Establishing online education forums can be a great way to make your training program engaging and interactive. It addresses an important challenge in corporate elearning. When you take out an employee from their daily work routine with the intention to train them, you are actually adding more into their plate. Their work does not get done while they are taking the training program. The worry and concern over the pending workload might keep them from fully concentrating on the training course.
This is where engagement and interaction becomes an important characteristic of the elearning program. You have to make sure that they are fully engrossed in the learning program.
An online education forum is the best way to do this. It is not only something that can benefit the current online education. It can also be a great portal to follow up the effects of the training on the daily routine of the employees.
Of course, a forum is only effective if the conversation is free flowing. Take note – this should not be just any chatter. It should involve meaningful conversations that are related to the topic that was discussed. Just like in any form of communication, there are moments of silence. In an online forum, this could quickly make the other participants lose interest. This is why you need to ensure that the discussion will continue to flow no matter what.
Here are 5 tricks that will help you accomplish this.
- Come up with an “icebreaker”. This is not really part of the main forum where the real discussion happens. This is usually for the new participants of the forum – to help usher them into the conversation. Give them a gist of what are being discussed and inform them of the rules to be followed while in the forum. This will help everyone get into the forum with the right expectations and state of mind.
- Have conversation starters. Sometimes, people feel shy about being first to comment. But with a little nudge, they should be brave enough to do so. There are times when this shyness is brought about by their confusion about what and how the conversation should go. This can be in the form of an activity that everyone should participate in. Or it can be a scenario that everyone will comment on.
- Ask questions that will force them to think. Questions are a great way to keep the conversation going in an online education forum. Take note that this should not just be any question. It should make them think and reflect. It is that reflection that will make them discuss their thoughts in the forum. Just be careful not to post controversial questions that might spark heated online debates.
- Schedule the topics. You should also schedule posts throughout the online education. You want to make sure that there is something new to talk about in the forum. This will keep the participants interested in the lesson as you feed them new information. No matter how interesting a topic is, you will exhaust all possible opinions about it. Having something new to talk about is a great way to encourage employees to keep the conversation alive. Just make sure to give them enough time to reflect on the previous topic and do not change it if the message is not yet clear.
- Make it mandatory. Finally, you have to make the forum mandatory. Make it a part of the training program – like a culminating activity of sorts. Of course, the term “mandatory” usually makes everyone feel less motivated so be careful in how you will do this. It may be best to tie it up with the assessment at the end of a training course. That way, you can also use this to analyze if the employees understood the training course well.
These are only 5 of the things that will make your online education forum more engaging and interactive. Try to choose which of these you will implement. You do not have to use all of these tips. Choose which one will give the participants the type of learning experience that they need.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles for FreeDigitalPhotos.net