How To Increase Employee Engagement Using an LMS

How To Increase Employee Engagement Using an LMS


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It’s all too easy to disengage from work these days. You can scroll Instagram. Gossip with your team. Scroll Instagram to avoid hearing your team gossip. Watch the clock until 5pm on the dot, when you’re straight out the door.

A massive 70% of employees don’t feel engaged in their workplace. Gallup has found as few as 15% are truly, completely, highly engaged in their work. That’s irrespective of organisation size, industry, culture, and location (so even those who are working from home aren’t necessarily all that more satisfied, despite being in their pyjamas all day). How do you combat this phenomenon? Enter the learning management system.

Learning management systems (LMS) are software solutions that promote ongoing learning in the workplace. Using an LMS, employees can upskill, access educational content, and see real time progress of career development. When people have easy access to professional development, they’re more likely to understand their company’s mission, find meaning in their work, and plan their career path within your organisation.

In this article, we’ll discuss why an LMS is exactly what you need to boost employee engagement.

Why employee engagement matters

Disengaged employees were around long before this pandemic. In fact, disengaged employees can find just about any reason not to resonate with their work: They’re not given enough responsibility. They’re given too much responsibility. They have no possibility for career growth. Their boss is another b-word. They might even just hate the layout of the office.

When employees check out, employers feel the heat. It’s estimated global employee disengagement costs $500 billion every year. Turnover rates are higher (and expensive, costing up to 33% of an employee’s salary), innovation is nonexistent, absenteeism rises, and productivity drops when engagement goes out the window. An engaged workforce is directly linked to higher employee retention, as they are less likely to leave your organisation, contribute to overall morale, and when it comes time to hire, are your best pick since they’re already familiar with and invested in your goals, processes, and culture.

Engaged employees can increase sales by 37% and are 31% more productive. 78% of engaged staff are brand advocates. They take 2.7 sick days per year, compared to a disengaged total of 6.2. 54% of disengaged employees say their work lives negatively impact their physical health, compared to just 12% of the engaged. Need we throw more statistics at you? The bottom line is your business won’t succeed if your employees don’t.

How to use your LMS to increase employee engagement

We’re living in a millennial world. In the next ten years, 75% of the workforce will be Gen Y—and they want to know what employers can do for them, not just what they can do for their employers. This leaves just one question to address when implementing a learning management system: “What’s in it for me?” No employee will undertake training just because they were told to, and if they do, they’re not likely to be engaged with it. Which brings us full circle, back to our original argument.

On average, staff stay in jobs for just four and a half years, and skills reach their half-life by five. When you consider careers have a lifespan of at least ten times longer, lifelong learning becomes vital. An LMS allows people to continuously upskill throughout their employee lifecycle, both for their own professional development and your organisation’s success, by weaving learning into an employee’s day-to-day schedule. Maximising the full potential of your system (and in turn, your workforce) means understanding how people like to learn. Luckily, any good LMS will do that for you. (Yes, really.)

Here are some of the most engaging eLearning features to look out for when implementing an LMS:


The employee of 2020 is tech savvy and used to receiving information in bite-sized nuggets. They like to dip in and out of education as fast as they tap through Instagram stories—hence, “microlearning”. According to a survey by Software Advice, 58% of employees would be more encouraged to use an eLearning system if they were offered five- to seven-minute mini lessons as opposed to one hour-long class.

When it comes to professional development, leveraging microlearning capabilities on an LMS will dial into today’s learner mindset. Microlearning modules are also easier to develop, update and distribute compared to long and tedious courses. Shorter courses focus on key topics, making the learning process more efficient and effective. It’s also a natural fit for mobile-based learning as it’s easily managed and digested while providing a familiar experience for users.

Quality content

Ever heard the maxim, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still pig”? In the same vein, you can make a course look as flashy as you like, but your audience will check out if the content is dry, unnecessarily long or riddled with typos. Take that little bit of extra time to research and craft your content, so that you have a fully stocked catalogue of resources like so:

acorn screenshot Quality Content

Any LMS worth its salt should give you the option to write, edit and easily format your course content. As much as you can create a plethora of content relevant to your organisation’s processes, sometimes the best resources are mined from further afield. Our learning management system Acorn seamlessly integrates a rich catalogue of content from third party providers such as Good Practice, Skillsoft and LinkedIn Learning to enhance the library available to your users. You can utilise a single sign-on connection that sends your users to these products externally or pull their content into your catalogue on Acorn, helpfully categorising and tagging them by capabilities and job roles.

Easy access

Not everyone’s carrying around a computer but almost everyone has a smartphone on them, so you need to be providing mobile solutions for eLearning. Course updates, company announcements, compliance information—anything can be uploaded to a responsive LMS, notifying users instantly. Having mobile and tablet-enabled content encourages employees to access resources at their discretion, allowing them to engage in or out of office hours.

It’s also worth considering giving employees the opportunity to learn outside the scope of their role. Many people take additional short courses for fun or to satisfy their curiosity, and encouraging this with access to content that deviates from mandatory training is another way to foster a passion for learning and increase employee engagement with an LMS.

