In a world where we’re constantly peppered with distractions, it can be hard to focus on any one thing, let alone learning. The distractions are even evolving to manipulate our attention spans (ex: TikTok) to keep people locked in. So, if things like social media, television, video games, and communication are ever innovating to keep people engaged, how can the learning and education industry keep up? 

Another barrier to creating more engaging learning environments is the content. If a lesson is too boring, learners tune out. If the content is oversaturated with extraneous multimedia or unrelated information, learners miss the point. There’s a nuance to instructional design and it’s not always easy to implement. Although technology may seem like the enemy in the age of distraction, eLearning has emerged as a potent vessel for delivering engaging content. 

More often than we’d care to admit, we are enticed by shortcuts, gimmicks, and convenient falsehoods to serve as short-term solutions to our problems. When it comes to learning, we want to learn faster and remember as much as possible — so any solution promising these results by easy means is attractive. The problem with these solutions is that they don’t stick because they don’t cater to the way the brain actually works. Cognitive and neuro- science exist for a reason; and thankfully, some of the world’s most renowned researchers have shared their discoveries with Amplifire. Our adaptive learning platform is built on brain science principles that activate the brain’s natural learning processes. These “triggers” — as we call them — are designed to cut through distractions, inform instructional design, and effectively enhance retention. By working with the way we naturally learn, rather than against it, the Amplifire platform has been successful in keeping learners engaged so they can learn faster and better. Here’s how we do it. 

Why learner engagement is important

There is a direct correlation between high learner engagement and subsequent performance. For example, in a 2019 study of higher education students who took online courses, the mean performance of highly engaged students was significantly better than those with low engagement levels. Therefore, it should be instructors’ top priority to keep learners actively engaged. 

Not only does increased engagement lead to better outcomes, but it also improves the learning process. Engaged learners typically learn faster and retain more information in the long run than distracted or disengaged learners. 

Amplifire uses the latest brain science research to help people learn faster and remember better. These principles inform the way information is taught via our adaptive learning platform. Because the scientifically sound principles stimulate the brain’s most effective learning mechanisms, learners are naturally more engaged. This leads to better outcomes when the information is applied in real life, whether that’s out of the classroom or out in the workforce. 

How to keep learners engaged in online learning 

More specifically, Amplifire relies on twenty-or-so cognitive triggers to stimulate more effective learning. These triggers are presented through the Socratic method of asking questions to teach, test, and reinforce information. Questions are presented via an adaptive learning platform, which conforms to each individual’s needs, thus personalizing the learning experience — even in a virtual setting. Content is intentional and carefully crafted, adhering to instructional design principles.  

By homing in on all these factors to keep learners engaged, Amplifire has helped clients achieve impressive results. People tend to think online learning lacks a personal touch, when in fact, it can provide a flexible, powerful canvas to enact effective engagement strategies. 

3 Strategies to increase engagement 

1. Harness the power of brain science 

There are plenty of gimmicks and falsehoods (i.e. “learning styles”) out there that claim to help people learn better. However, the only reliable way to truly create a more effective learning experience is with brain science.  

As we previously mentioned, Amplifire’s Science Advisory Board has identified over twenty triggers that allow people to learn faster and retain more information. This ultimately leads to better performance. But how are they put into action? Here are some examples: 

  • Priming — Priming is a powerful strategy to improve retention. It involves pretesting learners before they’ve studied material. When compared to traditional studying, priming results in higher test scores, regardless of whether learners perform well on a pretest (a 2010 study). Instructors use the Amplifire platform to prime learners before lessons to improve retention. 
  • Feedback — Studies have shown that feedback in the form of a correct answer and explanation can improve retention dramatically. The Amplifire platform provides feedback (slightly delayed after a learner answers a question) to significantly enhance retention. 
  • Metacognition — Within our platform, learners can indicate whether they feel confident or unsure about their answer or indicate that they don’t know the answer. The process of thinking about how much you know has been proven to strengthen the pathways around that information, promoting stronger learning. 

2. Personalize the learning experience 

Another powerful way to engage learners is to make the learning experience personal. We’ve all experienced a time when an instructor elaborates in detail on a subject we already know — the eyelids tend to get droopy. However, we also understand the intrigue when hearing interesting information for the first time, too. 

Adaptive learning platforms — like Amplifire — tailor content based on individual learner’s needs. Since the experience is adapted to each learner, they don’t waste time learning what they can demonstrate they’ve mastered and can focus on only what they don’t already know.  

3. Carefully craft content 

A common misconception is that there should be a lot of images, videos, colors, illustrations, graphs, etc. to make lessons interesting. Neurologically speaking, oversaturating a lesson with superfluous content is detrimental to learning. On the other hand, intentionally designed content enriched with the right material can create an engaging experience for learners. 

When instructional design and eLearning come together, design intersects with science to create an engaging and effective learning experience. It does matter how you present information — learning outcomes are at stake. Even the format of a question matters. To make learning stick, Amplifire uses multiple-choice format (proven to be most the most effective question type) to present information, with illustrations, videos, and other materials on an as-needed basis. 

From the beginning, Amplifire has relied on innovative brain science to guide its product development to create the most effective learning and training solution, perfectly tailored to the way the human brain works. Learn more about how Amplifire helps people learn better and faster by checking out a demo.