Empathy has never been more important than it is right now. Most learners are stuck at home during the pandemic, and many are trying to juggle work and learning with family responsibilities, distractions, and anxiety about the health and well-being of family and friends. Developing a sense of community among participants will go a long way toward enhancing the learning experience and engaging the learners.
6 Ways To Foster Emotional Engagement Ways In Virtual Training
We often frame corporate training as a compulsory process: complete these requirements and move on to the next task. It’s a reinforcement of a “push” learning culture that is content-centric and an impersonal experience. Effective learning involves an emotional component, especially during these times of uncertainty. Employees want to do well on the job, but they also stress about the challenges that come with working from home and taking care of their families. The training function has an obligation to recognize these emotions, and facilitators can improve virtual training experiences by addressing them in their delivery approach.
It’s important to realize that the learning experience is changed by how learners feel about it. Facilitators should strive to enable individuals to feel good about the experience and even nurture a sense of community. To nurture emotional engagement, facilitators can:
Inspire confidence in the virtual classroom experience to empathize with learners
When a facilitator is fluent in the use of the tools, the virtual classroom fades into the background and learners start to ignore the technology. This makes them feel as if they are in a “real” learning environment, encouraging them to engage more fully in the training experience.
Demonstrate that all contributions and interactions are valued
When learners’ contributions are acknowledged and reinforced, they realize they are not anonymous and their participation in the learning environment matters. This helps them feel confident, and they tend to contribute even more. This is especially important in the virtual classroom, where learners rarely see the facilitator or their peers.
Nurture an environment in which learners feel safe about offering opinions and asking questions
When learners feel intellectually safe, they may feel more inclined to contribute to conversations and ask questions. Training should offer a safe space for making mistakes and questioning for understanding. Facilitators can contribute to the learners’ beliefs that their contributions have value, even if they miss the mark.
Create an environment where individuals enjoy learning
When learners enjoy themselves, they feel better about being part of the experience. Spark interest! Spread joy! Even technical training can include an element of fun. Advanced facilitators can inject passion into their delivery and the environment to create a more exciting event.
Encourage a community among learners
When relationships start to build between learners, there is an increased likelihood that they will work cooperatively within the learning experience to make it more effective for themselves. Learners “get outside of their own heads” and start thinking about “we the learners” within the learning experience. They will build on each other’s contributions, develop and articulate
positive contributions, and seek to adapt the materials to both themselves and the entire class.
Bolster emotional engagement by reinforcing why the content is important
When learners recognize and internalize why certain content is important, they feel good about participating and are more open to learning. The importance of content produces a positive emotional response because the learner feels that if the content is important, the fact that they’re in the classroom learning it means they are important as well. In this sense, training assumes the role of reward and recognition for the learner.
Intellectual and environmental engagement are powerful in modern learning. But nurturing emotional engagement increases their effectiveness and effect by personalizing the experience. Download the eBook Trainer’s Guide: Finding Success In Virtual Training for more insider tips to convert your classroom training and engage remote learners.