Motivating people to learn

I have just been asked a question from a mate of mine and thought others might like to hear the answer.

Just wondering what your ideas are for online learning resources and how to make them a sought after commodity? #### has an immense library of “stuff” but no one goes there…

Without going into the pros and cons of elearning as a vehicle, I put together the following response. They are more around the change, motivation and engagement than the actual material itself.

One thing and two ideas

The thing is motivation. You need to think about what motivates people in the organisation. Importantly: this is not an assumption made by HR people or Managers. You have to ask the people.

Now the two ideas.

1. Alignment

  • If they have a development plan then showing them how the courseware helps them achieve that can be a motivator.

2. Gamification

  • Make it a competition.
  • Make it fun.
  • Score points.
  • Have a variety of leaderboards.
  • Make up silly awards. E.g. Most courses taken on a train; completed a sequence ( full house, straight, royal flush etc…)
  • Or you have to build up ‘credits’ to ‘level up’.
  • Allow people to exchange credits.

3. Accessibilty

  • Make sure people can get to the stuff offsite.
  • This allows them to fill in time anywhere with a learning activity.
  • Make it convenient.

4. Go viral

  • Constrain access.
  • Go for scarcity.
  • You can only do a course by being invited by a colleague or earning credits.
  • Allow people to recommend courseware to colleagues.

As you noticed, I can’t count. What can I say? I’m an ideas person.

What have you done to improve the takeup?




5 thoughts on “Motivating people to learn

  1. Hi Cory
    I’ve been reading a book by Norman Doidge regarding how the brain operates and how the functions can change. He mentions that most adults when they move towards middle age tend to stop learning, and to stop seeking out learning. He links this to the fact that humans learn when we see that the reward is big enough for us to put in the effort.
    Perhaps in this case, your mates team are already somewhat experts in their field and they don’t see the reward in going and “learning” from what he has put together. Some of what you have suggested may assist with this (i.e. in relation to development plans), but unless they see the real benefit or “reward” of the content as being worth the effort, he may be flogging the proverbial dead horse.
    Sarah Crealy

  2. If the people have become experts in the field, and in a position of having “run out of learning”; then they are ideally placed to start teaching!

    Those who feel they have nothing to learn should be tasked to develop new, “more relevant” courses.

  3. I’m a bit sceptical about the whole “gamification” hype at the moment.

    I would suggest a demand-focused approach. Go out and ask people what they need to know. If the answers can be found in the immense library then start pointing people towards it. If they cannot be found there then perhaps the immense library ain’t so great after all.

    Use of the immense library should not be a standalone goal.

  4. Back on the subject of the huge pile of stuff that nobody references..
    This is symptomatic of the Dunning-Kruger effect
    “We over-estimate the extent and importance of what we know; and under-estimate the extent and importance of what we do not know”
    People back themselves..
    And this comes back to the principle of Willful Ignorance which says, under the law, “if you could have known and should have known and chose not to know; you are guilty”
    Getting offered a Genuine Rolex in a pub for $2 should raise questions f prevenanance.

    But then, Murdoch’s statements to the enquiry are also very much in focus.

    we are currently working on the issue of getting pople to make disciplined enquiry…

    • That doesn’t explain why people do not share what they know in just one unified resource similar to Wikipedia. I realize that I am a dwarf looking for the shoulders of giants (Nanos Gigantium…) but found none up to now. (Wikipedia has editing policy = not open for free sharing any kind of content and knowledge and cannot be arbitrary fragmented = not representative for the whole set of opinions and points of view.) The only open adequate concept I can see is the “Server of Ready Solutions”: yet to be developed but successfully modeled at MIAWiki. MIAWiki however has the same problem – it is not popular at all. The resource can receive “wows” from time to time for its collection of the links and content but the actual collaboration is not there.
      “Overestimation + underestimation” doesn’t seem to be relevant as there is no other unified resource with real time access (matter of seconds) to arbitrary atomized knowledge. The only explanation I can find myself is that the answer in seconds is not needed. People enjoy the process of solving problems themselves, spending hours in forums and social networks, chatting, gaming, etc.
      I must be wrong in my assumption and would appreciate your comments in hope to rise my understanding of the problem and finally make MIAWiki working for all of us.
      Thank you beforehand.
      MIAWiki for Mass Collaboration
      New Year 2012 is coming. Happy New Year to you all!

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