There are plenty of reasons for adopting an eLearning environment. It’s shown to increase productivity and employee engagement, and that engagement empowers individuals, ultimately leading to organisational growth. It also leads to behavioural change, which is the goal of those employees looking for more learning and development opportunities. All of this ultimately leads to new careers and advancement opportunities. Those who feel more fulfilled in their careers are ultimately happier, and happy employees are productive employees.

Perhaps one of the most important reasons employers have increased their focus on eLearning is because it has proven to improve retention. Retaining good employees is a critical component to the health and growth of any business. What you may not already know is that eLearning can help identify those employees who are at risk for leaving.

Engagement Rates

Engagement on laptop

We know that one of the first signs of an employee beginning to “check-out” is when they start to disengage. That can be difficult to gauge when you’ve only got your best guess or a gut feeling to go by, but having some hard data begins to paint a clearer picture.

Within a learning management system (LMS) tool, you’re able to check engagement rates. You can see how much time has been spent on required curriculum, and who has gone on to take additional courses. You can also see how many courses have been completed, helping you understand who is taking eLearning seriously. Keep in mind that this is only one side of the story as there are employees who truly love their work and are completely engaged, but aren’t able to go further than what is required with eLearning because of the demands on their time and of their position.



When employees are committed to staying with an organisation, they will usually show signs that they are looking for ways to grow and change that include learning as much as possible about the company and the industry. They’ll look for opportunities such as mentoring and job shadowing, and often look for coursework outside of their position or department. This is sometimes the best opportunity for those who want to develop a niche skill set, or dive deeper into learning skills specific to the company. It’s also a positive alternative to taking on the workload and time commitment of getting an advanced degree.

When an employee is only doing the bare minimum required of their role, both in their work and in eLearning engagement, it could signal that they’re unhappy or dissatisfied. When someone ceases to want to grow and learn in the position they have, it may mean they’re mentally moving on to something else, and unfortunately, it may mean moving on to a new employer.

Using eLearning as a Conversation

Staff talking

Again, looking at eLearning data is only part of the story. Not all employee disengagement has to do with career-related matters. Be careful that you only use eLearning behaviour as an opportunity to have a conversation. Don’t accuse employees of being disengaged or not meeting expectations based solely on this information alone.

Lean on your eLearning tool to gather some information and then open the door to gather additional feedback from the employee directly on how things are going. They could be simply overwhelmed with other responsibilities within their job as well as personally, and cannot make as much time for eLearning as they’d like. It can also signal that they really are bored or unhappy, and this gives you the opportunity to find solutions. Is it time for them to consider moving to a new position? Are they ready for more responsibility? Is it time that they look at making a fresh change in another department?

Be sure to use eLearning as a performance tool, not a weapon. Try setting up defined timelines, goals, and performance metrics for improvement based on your conversation within a project management tool, and check in with the employee often. The visibility of these goals and tasks can go a long way towards getting an even better idea of engagement.

The benefits of eLearning are many, especially as they relate to employee productivity and retention. Keep in mind that your eLearning tool may be an additional resource tool able to provide insight into employee engagement, and help you identify those at risk of leaving, giving you an opportunity to find solutions before they make up their mind to move on.

About Jessica Barrett Halcom

Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for, with specialisations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.