How to Go about Engaging Passive Employee Learners

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There are two types of learners when it comes to employee learning; active and passive. An active learner is the learner who wants to actually learn the material and only makes up about 10% of your company. The passive learner is the one who will say they are learning even though they are not retaining the information presented to them. So how can you motivate your employees to want to learn? Below, find some ways to help motivate your passive learners to active learners.


One of the best ways to make your employees active learners is to make sure that the training you are offering is engaging. If the material is boring or does not spark their interest, they will blow it off and never think twice about it. This behavior will continue to enhance the passive learner attitude. Many companies find that making the learning more fun and also engaging means adding in games or activities to keep the mind stimulated and also break up the time throughout the day.


When presenting material to your employees, make sure that the language you are speaking is clear to them and that everyone in the room understands what you are saying. If only one person understands a term you are using and the others don’t, the others may tune you out until they understand what is going on again.

You can also speak the language of your employees by talking about recent events in the company or speaking about challenges that the team may face. Make yourself more personal to them and they will connect with you as a speaker and want to hear what you have to say.

Questions You can engage your employees in active learning by asking questions throughout the course. Even if you are presenting information in an eLearning format, ask a simple multiple choice question after a section to check and make sure people are paying attention. This will also gauge their mind for answers and allow them to feel as though they are part of the training and conversation. Experience Another way to help your employees become active learners is to make the training more human and relatable. This means that you allow other employees to contribute to the conversation and let employees learn from each other’s mistakes and accomplishments. Many employees like learning from other employees and they can better replicate and retain knowledge of a subject if they see others doing it first. Motivation Learning to motivate your employees is another way to make them active learners. Once your employees have the motivation to perform their job and also learn, they will then want to do it. Motivation can come in a wide variety of different forms and the most common is through promotion. If an employee wants to be promoted but they lack certain skills, they know they need these skills and if you are offering a course on them, the employee will participate and be an active learner. Effective Lastly, the course material and training that you are offering to your employees must be effective and it must relate to the job the employees perform. Employees are going to be passive learners if they feel like they are learning something they will never use. If the training directly relates to a problem that employees have been experiencing or it introduces a new skill that the employees do not have, the employees will become active learners and try to grasp the material. They will want to learn what you are offering and they will apply themselves. When your employees are active learners, they will retain the knowledge you have taught them and they will be able to apply it to their job. If all of your employees are passive learners, you need to figure out ways to engage them and make them active learners, otherwise they are not gaining any knowledge.
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog