High learner engagement is crucial to showcasing the value and impact of your law firm training. But one of the hardest things to do in a law firm environment is to motivate people who are already pushed to their productivity limits to take time to learn something new.
Motivation: It’s the nut you have to crack.
Motivating your learners to engage with your training isn’t a simple switch you can turn on. But there are several ways to tackle it.
To drive motivation, you’ll have to look at your organization’s culture, develop a strategy and, if you have one, use a learning management system for law firms (LMS).
What Motivates Us?
There are two types of motivation that can be applied to learning experiences: intrinsic and extrinsic. Both are critical drivers, with each having a vital role to play in improving your learning engagement strategy.
Types of Motivation
- Intrinsic: Learners do the training without an overt reward. Instead, it’s done because it’s interesting, helpful, and internally fulfilling.
- Extrinsic: Learners do the training with the expectation of getting an external reward or recognition for doing so.
Communicating the benefits of training completion to your learners is a big engagement driver, and it’s an intrinsic benefit. They become motivated because they’ll learn new skills that will help them do their job better, feed their passion for a subject, or just make their day-to-day lives easier. The motivation here is to complete the course for the knowledge and skills that the learner will gain.
But let’s not forget the impact that reward and recognition have on us – we’re just more likely to get something done if we know there’s a reward at the end! This is an extrinsic motivation and gives your engagement levels a greater chance of improving.
You probably just thought, “Yeah, but management won’t give me approval to offer bonuses for learners who achieve certain levels!” You’re not alone. But you also aren’t completely without tools to motivate your learners. We humans can be motivated by more than money! Namely: The Thrill of Victory!
Motivate your learners with gamification!
You’re Already a Gamer
Gamification is the use of game mechanics in activities, such as learning, to enhance the user’s experience and motivate them to execute certain behaviors.
If you take a look around, Gamification is everywhere and used by everyone. Sometimes it’s so subtle we don’t even notice it. But you’re already using it, and so are your learners.
Take, for example, a coffee shop loyalty card. If you get a free coffee after 9 stamps, you’re more likely to keep going back for another coffee to reach your 10th coffee reward. This is the basic principle of extrinsic motivation through Gamification.
Gamify Your Training
Gamification is a prominent pillar of learning because trainers need help with motivating learners. The concept is understandable, fun, and matches up well with extrinsic motivation.
Generally, Gamification within a learning management system features:
For Gamification to be effective, it needs to be treated as a tool that enriches the learning experience. So, for example, learners should get more points and badges for achieving goals you’ve set (ie. courses completed) rather than for just, say, logging into the LMS.
Still needing a creative boost? How about this for a fun idea?
- Challenge several sets of learners (ie. several departments or several of your far-flung offices) to compete toward your learning goals. For example, each person in the designated sets must take one course a week.
- Get the Leaderboard going.
- Include a theme: Race to the Moon, Summit Everest, Sail the Seven Seas. Maybe your marketing department can create a logo or some imagery for you.
- Offer a pizza party to the winning department. Or maybe they just get bragging rights.
If Gamification is new to your organization, we suggest starting off with a simple strategy, then adapt and grow this strategy as you start to yield results.
Remember though, Gamification isn’t a quick-fix. The extrinsic motivation needs time to kick in, so let it run for a while before assessing its impact on engagement.
We also suggest thinking outside the box with Gamification, add your own flair, make it your company’s own so that everyone feels involved and motivated by it. Do you have a beloved founder? Use his/her name or back story in your games. Make it uniquely your firm’s.
The Social Side of Learning
Although there are so many effective ways to engage and motivate your learners, modern, online training still has a weakness – learner isolation.
Learner isolation can be a real motivation killer as it can strip many of the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits away, so it’s crucial that you’re aware of it. Isolation relates to the lack of interaction between two different types of “contacts:”
- Isolation from instructors or trainers as learners feel that they’re not supported, rewarded, or recognized.
- Isolation from other learners as learners feel they’re operating in a vacuum, distant from their peers.
To tackle learner isolation, we recommend establishing clear communication of the available training programs through popular channels, grouping learners together in webinars, and employing Gamification features that focus the group, like leaderboards.
You Need an LMS To Do This Right
Not only will a robust LMS offer all the Gamification tools you need to manage this motivational program easily, but it will also offer features that mimic peer-to-peer, social learning.
For example, offer a Forum within your LMS so that learners can share information, and learn from each other, while instructors can communicate easily with an entire audience. New topics can be suggested, questions can be answered, and dialogue can happen freely; it’s a hive for learning, communication, and a remedy for isolation.
If you’ve run a wildly successful Gamification program to incentivize learning at your law firm, we’d love to hear from you! Share your story with us at info@SavvyTraining.com.
(This article was first written and posted by our partners at LearnUpon but we altered it with some specific ideas for law firm trainers.)