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Rochelle Williams

Span Global Services

Senior Marketing Manager

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Make Online Learning Journey Engaging Via Email


Messaging services are so ubiquitous in the online world that many companies have turned to them for customer service. The dominant form for messaging interactions is email, but it is not the only one. There's Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts, among others. And with email usage on the decline, it's worth examining how to use this outdated communication tool in a new way.

This article will dive into seven different ways to engage your online learners through email. We'll tell you how they work and give you a few examples of each type of strategy so you can get an idea of what might work best for your instructional goals.

1. Use Email to Deliver Content

The simplest type of email course provides learners with content to read and complete via a link in the email. To do this, you'll need a training platform with courses that allow the instructor to embed links directly into the emails

Participants can learn and then return to you via email if they have any questions or confusion. This saves you time and energy as it eliminates further back-and-forths on your end and lets participants learn at their own pace.

2. Use Email to Ask for a Response

There are many uses in your email communication for asking a learner to respond, but the most common is feedback on a question or topic addressed in that email. You can use follow-up email to ask questions regarding the content covered, allowing you to engage learners at different points throughout their journey. Your learners will have different responses depending on what they read and encounter along their learning path.

It might not be necessary with each participant, but this strategy allows you to send one email and capture more of their learning as they progress through your course.

3. Create a "Question of the Day."

A "Question of the Day" is a great way to engage learners in your course regularly without having to pre-plan content. Instead, you can use the questions or modify them depending on what is most relevant to your participants.

Yes, it's a little cheesy, but it also gets people regularly thinking about the content and interacting with the course content throughout the day. It works particularly well if you are using email templates that allow you to include dynamic content based on events or scheduled times when people receive their next message.

4. Create a "Series."

Another way to build engagement and momentum is to create a series of emails that flow together.

Let learners know in the first email that they will be receiving an email containing content. This lets them know they are getting additional content as it happens, setting expectations for what’s coming later. The second email should arrive shortly after the first one and contain another piece of content, and so on, throughout the series creating anticipation that something else is coming next.

5. Use Email to Share "News."

Another type of email engagement strategy is to share news related to your course or team with learners.

This is a great way to let your participants know more about you, the instructor, and the company in general. People love hearing about what’s happening with the people they care for online courses and content, so it is wise for you to insert this element into your emails every once in a while—it makes participants feel "special." Also, try creating an informational page on your site that can serve as a vehicle for posting these messages when you want to engage.

6. Use Email for Follow Up

Finally, another effective use of email is to follow up with a learner who skipped or did not complete a key step in your course.

It's always great to ask people what's most important to them, and it's always helpful to know if they are struggling along the way. This is a good way for you as the instructor will be able to find out whether participants will need help and assist them accordingly in completing the course effectively.

7. Use Email for Survey

Surveys via email are an effective way to capture a lot of information about your audience, helping you understand what's important to your learners and what ideas they may have for what you can do next.

The instructor can ask participants questions, "What would be most helpful to you?". Teaching teams can use this type of survey as the first step in a longer process of gathering information from participants at different points in their course.

Conclusion & Recap

Email is not going away anytime soon, so it's worth getting creative with this older form of communication. Indeed, many new media and social media tools are available to help us reach out to learners, but email can still be a mighty tool in your learning management system.

The key is to figure out how you can use email as a lever for engagement with your participants. We want you to create the best emails for your learners based on their specific needs so that they feel valued and learn more. These tips will help get you started. Help other instructors by sharing your own success stories in the comments below!

Image Source: iStockphoto

Author Profile Picture
Rochelle Williams

Senior Marketing Manager

Read more from Rochelle Williams

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