Leveraging Active Learning to Strengthen Business Outcomes: Webinar Takeaways

By Engageli on May 24, 2024

Authors: Nisha Abraham and Christina Holloway

In collaboration with Corporate Learning Network, Engageli hosted an interactive webinar titled "Leveraging Active Learning to Strengthen Business Outcomes." Facilitated by Engageli’s Learning Development Specialist, Nisha Abraham, the webinar addressed common challenges of passive virtual learning and offered practical insights to enhance engagement and retention. Our expert panelists, Kimberly Kilby, CPTD, and Christina Holloway, MS, CPTD, shared their expertise and discussed the importance of intentional learning design to maximize cognitive engagement and learning outcomes. 

Key Takeaways

The session provided a wealth of valuable insights, focusing on the following key areas:

Combating Distraction and Multitasking

Distractions and multitasking are significant hurdles in virtual learning environments. Tackling this challenge requires intentional design, focused on engagement. Common best practice includes meaningful engagement every 5-8 minutes during a session to keep participants focused. The goal is to enable participant’s full cognitive capacity for learning. Additional elements that can strengthen the focus on learning are gamification, chunking the content into small pieces and weaving in knowledge checks, as well as building community through group discussions. 

The Role of Company Culture

To successfully instill best practices for active learning, it is important to consider the cultural context in which we operate. Current norms and expectations in the organization can impact your ability to implement active learning practices. Are employees used to passive learning where they can multitask while attending a live session? Have they been asked to actively participate before? These will be crucial questions to address when designing a successful learning experience.

“Working at a global IT consulting and telecom, I consider the organizational culture and subcultures and the local and national cultural contexts. My colleagues in Singapore and Japan may prefer hearing more from the instructor and focusing on individual reflection when training on unconscious bias, while in the USA, an elaborate group discussion on psychological safety and implicit bias will be well received.” - Christina Holloway

Taking small steps to implement active, social, and collaborative learning can help create a culture that drives better engagement and learning outcomes. Engageli’s Active Learning Impact study showed that making incremental active learning additions increased participation, multi-modal engagement, and knowledge retention.

Setting Clear Expectations

Clear communication about the benefits of active participation is crucial. Learners are more likely to understand the value of their involvement and commit to the learning process when they have the right expectations. It is important to set these norms from the first interaction with participants. This can be done by including a clear description of the interactive nature and outlining norms in the course description people read before enrolling. For example, requesting people to close other apps and prepare themselves and their background to be camera-on, to set the right norms for the live session. Collaborative community guidelines and varied participation channels are great ways to encourage engagement. Additionally, when employees can see a clear connection between their learning and their career trajectories, it increases their commitment and motivation.  

"Check-Outs" for Consolidation

Many facilitators are familiar with “check-ins”, where participants meet and report how things are going before the learning session begins. "Check-outs" at the end of a session help reconnect participants and reinforce the material covered. This makes the learning experience cohesive and memorable. Engageli’s unique table architecture and presets allow facilitators to easily rearrange learners throughout a session, use polls, whiteboards, and collaborative documents to support group collaboration at the start, and end of a session. This way, debriefing and brainstorming applications of the content become seamless and organic.

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Leveraging "Whisper Courses" to Maintain Learning Momentum

We often hear 'Learning is not an event, it's a journey'. The Ebbinhaus Forgetting Curve states people can forget up to 90% of what they learned within a month. Tackling this challenge requires a “journey approach” to learning. Whisper courses” (coined by Google) are short, targeted interventions post-course completion. They are intended to remind individuals of what they learned and apply it in their day to day. These short messages nudge towards specific actions and subtly promote continuous learning and application of new skills. And it works. In a study Google conducted, managers who received whisper courses improved their task performance by 22-40%, compared to the control group who did not receive microlearning prompts post-training (Paradiso Solutions). And, as Inc.com points out - leveraging whisper courses has a $0 budget impact*. At NTT, whisper courses are implemented in a similar way to marketing ‘drip campaigns’. For example, after each Leadership Accelerator event targeted to front-line managers receive short snippets of learning. Lessons are also embedded in quarterly business review calls led by senior executives. The managers are then asked to apply and practice their Leadership Accelerator lessons on the call in their business updates. This system was met with great acclaim from all stakeholders, and significant improvements were reported in the quality of team performance reviews.   

Engageli_CLN_Blog_DefinitionIn conclusion, incorporating the strategies listed above can support the cultivation of dynamic learning experiences that yield substantial business outcomes. By fostering a culture of active participation and continuous learning, organizations can enhance employee engagement and knowledge retention.

Stay connected with Engageli for more insights and innovative practices to elevate your learning initiatives.

* inc.com offers free templates on how to create your own whisper courses.

Published by
May 24, 2024