We are all driven by a common set of needs and fears, a set that is best described by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
It is our desire to achieve these needs –or our fear of losing what we have–that motivates us to change the status quo.
Every organization consists of people with varying needs or fears. Our learner motivation strategy should thus include items that address the entire spectrum of needs (except perhaps basic needs, which are mostly taken care of in the corporate context).
Here are eight practical tips, derived from Maslow’s theory, which you can use to increase learner motivation:
- Prestige –The learning program could be endorsed by some industry body. Perhaps we can have expert sessions once the training/e-learning bit is over, maybe over a Virtual Classroom (VCR)/Phone/Video Conference.
- Self-esteem– We could work out a point system for every hour of course completed – have grades for different level of points,with a reward for the highest grade in a quarter/year; the reward could be, for example, lunch/interaction with the top bosses.
- Self-esteem/feeling of accomplishment –This comes when the learner is able to apply knowledge. How can we encourage and incentivise him to do so, and how can we show early success? Perhaps the learner can write a short piece, present it to someone, and talk about it in an informal session with the peer group. A certificate and congratulation card could be mailed to the learner on completion of the course.
- Monetary Incentives –The learner could get points for course completion, answering queries, etc., and the points could be exchanged for gifts/vouchers.
- Social needs – We could make the learners interact – either via phone or VCR –to exchange experiences or learning. We could identify courses where this can be done effectively.
- Respect – We could analyze not only individual growth but also the team’s learning accomplishments. We could share the names of the people, and the teams, with the maximum points in a monthly communication, and give awards to teams on a quarterly basis.
- Belongingness – We could display contact details of experts who can answer questions on the course, and then send a feedback collection mail/SMS to someone who has completed the course. We could also give feedback to learners on their performance –on how they can improve–and call active learners to check if they are facing any problem or if they have any queries about their course.
- Legacy – We could determine if the learning can be passed on to peers, to students, or to some disadvantaged group.
Do feel free to write back at in**@gc**********.net if you would like to know more about learner motivation techniques, and how we have assisted many of our customers in increasing the learning uptake.