If your organization has a required annual training session for employees, you are probably fairly familiar with the collective groan.

The trouble with these repeat trainings is that when the course and its material doesn’t change each year, employees come to dread their eLearning courses. It’s like being forced to watch an educational program you’ve already seen over and over again. Minds drift, and eyes droop.

So maybe you’ve asked yourself, “How can I make my eLearning course more engaging and interesting?”

One of the beautiful things about eLearning is its agility—it can be modified and updated fairly simply (and without incurring the major printing costs associated with re-working a paper-based course.)

Let’s look at a few ways you can re-boot interest in your eLearning training.

Use Storytelling to Teach

Story-based training helps learners retain information by forming logical connections to material. Stories also help our brains organize and break down important pieces of material into smaller chunks using event structure perception.

Plus, stories are easily interchangeable. There are endless possibilities for teaching with stories based around different characters, situations, and choices using branched scenarios.

Let Learners Get (Virtually) Hands-On

You can retain a higher level of your trainees attention if you use the “Tell me, Show Me, Let Me” approach. No one likes to have information thrown at them—it’s much more interesting if you can apply the information in the form of a game, a quiz, or experimentation with trial and error.

You can re-tool these engaging activities to teach the same concepts but with new challenges so the learners don’t get bored (or outsmart the game by memorizing actions.)

Include Rewards

Studies show that competition is a powerful motivator within learning. Because of this, incorporating challenges that let learners earn badges or reach different levels increases their motivation to apply themselves and actually learn the concepts being taught.

Rewards earned within the course can also have an impact in the actual work environment. For example, if 95% of the trainees score better than 85% on a course test (post eLearning), you could reward them with a free lunch, after work social hour, or an in-office celebration. Who doesn’t love free food?

Make it Relevant

Include situations and scenarios within your eLearning course that the trainee can actually relate to. These may need to be re-evaluated and updated on an annual basis if they are no longer relevant (or if there are better examples that could be tied in.)

One of the easiest ways to get your learners to tune you out is to re-teach old, outdated information with concepts and situations that no longer apply to their real-life jobs. Be sure your eLearning course looks and feels relevant to the target user.

Increased Engagement means Effective eLearning

So how do you answer that pesky question, “How can I make my eLearning course more engaging and interesting?”

If you can be sure your training covers these four simple bases, your employees might even enjoy their annual eLearning session.

When employees have the proper on-going education, it makes them feel valued. It shows that the company cares about its employees having the right tools and training to do their jobs well. Make it worth their while by crafting a few adjustments to annual training materials—it’s worth the investment.