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Does your training program spark joy?

Matthew Brew
Matthew Brew

Do you belong to the ‘If we build it, they will come’ school of thought? Have you been assuming that if you provide training to employees, they’ll do it - and appreciate it?

In fact a recent survey found that 43% of employees who receive formal training think it’s not very effective in helping them succeed at their job. Common complaints are that training is boring, contains too much information, or isn’t frequent enough.

Sadly, doing training is often just another mandatory aspect of the job, like coming to work on time and following the company dress code.

Boost your bottom line

Boring and ineffective training simply won’t make the positive difference that organisations hope for. Not to mention the massive waste of time and resources spent creating courses and rolling them out – all of which negatively impacts the bottom line.

Some training managers resort to penalties or coercion to get staff to complete compulsory courses. But wouldn’t the training be more effective if staff were motivated to learn and to apply their knowledge on the job?

The secret lies in intrinsic motivation - when we complete tasks because we’re motivated by internal factors like mastery or passion. It’s when we do things just because we want to. But traditional workplace learning is often based on external motivations, like your boss telling you that you have to do something. This approach rarely achieves the desired results.

Use microlearning to inspire and engage

It’s time to channel Marie Kondo and declutter your training library, focusing on content that will inspire and engage - i.e. intrinsically motivate - your learners.  This starts with your choice of LMS, and of course some kickass content!

We’ve put together some tips for lessons that will spark your learners’ interest - and boost your training ROI. (For more ideas, check out our motivation and engagement playbook).


Give learners options and a sense of control over their learning. By offering training that’s mobile-first, they can decide themselves when and where to learn. And don’t regiment the lesson order - let them binge-learn or jump around and choose what’s relevant for them right now.


Present learners with tasks of moderate difficulty, so that they feel proud when they’ve completed them. Simply scrolling through text won’t hold their interest or inspire them to apply the content to their work.


Offer learners surprising or interesting information that will encourage them to learn more. Catch their attention early, then work to maintain it.

You gotta keep ‘em motivated...

The ARCS model created by John Keller offers more strategies to successfully engage and motivate learners. This model assumes that people are more motivated to perform an activity if it satisfies their needs and if they can expect to be successful.

You can use the four elements of the ARCS model to boost learners’ intrinsic motivation to complete training - without resorting to carrots or sticks!

1. Obtain and sustain learners’ ATTENTION

  • Use humour and creativity in your content - it doesn’t have to be dead serious.

  • State a fact that contradicts or challenges learners’ assumptions.

2. Show why it’s RELEVANT

  • Clearly show how the lessons will boost learners’ earnings or make their jobs easier.

  • Interview enthusiastic and successful employees in your learning videos to show how they’re applying the information on the job.

  • And make sure you’re using custom content - not off-the-shelf courses that your learners can’t relate to.

3. Give them the CONFIDENCE to succeed

  • Clearly state the learning goals and expectations of the course.

  • Provide hints and allow multiple attempts in quizzes, to reduce the stress of assessment.

4. Build a sense of SATISFACTION

  • Use immediate feedback to give learners a sense of achievement and mastery.

  • Monitor learners’ progress and give praise to the most active or diligent ones.

By using these techniques with a mobile-first, microlearning platform like eduMe, you too can create and deliver inspirational content! In no time you’ll find that your learners are enjoying their training and taking pride in displaying their new skills and knowledge on the job.