Engaging Adult e-Learners

I am often asked how to engage e-learners. Well, first the instructor must feel enthusiastic about their subject and learner’s success. This will boost the instructor’s interaction within the course.  Some e-learners will actively engage in a course because the instructor has interacted with them.

Some e-learners may not know why they need to acquire new knowledge; especially, if the course is a required course within their educational program. The instructor should get to know the student and then let them know how information in the course can be applied to situations within their family, career, or community. It is up to the instructor to make the information relevant for the learner. If an instructor is unable to do this, the student may cease to participate in the class. ..

Engaging adult learners require instructors to understand e-learners and the devices they use to engage them, their classmates, and course content. Self-teaching, which is one concept of self-directed learning, assumes that adult learners will take ownership of their learning (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005). An engaging instructor considers e-learners’ experiences and knowledge with the subject matter as well as devices used by them to engage their instructor, classmates, and course content (Smith, 2015).

For example, an e-learner who is experienced with the subject matter and e-learning devices will become frustrated by a lot of direction from the instructor. An e-learner who is inexperienced with the subject matter and e-learning devices will need lots of direction from the instructor. An engaging online instructor will not frustrate learners; but support learners that need help with the subject or the e-learning environment.

Learner Engagement

Engaging instructors communicate with individuals, groups in the class with similar needs, and the entire class to encourage learner interaction. They engage learners using e-mails, instant messaging, video or audio conferencing, and discussion boards. Engaging instructors respond to asynchronous inquiries within 24 hours.

Adult learners are busy people. They may have a job, family, community, and religious activities competing for their attention. Helping e-learners prioritize their activities by providing guidelines on how to manage their time will promote classroom interaction. Scheduling teaching moments around lunch time or after work will make it easier for e-learners to attend live chats. Providing a method for e-learners to contribute to live chats via asynchronous modules will keep them engaged as well.

Engaging instructors and facilitators monitor and actively participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning modules. Engaging instructors provide e-learners the amount and kind of interaction they need. Engaging instructors respond to e-learners within 24 hours. E-learners will engage with instructors at a time that is convenient for them and if they feel the course information is important and relevant.

Let me know if you have any questions about engaging learners.

Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2005). The Adult Learner (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Elsevier.

Smith, B. (2015). Engaging adult learners using e-learning technologies. Saarbrucken, Germany: Scholar’s Press.

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2 Responses to Engaging Adult e-Learners

  1. Discover the defining characteristics of adult learners and the factors that influence their motivation and engagement. Gain awareness of the many options available for workplace training and get opportunities to explore when to select one option over another. This course provides real-life scenarios for you to work through, and occasions to reflect on the way in which the concepts you learn can support you as a learning professional.

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