Engaging Your Learners: ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM)

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Establishing the ‘what’s in it for me‘ (aka WIIFM) for your audience is an important marketing and learner engagement tactic. After all, this question drives almost every decision we make, from what product to buy to whether to bother with the latest employee training!

As such, WIIFM is the subconscious mantra that guides our every action. This makes it an essential tactic in the current L&D, working and consumer environments.

Being learner engagement experts, we want to focus on the WIIFM of training. Let’s have a look!

‘What’s In It For Me’ (WIIFM) In Employee Training

To ensure your employees are fully committed to their training, the content must help them see a purpose. You need to be prepared to answer the big question ‘what’s in it for me?’.

As such, you should focus on creating your training programmes with WIIFM in mind. By designing your training content in a way that addresses this question, you can ensure employee buy-in.

After all, your employees are more likely to be engaged in their activities if they understand the WIIFM. Even the typically most boring topics, like compliance, will get a new purpose if your employees comprehend the value of their efforts.

But how can you convey this to your learners?

5 Ways To Answer ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM)

Answering the question at the start and throughout your training course or unit will help you to keep your learners engaged and interested in their training.

1. Highlight the Benefits of Training

Employees should be able to see the direct relationship between training and success. They shouldn’t have to wonder if learning new things will benefit them – this should be made explicitly clear!

The benefits could be anything from simply doing your day job better, to lowering stress levels, to achieving that dream promotion!

You can convey that value by taking advantage of your personal experiences. For instance, describe to your learners how you personally have used the content successfully.

Not only will this help your learners understand the benefits of their training course, it can also help you to strengthen your credibility as an instructor.

Sharing industry-relevant examples is also a good way to make sure your learners understand how this course content is fitting to them and their needs. You can do this by presenting some interesting case studies.

And, of course, don’t forget to drop a fact or stat every now and then! If your learners know that 90% of your previous learners advanced 3x faster in their careers, you are sure to make an impact.

Whatever the benefits are, pack your training full of Epic Meaning by communicating how it benefits both your employee’s personal goals and the wider company mission. This way they can immediately see how their personal development benefits them, the team and the whole organisation (the world, the universe!).

2. Offer Rewards and RecognitionTrophy

To be able to successfully communicate the training value, you need to make sure there’s a tasty offer on the table! Research shows that development and career opportunities are the top work motivators for modern employees.

With this in mind, continuous skills development is an important training benefit to communicate. Make the training value even clearer by telling staff how their new skills will benefit their current job and career prospects.

Will the training outcomes make their day job easier? Will it take them one step closer to that coveted accreditation or new career challenge?

You could also inspire staff to progress through course content by combining training modules into Levels within a curriculum. You could even add an extra element of reward and recognition within the learning platform by awarding virtual Experience Points, Badges and Certificates for completion of each level!

3. Engage Learners With Online Learning

‘What’s in it for me?’ is not always about what we get out of doing something. Instead, it can be about how something makes us feel while doing it.

We are drawn to what makes us feel good and gets our reward receptors buzzing. On the other hand, we avoid what makes us feel bad!

It’s the same when it comes to training! Most people would much rather slice virtual watermelons (true Fruit Ninja style) than do some traditional boring online learning. Why? Because we love to have fun and compete for that all-time high score. We don’t like reams of dull text and stock images!

As such, to engage your learners, inject your training with that fruity feel-good factor! This good stuff could come in the form of engaging gamification that rewards learners with Experience Points (XP) and Badges as they progress.

Or it could be as simple as building a gripping narrative into your course content, to keep learners intrigued and inspired. After all, narrative often makes it easier for us to remember and share what we have learned.

Alternatively, you could up the ante, by building your online training around a meaningful game template to really bring the content to life. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure that your training is as engaging as it can be. Your employees might even notice that they are having fun while completing their learning units!

4. Provide a Platform For Social Success

Social Learning is an excellent way to answer WIIFM 'What's in it for me'

Fun is all well and good…and super engaging, but do you know what’s better? Having fun together, sharing our success and a healthy dose of competition!

And that’s why we are strong advocates of social learning! Your can use various social features on your learning management system (LMS) to awaken your learners’ social butterflies. These tools help you to celebrate success while tapping into their competitive streaks.

How? Encourage your employees to get talking on the LMS message boards about their training progress and share what works for them. Learners can celebrate their new skills and show off their training rewards in their LMS trophy cabinet.

And why not raise the bar and invite learners to compete for top spot on the LMS learner Leaderboard? This is a chance for all those accumulating XP to have a real benefit!

5. Create an Effective Learning Culture

Don’t wait until it’s time for some all-important compulsory training to start communicating the development benefits. Instead, embed the values of training into a strong company learning culture.

Make continuous employee development a company-wide value that everyone understands!

You can achieve this by putting learning and development awareness at the heart of your company onboarding programme.

This way, you can win newbies over to the value of training from day one and encourage real behaviour change. For example, offer new starters engaging online training and learning apps that help them settle in and learn the ropes!

Make the learning objectives and expectations run throughout the employee experience from inductions and one-to-ones, to promotions and exit-interviews. Tying the learning culture into every stage of the employee life cycle will make training a normal and valuable part of every day.

Final Words

Next time your learners ask the WIIFM question, focus on these five tactics! They will enlighten your employees to the benefits and give plenty of reasons why their training programme is a positive investment!

They will soon see that to succeed, and have fun along the way, they need to get learning! And that, ultimately, leads to a more engaged and productive employee. It’s a win-win situation!

Are you struggling to craft effective online learning courses?

Our ‘Ultimate eLearning Instructional Design Guidebook‘ will give you all the tools you need!

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