Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Emotionally Connecting Throughout On-line Coaching

Emotional connection during online training: How to find out that your employees are not synchronizing

Associating emotions with an incident is a great aid to memory. The more you feel, the better you will remember the incident. This is helpful for online training as it improves recall. Your online training content will be far more successful if you can get your corporate learners to connect on an emotional level. And while it’s easy to spot when someone is amused or upset, it’s harder to spot a lack of connection. Of course, you could just ask … but corporate learners are likely saying what they think you want to hear. How can you tell they are not feeling your online training course? Here are 5 subtle pointers that employees will not connect emotionally to during online training, as well as tips to help you identify the problem and pull their hearts out.

5 indications that there is an emotional disconnect from eLearning

1. Habitually inaccurate test answers

Employees take the online training, but their test scores are much lower than expected. They don’t take in the information because the emotional connection just isn’t there.

Recognition tip: analyze the results of the online assessment to identify patterns

At certain points in your online training course, your corporate learners will be tested. It can be a pop quiz or a branching scenario. Your analysis during the course can tell you whether your answers are right or wrong. This is useful for identifying areas of the online training course that are too complex or topics that require further training. However, you can get a deeper look into the nature of the wrong answers to help you draw conclusions about whether they connect emotionally during online training. Your responses to a “joke” may be lacking in humor. Or maybe their reactions show no empathy. This indicates that you probably did not trigger the ‘right’ emotion. Also, look for patterns. For example, 75% failure rates are a good indication that emotional connectivity is a common problem.

2. Yawning, rolling your eyes and changing looks

Employees show signs of disinterest in the form of yawning or rolling eyes. You can even start chatting with coworkers or reading emails when they should be busy with the online training content.

Recognition tip: watch their expressions on their faces

This can be difficult if your learners are studying at home or during breaks. If your lessons are at work, you can keep an eye on them. Check physical response during and after an online training module. They interacted with a computer or cell phone, but you can still see the looks on their faces. You can even chat afterwards and see how they act. This can give you an indication of whether they are connecting emotionally during the online training. It can indicate how or if their class affected their mood.

3. Employees only skim the surface

Your employees access the online training material, but only brush the surface and do the bare minimum. Instead of actually assimilating the information and applying it in real environments. The lack of emotional connectivity prevents them from assigning meaning so they have no interest in digging deeper.

Recognition tip: ask them to paraphrase

Stories are a great way to connect emotionally with your learners in the company during online training. Have them retell a story after listening to or reading it in their online training course. You can do this during a live conference call or in a chat room. You can even ask them with open-ended questions or multiple choice questions. Your answers will tell you what emotion, if any, was triggered. A corporate student might say, “An old woman lost her grandson in a tragic accident.” Another might say, “An 80-year-old woman dealt with the death of her relative.” You can even include both options in the responses to measure emotional response.

4. You don’t talk about it in social settings

Employees rarely access the online training course, even in social media groups or at live online training events. It just wasn’t that memorable. Hence, they are unlikely to talk about it in social settings as it did not leave a lasting impression.

Recognition tip: do a focus group

Your corporate learners may not be honest about their (lack of) response to your online training course. However, you can always find a group of objective test subjects. Pick a team that has no skin in the game. You are neutral, so you have no reason to answer one way or another. Let them explore the online training course, then ask them if it appealed to them on an emotional level. They could go ahead and ask what they liked and what they didn’t like. They can tell you what changes you can make to help corporate learners connect emotionally during online training.

5. Lack of participation

They know that they will not get any emotionality from the online training course. So you don’t even bother to attend. You can come up and go through the movements. However, you cannot take full advantage of the online training experience.

Discovery Tip: Evaluate LMS Metrics

Review the LMS reports to see where your learners have been most focused in the company. Compare this result with the “emotional” parts of the page. If the online training content touched them in a certain way, they may have thought about it. They may have returned to this content or paused to compose themselves. If your ’emotional bait’ was looked at or received no special attention, it likely didn’t land.


Including emotional content in your online training course is a handy tip. Channeling their emotions will help your reps remember what they learned more. An emotional connection during online training can also influence behavior and lead you to display the attitudes you prefer. Sometimes your online workout fails because the mood falls flat. To find out if you’re using their feelings, check their answers to test questions. Inert answers indicate missed connections. Get them to paraphrase content so you can gauge their emotional connectivity. You should also beta test your online training course and ask your sample directly if their feelings were being evoked in the “right” way.

What are the most effective tips for developing custom eLearning content? Download our free Successful Custom eLearning Content Development eBook to discover personal stories and anecdotes shared by the best experts in custom eLearning content development.

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