Building Learner Engagement

If you build it, will they come? 

When it comes to learning content, that is definitely not the case. Too often, the learning function relies on compliance and compulsion to ensure learners complete the learning programs they create. Yet, not a lot of thought goes into how engaging the material is.

Learner engagement is critical. Even if an employee is required to finish a course, if they aren’t engaged in the content, the knowledge, skills or behaviors presented to them are not very likely to stick. Even though the company can check off the completion box, the outcomes are not being achieved.

Brandon Hall Group research consistently shows that when learning programs are learner-focused, they achieve better results. Engaging programs have a stronger impact on time to productivity, individual performance and overall employee engagement. These learner experiences are more relevant and contextual and learners can clearly see the expected outcomes from the program. This allows learners to make the connection between themselves, the learning and the overall goals of the business.

Another benefit of strong learner engagement is the perception of learning itself. If employees are forced to take part in boring, irrelevant programs, they will invariably view all subsequent programs with suspicion. Learning will be viewed as a burden; an obstacle to the day’s work, making the achievement of learning’s goals even more difficult.

Creating engaging programs is easier said than done. It requires understanding the learning audiences and desired outcomes. It can often be helpful to look externally for partners specializing in this challenge. They have experience in what works — and what doesn’t — for a wide variety of learning audiences and can draw upon that to help create truly engaging, impactful programs. 

Brandon Hall Group Smartchoice Platinum Preferred Provider EI Design has 20 years’ experience and is exceedingly focused on the connection between learning and performance. They use a highly adaptable development framework that helps them design within tight timelines, too. They specialize in creating immersive learning that is highly engaging and designed to change behavior and drive performance. EI Design’s creative instructional design approach allows them to create the kind of learner experience our research shows to have a strong impact. As they put it, their content has strong “learnability,” meaning learners can quickly gain the knowledge and skills they need, as well as retain it over time.

If your organization has learner engagement needs, take a look at EI Design and you will see why they’ve won so many Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards.

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

For information on Brandon Hall Group’s research and how we can assist your organization, please visit

Become a Brandon Hall Group member!

We are a human capital management research and advisory firm with more than 10,000 clients globally. For over 27 years, we have been delivering research-based solutions that empower excellence in organizations around the world. Our vision is to inspire a better workplace experience. Becoming a Brandon Hall Group member means our team joins your team. Membership provides a host of resources and services and – most importantly — a seasoned team of thought leaders and client support professionals dedicated to your success.

Click here for more information and to sign up for a free trial membership.

Click here for information on Brandon Hall Group’s Professional Certification Program

Like what you see? Share with a friend.

Mike Cooke



Stay connected

Get notified for upcoming news subscribing

Related Content

Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.