How Marketing Insights Can Increase eLearning Engagement

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How Marketing Insights Can Increase eLearning Engagement

We asked Issy Nancarrow
 MD, Campaign Learning, and Consultant, The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), to offer her perspective on marketing insights helping increase eLearning engagement.

A world where providing great eLearning ensures staff are engaged, well trained and meet compliance standards is sadly not a reality. As marketing experts, we understand that having a great product does not ensure business success and the same can be seen in training and development. Engagement with learning resources is far from automatic and often drops off over time.

There are some simple steps you can take to increase learner engagement, much like improving sales funnels to improve business performance. We’ve taken our expertise in marketing and applied it to the learning function to show you how you can increase staff engagement with learning resources, including eLearning.

Understanding the best marketing practices used to engage and inspire action and behavior change in consumers is a great way to get more clicks on your courses. Employing these five steps should help you to excel.


Top of the list is ensuring your content is easily findable. A really good search function is crucial (and surprisingly rare). Make sure your staff knows that finding what they need is easy or they are likely to look somewhere else that’s more user-friendly and intuitive like Google. When staff struggle to find relevant content due to a poor search function they will quickly move on to another task or search for information elsewhere. This can lead to problems when that information is outdated or misaligned with your brand message.

Improving the search functionality of your learning platform may be as simple as tagging resources appropriately or updating categories so that they are aligned with job roles and tasks. It is helpful to consider what staff may be searching for when looking for a course or resource, and include relevant keywords so that the right content appears. It is also beneficial to consider what challenges they might be facing that has prompted them to seek support.

Make sure that you ask for feedback from staff on their user-experience and to carry out thorough and robust testing so that you understand how everything works and where frustrations may be felt.


Ease of access is a big hurdle for any learning platform. If users cannot easily access the information they require they are likely to disengage.

Again, thorough testing of your system and some feedback from learners will highlight where problems are. In particular, you should investigate how many clicks your learners have to make before the course begins. Reducing the number of clicks it takes to reach the course content and ensuring your systems navigation is intuitive can significantly increase engagement.

When considering user-experience you should also have an understanding of where and when learners are accessing content. What devices are they using, can they access learning content on the move or only in the office? Navigational elements like buttons and arrows can be too small or misplaced on mobile devices, make sure they are clear and clickable, and that they appear in appropriate places. If you’re talking about a course, provide a link to it rather than making learners search for content they’re interested in.


Have you noticed how online shops and popular content websites provide recommendations? If your system can manage playlists and provide user recommendations based on activity, job role or categories then you can create a learning journey that keeps staff engaged.

Recommendations can not only be based on job roles, departments or activity within the system but can also be responsive to changing business priorities and needs including change initiatives.

Smart use of this kind of functionality can make a huge difference to staff performance and therefore business performance. In marketing, it is common to provide recommendations and content that builds relationships with consumers through a well thought out campaign. The stages of such a campaign can be automated and should create a funnel that first promotes awareness, then creates interest and finally inspires action. Think about the milestones on the journey from awareness to interest and action and you’ll see the moments where you could add messaging for recommendations to turn disinterested learners into active, engaged learners.


Also, a common phrase in marketing, points-of-contact or touch points are anytime a learner or potential learner comes in contact with your training or messaging –before, during, or after they learn something from you.

What channels do you use to communicate with your staff? Are you engaging with them in person, through email, intranet or other written communications? Increasing the different ways in which you connect with your learners can help to embed ideas and build awareness of learning initiatives as well as allowing you to employ micro-learning and reminders to increase knowledge retention. Not only does this encourage engagement, but it also has the potential to make your learning initiatives more effective.

To ensure that you are utilizing all potential points-of-contact with your learners it is important to review and identify where the gaps are and work towards creating a diverse campaign to support interest and engagement with your learning resources.

The points-of-contact available to you may range from emails, intranet, social networks modern digital displays or posters in the office. If you limit yourself by communicating only via email or intranet you are missing out on a lot of opportunities to reach your learners.


Having identified all the ways that you can get your message to learners, it may be time to make sure that message is targeted and personalized so that it resonates with each member of your team.

Obviously, you can’t spend all day writing personal messaging to each potential learner, but you can use some convenient marketing tools to target specific groups with bespoke messages that are highly relevant and keep your communications clean and on-point.

Marketing automation systems have significantly more functionality than your work email and allow you to track user engagement as well as segment lists to send more relevant communications. There are some good free options to help you in sending out more engaging promotional emails, content recommendations or even drip feed content. Tools that we recommend include Mailchimp, Drip or Leadsius; these all allow for better targeting in your communications.

These tools can also help you to create a string of messages that create the learner journey and provide reminders that point to appropriate resources. With the right tools, you can create a campaign that builds on your message and target that message – as much as possible – to individuals or groups of people you need to engage.