Teaching or training adults can be very different from what you experienced in grade school. The process for adult learners is similar in concept, but often requires a different approach to ensure all of their mental needs are met.

So how do you motivate adult learners so that the information in your eLearning course is retained? Here are a few ways you can enhance your eLearning to make it more adult-friendly.

Incorporate Pop Culture or Humor

Adult learners can pick up on subtle instances of humor that add to the overall learning experience. A little chuckle goes a long way (as long as its not distracting.) Tie in a pun every now and then to keep your learners interested.

Make it a Game

Adding game elements (something more engaging than the tired Jeopardy simulations) is a great way to increase engagement and tap into the adult mind’s love for a good skill test. Any time you can incorporate a relevant challenge, it’s a good idea.

Use Visuals

Words and audio are great, but most adult learners need a strong visual element for retention as well. Use visuals that are consistent throughout the course and have a cohesive style (that add to the overall learning.)

Relevant Examples

Incorporate examples that are going to be relevant to your learners’ actual jobs and workplace. Reinforce company branding, and include actual scenarios that could happen on the job.

Element of Mystery

Your course overview shouldn’t give away everything that’s inside the course material. Keep a sense of anticipation by leaving an element of mystery. Your adult learners will be surprised and interested when not everything is laid out before them.

Let your SMEs Shine

Adults like to learn from experts—especially when they can see their faces and hear their voices. Let your SME make appearances in video and audio so the learners can build a relationship of trust with the expert.

Failure Works

Situations that let your adult learners fail make for great learning experiences. When the outcome is negative, take the time to explain what went wrong and how they can correct it next time.

Let Them Be Curious

A course that lets an adult learner explore content on their own fosters a sense of curiosity that improves engagement and overall interest. Interactive infographics, drag and drop features, and clickable graphics make the experience more fun.

Encourage Conversation

Adult learners thrive when they can troubleshoot with each other, ask questions, and compare their experiences with others. Allow these interactions to happen through blended learning courses.

Adult Learners: Know Your Audience

The bottom line: You need to make your content relevant for the age range and roles of your learners. The best approach varies depending on the situation, but think about how you like to digest information and incorporate those elements into your next course. There are so many options that it might be hard to choose which ones to include.