Data-driven insights

Learning analytics are so hot right now. Essentially, the term refers to the collection of data while users are engaged in the eLearning space, as well as the resulting analysis and reporting. Your LMS will record bits of data such as a user’s score on a test, how quickly they are progressing through a module, the number of times they have logged in to the system, and if they are interacting with other users. Through learning analytics such as Acorn’s Reporting function, admins can also see how users are performing and predict if they will need help to complete a module.

acorn screenshot Data-Driven Insights

This data allows you to derive actionable insights for improving your courses, ensuring no two eLearning experiences are alike. As a result, learners are likely to come back time and time again, and since you’re not wasting resources, your costs are kept to a minimum.


Sports. Drinks. Apps. Even hearts. People love playing games so much, they’ll create them to win (or play with) anything—which is why gamification has swept through the eLearning sector. Many LMS platforms incorporate game-like incentives and principles, such as badges, level progression and points systems, to make eLearning more engaging. Not only does gamification improve the user experience, knowledge retention, and information sharing, but it turns repetitive or dry modules into quite literally rewarding and engaging competitions.

acorn screenshot Gamification

In short, the reason gamification works so well is because it creates a sense of belonging and satisfaction that in turn encourages repeat visits and course completion.


Aside from being naturally more engaging than black text on a white page, multimedia helps to simplify complex ideas. Many learning theories also speak to the benefit of repetition, and using various visual mediums to represent the same information keeps it interesting over multiple iterations.

With microlearning principles in mind, features such as video shouldn’t remind users of that one boring teacher they had in school. Acorn’s Live Learning Sessions let users book in for face-to-face training, which can then be reinforced with open-ended and multi-choice quizzes or downloadable reading material. You can also easily upload video content, or blend all of the available learning features to build programs relevant to an individual’s employee journey, such as a mandatory training course for onboarding.

acorn screenshot Multimedia

Multimedia also makes your content more accessible to those with disabilities. You can add subtitles on videos, image descriptions, pre-recorded transcripts for blocks of text, and written transcripts for video and audio files.


Making eLearning a collaborative activity allows users to socially interact with other learners and benefit from their added strengths, skill sets and experience. Most systems use knowledge sharing capabilities to tap into a staggering 90% of workplace learning that is done informally. With an LMS, an employee can simply post a question to their LMS discussion board to crowdsource a solution. Subject matter (or armchair) experts will jump to answer, conversation is sparked, and all the while your company’s intellectual capital is rising.

Collaborative learning is based on the principle students experience a richer learning experience when it’s shared with others. Giving them the chance to communicate about material fosters a meaningful connection between employees and peers, and employees and the course. Think about it: you probably enjoyed sitting next to or studying with your friends in school. Apply the same thinking to your eLearning and you’ll give employees a reason to engage with the work.

Independent learning

Self-directed, self-motivated, independent… However you spin it, transferring responsibility for studying from the instructor to the learner makes for a more satisfying and motivating learning journey. It’s important for employees as the practice itself teaches them to better understand the mechanics of a task by choosing what and how you want to learn. A good LMS will include options to self-manage tasks, like Acorn’s calendar which can be filtered by lesson, state, status, and time frame:

acorn screenshot Independent Learning

An LMS allows for independent learning by giving managers and HR the ability to set the time frame for course completion, while employees have full control over when they choose to learn. Some may like to block a few hours for training, while others might choose to learn in small increments throughout the day. When you consider other LMS features like multimedia and gamification, a wide variety of learning preferences can be satisfied.

Another upside of independent learning is that it gives employees a sense of control over their career goals. You are giving them the tools for career development, but the motivation to actually make progress is up to them. And since they can learn at their own pace, they’re more likely to engage in the work.

Check out the full list of features our LMS Acorn to learn more about creating the optimal user experience for engaging employees.

Employee engagement and internal communications

The issue of employee disengagement is not rooted in your workforce. It comes back to your organisation, and more often than not, internal communications. Let us explain.

A big shift in how we’re consuming information has emerged. We’re no longer looking for it; we want it to come to us. At the same time, no one likes to feel like they’re the last to know something, or worse, that they were kept in the dark. It can be as simple as hearing your manager’s criticism of your work through a game of Chinese whispers, rather than directly from them, or being kept out of the loop of organisational issues until upstairs announces a solution. This leads to frustration and a lack of engagement within the organisation.

Effective internal communications helps people understand exactly what they need to do. One employee will spend an average of 2.5 hours a day looking for the information they need to do their job. In an eight hour work day, they’re wasting over a quarter of their time. In a week, that’s more than an entire day lost and in one month, they’ve wasted a whole week. And let us not forget to mention two-way communication. Internal communications is not simply talking to your employees. It’s about creating conversation.

How to use your LMS to improve internal communications

Now we’ve established internal communications have a tremendous impact on employee engagement, how do you go about improving it?

You don’t need to have a complicated communications strategy—you just need to get with the times. An LMS that’s compatible with multiple devices (desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile) offers employees a way to communicate that speaks to them, and is also accessible to freelancers, contract workers and those working remotely. It further facilitates a central location for all HR and company updates and training programs, making things more convenient and the employee experience smoother for individual staff.

Enabling push notifications through an LMS means employees are constantly and instantly in the loop. Creating virtual spaces like discussion or notice boards fosters conversation and makes people feel like they’re part of the business, which is literally the essence of employee engagement.

Gens Y and Gen Z especially want to feel as though they are valued and have a meaningful impact in their organisation. Providing professional development opportunities through an LMS creates clear pathways and allows them to connect with each other and managers, mentors, and role models.

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