Elearning engagement: 5 little factors that can make a huge difference

In this post we talk about the ‘holy grail’ of e-learning: Engagement. Here are 5 actionable things that can help you make a big difference to your learners.

Just hit play below to find out more!

Read the transcription here:

Hi, this is Patrick Dunn for the Elucidat blog.

So, engaging our learners… it’s the Holy Grail. Well, isn’t it?

If we don’t achieve engagement of our learners, if we don’t interest them in what we’ve produced, then they won’t learn anything.

Over the years I’ve produced a model called CREAM. C-R-E-A-M… which I’m going to take you through, and it stands for:

  • C for control
  • R for relevance
  • E for emotion
  • A for action
  • M for multi-media


Learners need to feel that they are in control. Tweet this!

It doesn’t matter how good your content is, how important your content is or how interesting your content is, if a person doesn’t feel that they can take control of what they’re doing they may well disconnect.

Now a lot of that has to do with creating a navigable interface, an easy to use interface. A lot of that has also to do with how much you chunk information.

So, don’t for example, create a module where you have 250 pages all in a row, and you have a page indicator on the screen that says, “This is screen 1 of 250.” that is a sure way of making people feel that they are not controlling things.

It’s also about how you use, and how you present media. For example, if you have a piece of video, don’t make it too long and make sure that a user can start and stop it and move through the video very easily. The same applies to audio and to animation. Any type of media that the learner needs to start and stop or maybe have to rewind and consider.

So, make sure you give your learners control.


With the internet absolutely everywhere now, people are increasingly impatient and picky about what it is that they are presented with. They demand relevance. So they are going to be asking things like, “Why am I reading this?”, “Why is this piece of information here?”, and if they don’t find it relevant, they’ll disconnect.

Now, with authoring tools it used to be quite difficult to ensure that content, for example, was always up-to-date, and that exactly the right piece of information got to the right person and it was because the way e-learning used to be developed and published, and so on.

With network and fully cloud-based tools, like Elucidat, it’s actually very easy to make sure that through your team that works continuously online, you’re constantly updating content to ensure relevance.

However sometimes the relevance of what you’re doing may not be immediately obvious to all your learners so you have to emphasize the WIIFMs, the what’s-in-it-for-me. Something that I’ve seen quite a few times is that in a course you’ll introduce WIIFM for once and forget all about it. Now the way that this really should work is that you’re constantly reminding through creative, interesting, interactive ways why your content is relevant to your learners.

So, ensure relevance.


Our emotions and our memories are very closely connected.

So, in your e-elearning, use stories. Use surprise. Use shock tactics if you can. Let your learners try things out and fail safely so that they can remember what it is that they’re learning more clearly. Of course the trick is to find out what it is that engages your particular audience’s emotions. That’s really important.

So, an online tool that’s very easy to update like Elucidat is tremendously useful because you can test what you’re doing iteratively, repetitively through prototypes with your audience.

So try and find out what it is that connects emotionally with your learners.


People learn so much better when they take action, when they’re active rather than passive. We know that very well.

So, in your e-learning, make that effort to set your people with challenges that are relevant to their work tasks and relevant to their particular needs and get them to take action against these challenges.

Use interactions not just to divide information to reveal some piece of text because you clicked on a box. Think about what affects your learner, what the challenges are, what actions they can take and then show them the consequences, or explain to them the consequences of the actions they’ve taken.

So, taking action is very important.


We’ve known for many years that a multi-sensory environment in which many senses are stimulated at once is a much better way to learn… it’s a much better environment to learn in than if only one sense is being stimulated.

So, in e-learning make sure that you use different media and in different combinations. Tweet this!

Use audio to explain difficult processes or to provide a comforting human voice. Use video to show a human face or to create impact or grab attention. Use animation to build-up difficult concepts. But above all, combine these in an appropriate way that doesn’t distract. Combine these to create a multi-sensory environment through multi-media.


So, that’s it for now.

The CREAM model I have found over quite a long time is really a nice way of making sure that I produce learning that engages people.

C stands for control, R is relevance, E is emotion, A is action, M is multi-media.

Thanks very much for watching, I’ll see you next time.

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