You are on your way to designing a new eCourse, or you’re about to implement a new LMS and start reaping the rewards with all the fancy-shmancy features and tools, but there is something missing in the recipe. There is an important consideration that somehow rarely gets a bigger vote when creating eLearning. Still, it could mean the difference between a job-well-done and a John-gets-none. Yes, we’re talking about what motivates us at the workplace.  About how impactful the eLearning would be.

Let’s talk about our motivation weaponry. Enterprise motivation usually revolves around the reward type – pay, bonuses, praise, promotions, more responsibilities and so on. Looking at this bunch though we find a major culprit – they are almost entirely extrinsic motivators. All of them compensations to encourage people to work. They are not things that are about the inherent joy and pleasure and engagement of the work – they are external rewards that are designed as exactly that – compensation. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s the core element of the way most people are motivated to do their jobs. We’re looking to go beyond them though. 

To design an engaging activity we have to rely on intrinsic motivation. So what are the tools that can help us get there? Here’s a few:

Of course getting better at something can always be tied to extrinsic motivation – getting a better job or a higher salary, but skill development is also about problem solving and the thrill of figuring out new things. So Product Training for example should be designed to say “We want to help you learn how to be better at this job, how to grasp different aspects of this job and how to be effective in a way that will move you up your expertise path and then potentially help you achieve success in your career.”

What’s the value of information to an employee? Well, employees don’t always know how they’re doing. Annual or semi-annual performance interviews are very far from the day-to-day process of our work. We do get feedback from our colleagues and our boss, but many employees do not have any sense about the quality of their work and certainly no ability to turn that back around and take advantage of situations where they’re doing a good job. Another kind of information is letting everyone know the performance level of their co-workers. It will activate their competitive instincts and desire to chase an improvement.

There are things that employees do in a company sometimes that are not necessarily about their job. Still, they’re doing something that is good for the company. They usually want to take pride in their work and their company and be a good corporate citizen. Contribution is a really powerful motivational tool.

What’s the role of fun in the workplace? It varies from company to company, but generally it promotes a friendlier environment, team work, etc. One thing is for sure – there are opportunities to specifically use fun to achieve direct workplace benefits. It often is a synonym for engagement. For example gamifying an eLearning project can be a project on its own but it’s well worth the investment.

In the end motivation will have to be an empirical part of design as it is very hard to predict what would actually work for each company, but the benefits are worthwhile. 

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