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The Art of Designing Beautiful Learning Experiences: A Guide to Improving Engagement and Retention

To ensure that your professional development content has a lasting impact, it's crucial to create engaging and visually appealing learning experiences. While it may seem like providing relevant information at the right time is enough, effective learning goes beyond that. It involves fostering the right learning habits that truly stick. By designing meaningful and immersive learning experiences, you can help people not only acquire new knowledge but also integrate it into their work and personal lives, resulting in lasting growth and development.

What people need is engaging learner experiences that help them build effective learning patterns and real journeys that they can be a part of. Let’s understand how to design beautiful learning experiences on a foundational level.  

Discover the needs of your audience 

To create an effective learning experience, it's crucial to first understand your audience and their unique needs. Everyone has different goals when it comes to learning, and individuals may be starting from different points and have different end goals. This requires thorough research to identify the challenges and pain points that your audience is currently facing. By gaining a deep understanding of their current resources and learning habits, you can design a tailored learning experience that meets their specific needs. With this information, you can create learning objectives that are relevant and meaningful to your audience, ensuring that your content is engaging, effective, and meets the needs of each individual.

Create compelling outcomes of the learning experiences

When building learning experiences, it is important to create compelling outcomes that are real and relevant for individuals. People must be able to understand the importance of the experience in their learning journey. This gives them a sense of control over how they can proceed with the learning journey. They get a chance to understand what they can expect from the experience and how it can help them upskill themselves. 

Determine the structure

A critical component of designing an effective learning experience is its structure. Unfortunately, this aspect is often overlooked. In the pursuit of delivering top-notch content, many learning leaders fail to prioritise the course structure. However, a well-structured course can be inspiring and provide individuals with challenges that help them learn how to overcome real-life situations. Effective organisation and structure are essential to ensure that the learning experience delivers the desired outcomes. By designing a clear and logical course structure, you can ensure that people progress through the content in a way that maximises engagement, retention, and practical application of new knowledge and skills. 

Create an inclusive learning experience for everyone

As you design your professional development content, it's essential to recognise that people have diverse learning styles and preferences. To ensure that your content is engaging and effective for everyone, it's important to cater to each individual and not just a small minority. This requires extensive research and the creation of learning experiences tailored to the different personas you've identified. By designing an inclusive and effective learning experience, you can continuously make efforts to understand the changing needs of individuals and ensure that your platform is meeting their unique requirements. This involves using a platform that is easy to navigate, intuitive, and flexible enough to adapt to different learning styles. By doing so, you can create an engaging and dynamic learning environment that enables each individual to achieve their professional development goals.

Encourage social engagement

Social engagement is one of the most effective ways to facilitate learning. Studies have shown that engagement rates improve significantly when people feel part of a community or group. Creating opportunities for people to collaborate and engage with others can help improve engagement and retention. To achieve this, consider creating actionable paths that encourage individuals to actively participate in group discussions or collaborative activities. By doing so, you can create a sense of community that motivates people and fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Now that we've explored the foundations of designing effective learning experiences, let's delve deeper and examine strategies for improving user engagement and retention. 

A Guide to Improving Engagement and Retention

When it comes to learning, engagement can be defined as the measure of whether or not an individual has been provided with the right resources to keep them motivated throughout their learning journey. Engagement is often measured by aspects like the number of active monthly and weekly users, the amount of time spent, the sign-up rates, course completion and dropout rates, the time spent learning and community interactions. 

In addition to engaging people, retaining them is also equally important. Retaining people for your professional development business takes time and effort. The factors that affect retention are interest or motivation to learn, multiple channels of learning, integrating real-world context and using mixed formats to retain people and their interests. 

If you want to improve engagement and retention, it is important to understand and fulfil their learning needs with the right learning experiences. Here’s a simple four-step guide on driving engagement and retaining individuals to help you get started.

Personalise learning experience

Learning is never ‘one size fits all’. Like mentioned earlier, different people have different needs and expectations. Personalised learning experiences aim on customising learning based on the strengths, needs, skills and interests of every person. This can be achieved by providing them with personalised learning plans and actionable paths to help them achieve their learning goals. Help individuals set short-term and long-term goals in order to build an automated learning plan that is personalised based on their preferences. This approach engages people while giving them a sense of autonomy over their learning journey. 

Relevant content

Content is the most important aspect of any learning experience. Understanding individuals' habits helps you understand what kind of content is relevant and what is not. So, focus on creating personalised learning experiences for each persona. Different people are engaged by different kinds of content. Therefore building media-rich and relevant learning experiences for different audiences helps you drive retention. 

Encourage community learning

A supportive and collaborative learning environment instils a sense of belonging in individuals, which keeps them engaged and helps them retain knowledge easily. Being a part of a learning community allows people to share ideas, perspectives and knowledge. It gives individuals an opportunity to take initiative, collaborate and implement critical thinking when learning. Encouraging community learning helps people reflect upon themselves and improves their levels of engagement. 

Foster gamification

Did you know that companies using game-based learning reported a 60% increase in employee engagement? Gamifying learning increases learning time and active participation. It allows people to engage and learn while making their learning journey enjoyable proactively. Fostering gamification when creating learning experiences helps you improve engagement and keep people coming back for more enjoyable learning experiences, driving retention.

Find out more about Mindset, get in touch with our team. We’re here to talk. 

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