What is Learner Engagement in Employee Training?

Designing Digitally


Learner Engagement

Let’s explore the meaning and value of learner engagement in a corporate training context.  

To achieve and retain employee attention throughout a training course, we must first delineate some basic concepts. We’ll need to illustrate the engaged learners’ behavior, decide whether we need to mix in fun elements and demonstrate how we can effectively use the first three types of engagement: Intellectual, Emotional, and Behavioral.

Engaged Learner Behavior

There is a direct relationship between workplace employee engagement and employee engagement with training. An employee who is engaged with their job role is more productive, efficient, and innovative. Continuing education training is an essential element that leads to employee engagement. Thus, a staff member who is engaged in their job role and the training courses you provide becomes one of your greatest assets for business growth.

Aside from building an L&D culture in your organization, you must also pay attention to the visible cues engaged learners display during the training process. An employee who is involved with the course is committed to achieving optimal results and looks to increase job productivity will:

॰ Be proactive during their learning process

॰ Actively participate in course challenges and assignments

॰ Put sufficient effort in to help them succeed

॰ Maintain excitement and motivation

॰ Feel inspiration and enjoyment

Engagement and Fun

Enjoying the course content and activities can have a lot to do with how fun the learning experience is. Fun elements may come in the form of videos, leaderboards, contests, or friendly competition. While employee engagement in training is essential, fun is often secondary. Employees that actively engage with their learning process might enjoy fun videos, but this is not the underlying reason for their educational growth; therefore, entertaining elements are often a bonus for an already engaging training experience.

The 3 Main Types of Online Learner Engagement

Learners engage with learning content on various levels. Three main engagement types are present in an online learning setting: Intellectual, Emotional, and Behavioral. Also, due to technological advancements and the inherent sociability of human beings, Social Engagement has become the fourth most crucial element of engagement in educational modules.

Employees who engage in learning on an intellectual level are more efficient in absorbing and reproducing new information. They are also more likely to create unique learning mechanisms and incorporate them into their learning styles.

Emotional Engagement concerns the level of connectivity learners experience during the course. Feeling connected with other learners and with the content reduces anxiety and keeps employees focused and engaged in learning.

Behavioral Engagement alone is often insufficient to achieve internalized skills and knowledge and is often paired with Intellectual and Emotional Engagement. While attendance and punctuality are essential skills, this type of engagement is secondary to the above types of engagement. 

To ensure your training program achieves all three main engagement types, we should:

॰ Devise a wholesome, flexible, and consistent training course

॰ Base your training implementation style on learner needs and goals

॰ Create a robust learner support system

॰ Include social learning

॰ Observe and collect data on learner course interaction

॰ Analyze and adjust learning content to better match employee learning styles

Social Engagement Counts

In most learning contexts and business-training frameworks, teaching others helps cement freshly acquired information. This is where Social Engagement comes in handy. Discussion forums, collaborative work, and other forms of knowledge exchange help solidify and augment learner engagement. Social Engagement allows learners to share what they’ve learned, dissect complex topics, and fill knowledge gaps by learning from their peers. Your training courses should facilitate a balanced learning environment in which Intellectual, Emotional, and Social Engagement can flow organically. 


Learner engagement is a huge part of training success. To explore this topic in more depth and understand the true benefits that learner engagement can bring to your employee development, download the full eBook. If you would like to talk with our team about online learning strategies and how we can help you grow through custom training, get in touch today!

Please note this article was updated by our team on 5/25/2021.