
MAKE THE LEARNER RESPONSIBLE.
As a facilitator, consider the fact that if you are responsible, then your learners are not accountable. Start finding ways to cause active participation and start holding participants responsible for their learning and the application of that learning.
STOP SPEAKING; START HEARING.
When participants speak, learning is more likely to happen. Participants forget more than 90 percent of what you say within days, yet connect emotionally to their peers’ comments. Start HEARing them: Hint at connections; ask for Elaboration or Examples; offer Affirmation by agreeing, encouraging, or praising; and Reflect to connect to how they could apply what they learned.
USE NARRATIVE IMMERSION:
Narrative Immersion is the process of allowing participants to be part of the story. Stories on their own increase retention and are a primal part of how humans create community. When you make the participants a character in the story, engagement skyrockets along with retention and application. Being told, sold, or lectured to decreases learner esteem and increases passiveness. Start liberating learning by offering real problems to solve; allow all answers to be valid; time their ability to produce results; and leverage competition to generate the best application back to work. You can do that with a program centered around Narrative Immersion.
START WITH PARTICIPANTS SPEAKING.
Start every learning experience with the participants finding their voice through sharing their best practices, challenges, or conditions in which they apply the skills to be learned.
Move the focus from your ability to coach to developing the participants’ ability to coach each other. Start asking participants to identify and give feedback to their peers. Identification and feedback skills become necessary abilities to implement the learning insights back at work. Start building the skills and tools required for application to shift engagement from the learning environment to the workplace.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO POWERPOINT.
Relying on PowerPoint illustrates a lack of preparation and understanding of your content — which causes disengagement. Start designing learning to give the participants the content and let them discover and invent links to their workplace.
STOP USING BINDERS.
Binders illustrate your commitment to content rather than learning. Content is not value. Learning is value, so focus on fewer concepts and more application to increase engagement inside and outside the learning environment. Start focusing on application during the learning, so participants learn to apply the content rather than just remember the material. Application trumps all other learning. Choose the conditions, environments, and tasks where the learning will be used and build application challenges.
TEACH MULTIPLE SKILLS AT A TIME.
Skills no longer get applied one at a time. Participants operate in complex situations with multiple skills, so stop teaching one skill at a time. Start integrating various skills into activities, so participants are better prepared for real-life situations.
FIND VALUE IN LEARNING.
Start following the participants’ desire to find value in the learning. When participants connect, then follow the connection and encourage application. Your willingness to ensure relevance to the participants will be rewarded with engagement.
Engagement comes before application. And the application of learning is where your participants and your organization receive a return on investment. Follow the above principles to increase the engagement and discover a new level of application of learning. High engagement and application environments increase participants’ ability to adapt to their changing situation and increases the ability to innovate. The result—engagement cascades throughout the organization.
What are the best programs to engage a team?
- 100% Participation and application = Save the Titanic Immersive Experience
- Strategic Planning and Big Picture = Lead the Endurance Immersive Experience
- Communication and Leadership Skills = Communicate Naturally
NATURAL COMMUNICATION STYLE.
Each person has a natural communication style.
Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.