Disengaged learners? How to get them on board (again)


Disengaged learners? How to get them on board (again)

There is a lot of dull online learning available. Which causes huge numbers of learners to disengage. And you can hardly expect a disengaged learner to change their ways if they don’t even enjoy their training! The Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) provides a solution because it addresses the most significant question in L&D: how can you change human behavior? This might seem a big question, but the purpose of L&D is behavior change, so it’s worth getting to grips with it.

Meet BJ Fogg’s Behavior equation

The question is how you can train employees to do the right actions. Let’s take a look at the equation that made Fogg famous.

The concept is as simple as the equation itself. ‘Behavior’ is the word Fogg uses to describe an action that someone might do. He suggests that three things are needed: motivation, ability and a prompt. When these three things come together, people are capable of changing the world! If your learners have the motivation and the ability to complete an activity, then all they’ll need is the right trigger or prompt to spring into action.


Your new hires might not have a lack of motivation, but ability and prompting still need some work.

To keep your new hires engaged, tell them the importance of what they are doing. This makes them feel like they are doing something important and worthwhile - keeping them motivated for longer! Also using a linear onboarding process can help your people to make sense of the process without being overwhelmed. Here are a few more ideas for keeping onboarding straightforward:

  • Order tasks from easiest to most difficult.
  • Break large tasks up into smaller tasks.
  • Remove any unnecessary information.
  • Send well timed prompts until it is adopted into their daily routine.

Current employees

And how does this apply to people who have been working for the company for a while? This mostly asks a bit more effort. In our experience we see three key actions you need to apply when designing your training program.

1. Motivation: Be Specific

It’s difficult to make desired behavior specific. Customer-friendly and results-focused; what does that mean for Isabelle, customer helpdesk worker, who’s talking to a complaining client? Translate the goals of the organization and the desired effects to behavior as specifically as possible. Then divide this into chunks. The most effective way to train employees is microlearning, in which employees practice a certain behavior or certain skills in small amounts of time. When you offer them training in phases, employees will make steps more often, and they will be able to apply the new behavior sooner.

2. Create Ability and Simplicity

In order to execute the desired behavior, employees must be able to do so. Cognitive effort will always be necessary, but with for example online microlearning, employees will no longer need to maintain attention for an entire day or part of a day. Online training also allows for immediate practice of new skills. Once the new behavior has been internalized by practice and application, it will become the new routine behavior.

3. Create Triggers

The last step is the most important, but it is also the most difficult. Employees need a trigger to apply the behavior. A good training program contains recognizable situations. When these situations happen in real life, they will trigger the practiced behavior. Managers also play a role in this process: Do they stimulate the desired behavior? Do they address it in team meetings? Do they make a good example? Also think of visible clues in the work environment, such as posters or a newsletter.

Whether you are helping your people establish new habits, engage in something new or unknown, onboard, or just want to motivate into doing something different, we have experienced that the Fogg Behavior Model can guide you. Get in touch, if you would like to know more.

Marieke Dijkshoorn


Source: www.behaviormodel.org

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Arjan Toet

Learning Architect, Director