According to psychologist John B. Watson’s 1913 paper Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It, all behaviors come from a learning process.
It is important to understand the psychological elements that apply to learning when developing educational courses. By creating content that works with the way humans behave and think, you will build a training program that will get better results.
It can seem very complex when delving into psychology papers and concepts, but it doesn’t have to be. Several methods can be used that do not require a psychology degree to understand and will help your trainees absorb information.
- Share the Immediate Benefits of What is Being Taught
New material should be put into context for learners. They want to know what real-world application this information has that will be beneficial to them.
When no connection is made between what’s being taught and why it is beneficial, it’s harder for learners to get excited about it. They may feel like it’s a waste of time, which will impact engagement and lower the chances of success in training.
Explaining how the information is used and why it is important also puts context on it. It gives us the instant gratification that appeases human sensibilities.
You don’t have to share paragraphs of information and research but should highlight impactful details and uses. A bulleted list works well for this and can be shared at the beginning of a course.
For example, if your eLearning course teaches a new skill, you can share insight into how that skill is used in personal and professional applications. You can also discuss how it overlaps with multiple job roles in case learners want to develop their careers.
- Present Challenges That Push Learners Outside of Their Comfort Zones
Sometimes it is scary, but we have to push outside of our comfort zone in order to grow and improve. Encourage your learners to do the same.
People who challenge themselves are more likely to be successful and reach goals. When there is a risk that they may fail, learners will be more likely to put in extra effort to make sure they succeed.
Remember to present challenges but keep them realistic. Setting unrealistic goals will only demotivate learners. Challenges should be doable, but in a way that encourages growth.
- Avoid Distracting or Chaotic Content in Your eLearning Courses
Distractions are a big problem in an eLearning course. Some people are better at ignoring distracting elements than others, so it’s best to minimize these issues as much as possible.
Distractions aren’t just the things that exist in the room next to the learner. Those things you may not be able to control, especially if they are learning at home or offsite. However, you can control distractions that appear in your course content.
Remove any images or media that are irrelevant to the topic being discussed. Also look for images, graphics, or interface elements that feel chaotic or busy. Even if these don’t directly apply to what the learner is doing, they can take away from the learning process.
If you are working with remote learners, share tips and suggestions to help them create an atmosphere that nurtures concentration in their training space. This can include ways to keep the area quiet and peaceful during their coursework. You can also add subtitles to audio and video content to make it easier to take in everything even if there are outside noises.
- Include Positive Reinforcement to Encourage Progress and Improvement
Even if you are working with professional adults, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. Remember getting a reward when you did well in school as a kid? Did a teacher ever give you a piece of candy, sticker, or small prize for doing a good job? It felt good and probably encouraged you to try to do more in the future.
The same concept applies to adults. The rewards are different, but still need to send that positive message for a job well done.
Positive reinforcement can be as simple as praise for doing well on an assignment or answering a question correctly. It can be more significant with a tangible reward for a bigger achievement.
Many LMSs now include gamification, which is helpful for positive reinforcement. These platforms usually include a points system that lets users show their skills on leaderboards or by earning badges.
- Tap into the Power of Human Curiosity with New Experiences
Human beings are naturally curious. We like to explore new experiences. You can use this in your training program by presenting opportunities to try something new.
Augmented and virtual reality technology is a great tool for this. Place learners in a realistic situation that fully immerses them in the experience. They can try to complete tasks or interact with equipment without putting anything or anyone at risk.
eLearning games and scenarios are also ideal when tapping into human curiosity. Create situations that require the use of what has already been learned to solve problems. It is engaging and improves comprehension of the topic.
- Include Collaboration That Feeds the Human Desire for Socialization
We have always been social creatures. Humans have lived in groups since the beginning of recorded history. We work together to survive and improve our lot in life.
This can be used in eLearning through collaboration. Collaborative activities bring learners together into smaller groups or pairs. It satisfies the desire for social interaction. Working with a peer also helps learners exchange ideas and improve their understanding of the material.
A good LMS platform should include collaborative tools like chats, forums, or virtual whiteboards. Some may work with third-party applications to offer these and other functionalities like web meetings.
- Use Sound and Color to Meet Basic Needs for Better Focus
We may not realize it, but people are heavily influenced by the world around them. If we feel unsafe, uncertain, or insecure, it becomes difficult to focus on anything else.
If you want learners to immerse themselves in your eLearning content, create an environment that satisfies basic human needs. Using audio and colors, you can create a tranquil setting that feels safe and secure.
When the trainee feels comfortable, they are ready to fully engage in the content you present to them. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to retain information and get better results.
There are several ways to do this while also matching your corporate branding or purpose. Classical music is a common choice, but anything that is soothing works. Set the tone so that learners can focus all their energy and attention on the material.
To learn more about how to build a solid online training program for your business, visit LMS.org. We post information, LMS reviews, and more to help you find the resources you need to be successful.