Four ways to use behavioural learning in an eLearning strategy

Promoting higher-order thinking requires a comprehensive approach to eLearning. More than technology, a program that includes behavioural learning can help your business increase the success and quality of learning among employees.

One of the most important factors to consider when creating a training strategy for a particular topic or module is to identify the learning method that will help your learners develop most effectively.

At its most basic, behavioural learning is a form of gentle conditioning – learners receive positive responses or outcomes by changing their behaviour.

You may be more familiar with this method of learning than you think. Behavioural learning is often used in weight-loss programs and smoking cessation. In these examples, the learning process is broken down into achievable steps with an emphasis on reinforcing positive developments at each stage until the desired behaviour becomes automatic.

Many argue that behaviourism is embedded within us from childhood and so, although you may not think it’s a natural fit, behaviourism is well suited to eLearning. Here are a handful of ways you can use behavioural learning techniques to improve eLearning initiatives.

  1. Set interactive tasks

A successful lesson presents information, reinforces it and then checks that learners have understood and retained that lesson. You can use behavioural theory to teach and test in this way by setting interactive activities in your coursework. Online games are a way that behavioural methods can be used to convey the preferred course of action – play the game right and win.

  1. Introduce real-world scenarios

Any time we present content to learners, the hope is that it will be absorbed. Giving them the chance to apply that knowledge in a practical manner in realistic situations helps participants to remember what you are teaching them. In fact, renowned educationist Edgar Dale found that people generally remember 70 per cent of what they say and write, and 90 per cent of what they do. In an eLearning setting, offering participants the opportunity to apply their knowledge to realistic scenarios can help them retain the lesson and apply it in their work.

  1. Steer learners towards best practice

 Try challenging learners to choose options that best represent your organisational goals. This is not only a good way to make sure employees use your favoured systems, but can also help you track how they respond to situations and what their natural inclinations are. This can be invaluable for assessment and future learning.

  1. Create context for employees

Providing context can help learners generate associations that aid in drawing parallels to similar situations that would require the same approach. A behaviourist approach might involve performing drill tasks and matching exercises in eLearning activities that can make it easier for learners to form associations.

eLearning hasn’t always involved behavioural elements, but learning management systems (LMS) and similar platforms do lend themselves well to the practice. If you’d like to learn more about how eLearning and LMS can help you contend with coming trends in human resources, read our ebook, How to refine eLearning for ageing and contingent workforces.