Here’s a confession. I am a LinkedIn addict. And also a Facebook fan-girl. Alright, alright – the whole social media thingie! I am well aware of the dopamine game too – how it pretzels us into doing something over and over again in the quest of instant gratification. It’s the Fear Of Missing Out, or better known as FOMO, that keeps us going back to that Direct Message (DM), to that Notification, to that Friend Request, to that Stat, to that .

FOMO is generally caused by the impact of technology on our daily routine and is especially felt in the workplace. It is quite a paradox actually. New technology meant to increase productivity and effectiveness is penetrating all levels and silos in the workplace, while employee productivity and engagement levels are going down.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And another confession too.

As the makers of the world-renowned Learning Management System, UpsideLMS, we leverage some of this FOMO and game-y addictiveness to aid learner engagement and motivation. And you can too.

Below are a couple of strategies you can put into practice as a part of your L&D interventions from the get go:

1. Gamify!

All our efforts, our work, our social sharings, today, are measured in stats and metrics. Some of which are mere vanity, but metrics nonetheless. Learning is no different. We like to compare our learning journey to that of the blue-eyed boy in the next cubicle or our peers. FOMO, in context of gamification, is often related to Loss Aversion. This is based on the premise that no one likes to lose things, or to lose to someone. The fear of losing status, friends, points, achievements, progress, etc. can be a powerful reason for people to do things/ achieve goals.

LMS Gamification makes this possible by applying game-mechanics and game techniques to the learning journey with a view to engaging and motivating learners to achieve their goals. To preserve our ego and sense of self, Loss Aversion manifests itself through our refusal to give up and put our best foot forward – taking up one more Course, attempting one more Assignment, achieving one more Certification – until we lead the pack (in LMS Gamification terms – the Leaderboard).

However, it’s important to note that while Gamification and LMS are a match made in heaven, understanding of the learning context, the content, the learning ecosystem (devices, OSs, browsers, and the whole mix) and the learners so as to devise the perfect LMS Gamification Strategy along with the full understanding of its application in Employee Reward & Recognition is critical to its success.

2. Encourage Informal Learning

Today, life experiences are broadcasted across social media. And because this ubiquitous media has successfully permeated our lives while allowing us to see what our friends, family members, and colleagues are doing in real-time, it has become a natural progression to seeing how our lives compare to the people we know (and some we wish to know!). Further, multiple studies on millennials have one thing in consistence: millennials are drawn to real experiences.

Marry these two and you have got (in L&D parlance) – Informal Learning!

By utilizing the Social Learning and Knowledge Collaboration tools in your LMS, you can not only satiate your learners’ experiential appetite by giving them ample opportunities to exchange ideas, engage in healthy dialogues, and share experiences with peers, seniors and juniors in real-time and outside of the confines of formal training, but by giving them a sneak peek into their colleagues’ learning path, it offers them a surge of curiosity and the want to do the same.

3. Create FOMO through Events and Announcements

Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) millennials indicate that they experience the fear of missing out, or FOMO. And this is not restricted to millennials alone. People across all ages, regions and levels seek to be in the know of all things, at all times!

You can facilitate the FOMO-inducing conversations in your learning platform with Event Pages/ Calendars, Announcements and Email Notifications. This works on the same principle of Loss & Avoidance, wherein learners perceive new/ popular opportunities as ‘fading away’. This drives them to take immediate action on the temporary opportunity before they are left with the feeling of having lost the chance to act, forever.

4. Make Mobile the new black!

In today’s always-on, always-connected, mobile-driven-world, smartphones and other mobile devices “never leave our side”. By leveraging this very fact and making training mobile, trainers can put the FOMO principle into practice to inspire and push learners to actively participate in the courses. Learners respond best to “happening now” training and which they have complete control over – in terms of accessing when and where needed.

5. Leverage the power of Notifications

Think of the humble bell-shaped icon that sits on the top header of most social sites. Its key job is to offer clear notifications when something changes on your feed – someone ‘Liking’ your Update, a ‘New Friend’ Request, and an ‘Unread DM’, amongst other things. But there is more to it than meets the eye. These notifications keep the site fresh in your mind, feeding you with updates ever-so-smartly that it’s hard to navigate away!

An LMS with a similar Notification feature that lets the user know his/ her Learning Progress, Gamification Score, etc. can trigger that fear of missing out and engineer a response to check in and interact with the module again.

So right there is my take on FOMO and how you can flip it on its head to become a motivator for your learners! I will love to hear your views/ suggestions on the same. Until then, my eyes are peeled on this blog post to check Likes, Comments and Views. 🙂

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