Just because your e-learning course is finished doesn’t mean you should forget about your learners! To maintain the link and build up an engaged community, don’t neglect your post-training communication. The first and most important step is to develop a sense of community during the e-learning. Create groups, encourage team work and simplify exchanges. Ask your learners to produce the deliverables by association. Propose peer-to-peer evaluation. Encourage peer-to-peer learning. Connect trainees through storytelling, feedback and debates. Your group of learners will feel that they are part of a close-knit community.
‘Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’
It is through this sense of belonging that you will encourage emulation. Think about alumni, groups of former students and friendships formed during training courses. People stay in touch, regardless of what binds them together, because they shared more than just a learning experience. As a trainer, you have the power to forge this kind of link. Discover the various ways of achieving your aims.
Encourage discussion during the course
The conclusion stage is ideal: it enables you to build a bridge between the present (the course) and the future. Your e-learning captures your learners’ attention: take advantage of it to slip in important information such as contact details for after the course. On your conclusion screen, indicate your contact details and social networks and invite learners to join your platforms.
You can also include these points in a downloadable document. This way, your participants will never lose track of your contact details.
Carry on conversations on social media
No doubt you are present on social media in order to increase your visibility. Why not use it as a tool to support your community? Social networks are universal and are used by the vast majority of your learners. They are also versatile and offer formats to meet your every need (Group, Page, Hashtag, etc.). They are open and facilitate exchanges and the sharing of opinions.
Use social media to grow your community. Connect former participants and recent learners.
Drive your community through surveys, questions, FAQs and news in connection with the topic of their course.
You can create as many communities as you want on social media. While it may be simpler to separate groups according to topics, feel free to organize your platforms however you wish.
Creating a special space for your trainees requires minimal effort. However, to ensure your actions have a lasting impact, you will need to communicate with your learners on a regular basis. If the opportunity arises, you can even designate certain learners as ambassadors. They will help you to pass on messages and moderate comments.
Create a community on your website
Do you have a space of your own? Why not set up a forum? This is the perfect space for relaxed discussion. You control what is said, are informed of new messages and can organize your platform however you see fit.
If the forum format is not ideal for you, you can start a blog. This has two advantages: it helps boost the visibility of your website and enables you to maintain a link with your learners. They can share with you their thoughts and questions via the comments section. You have the necessary space to respond and encourage the dialogue.
Feel free to use your blog to propose questionnaires and encourage comments. Bring your platform to life with the help of your learners. Highlight their questions and comments and create content based on their reflections.
These platforms are easier to create than it might seem. Use tools to facilitate the task.
Inform your learners
If you are more comfortable with unilateral communications or you don’t have time to manage a community, you can also maintain the link via a newsletter or e-mail campaign. The connection will not be between learners but between you and your trainees.
Give them information relating to their field or the theme of their course. Present further e-learning courses that may interest them, go deeper into an idea or module or update their knowledge.
Conduct a follow-up course
How better to stay in touch than to continue the training? At a given date (ideally 1 month after the course), conduct a follow-up course to determine your trainees’ state of progress. Revise their knowledge, ask them how they are applying it and answer any questions that may have cropped up since the course.
You can conduct this follow-up individually or with a group. As learners appreciate the purpose of your getting back in touch with them, you are likely to obtain a satisfactory response rate.
Whatever the platform or the goal, there are many ways of staying in touch with your learners following an e-learning course. Take advantage of this rich resource to gather their impressions, welcome new participants or propose new courses. One final piece of advice: keep it authentic. These former learners are not prospects to whom you need to sell your training at any cost, but people who have been in contact with you, who have learned with you and who were satisfied with their experience. The key words are goodwill and professionalism.