How to get people using your learning platform | Advice from the experts

May 26, 2021
June 26, 2023

Comparing them to horses probably isn’t the best place to start, but it’s a similar situation to those leading stallions to water and unable to get them to drink. It’s not enough to simply offer a learning platform, you have to incentivise and entice people into quenching their learning thirst.

Whether that’s through rewards, a slick marketing push that helps them understand why it’s worth their time or breaking down the barriers that might be standing in their way, there’s plenty you can do to get people logging in and learning.

These are just some of the issues we’ll elaborate on here, and we even asked some of the HowNow community to share their advice too – they’ve been there and done it, after all.

Create purpose and pathways to progress

When you can’t see the point in doing something, it seems all the more pointless! If there aren’t opportunities for development within your company, that’s not only a personal downer but it means less clarity on how your role is tied to the organisation’s future. But wouldn’t it be better if that person was a key cog in the machine and felt like it too?

Of course, that starts with conversations around development, but they’re moments when you can start bringing in ideas around learning technology’s role, learning in the workflow, knowledge sharing and plenty more.

That’s a point Martin Møller Andersen, Head of Global L&D Online Learning and Operations at Telenor, was keen to point out:

“It is important that people have a purpose for what they need/want to develop and train.

Managers should have catch-ups with employees to discuss development plans and encourage employees to develop relevant competencies and skills related to future career goals or work related challenges.

Employees should be encouraged to continuously explore and develop skills and competencies that will support and improve their ways of working and results.”

And picking up from Martin’s point, all that encouragement could be for nothing if the learning materials aren’t relevant to how they’d like to progress or they’ve not been given the autonomy to take a degree of control for themselves.

Something that Edd Tomlinson, Senior Consultant at Xoomworks, points out too:

“Make the knowledge something they need and reward them for their learning. It depends on the business I would say but we give our users the choice to choose their own learnings and develop their own career path.”

So, what we can establish here is that it all starts with conversations – where you determine career and development goals. That’s your platform for using your learning platform more effectively! You can then create the pathway that helps people build the relevant skills, add the content that gives people effective experiences in the platform and begin encouraging them to find other resources for themselves.

Make it easy for them – three ways you can pull that off

1. Make it easy for them by meeting learners where they are

Of course, there has to be a degree of convenience alongside everything we’ve mentioned so far – otherwise, you will be met with greater reluctance to use your platform. That’s often been one of the push backs against the traditional LMS, that if people want to find relevant information they’d have to stop whatever they were doing and log in to that external system.

Luckily that’s a stigma most learning platforms are happy to help you break and, as we’ll come to later, it could just be a case of clearer instructions and communication. For now, let’s just focus on the idea of meeting people where they already work.

This was the top tip from Adam Davies, People Development Partner at Gymshark, when we asked for his advice.

“Take the learning to where they are, rather than trying to take them to something else.”

Imagine you’re having a really busy day and the offer of free pizza pops up – the only catch is having to leave the house and collect it. When you’re busy, not even the lure of lunch on the house can get you to leave the house. How about this scenario, they’ll deliver it to your front door and there’s no disruption to your day – now that’s so much better!

Imagine that pizza is our learning resource and it’s clear that no matter how delicious the reward, it still needs to be accessible to get people’s mouths watering – even if it’s the knowledge that will help you do your job better or overcome a challenge.

2. Make it easy for them by integrating with the tools they already use

That convenience aspect is why it’s so important for so many organisations to find a learning solution that integrates with the tools people already use every day. If you’re at the stage where you haven’t found a learning platform yet, take stock of which platforms people use and need to find knowledge in and then factor that into your search. If you’ve already signed up for a platform, take the same approach but understand that you’ll be limited by where your platform integrates.

For a lot of people, they’ll spend the majority of their day on some form of messaging platform. So imagine how much more likely they are to love your learning platform if they can use and access it from their messaging platform.

As Katie Harrison, People Operations Assistant at Cognism, told us, integrating with Slack is something they find incredibly useful.

“I have found it is useful to share items you’ve created on Slack, especially if people ask questions that you can answer using HowNow. This drives people to start using it.”

And that last part is particularly poignant because sometimes you just need to get people to start using it! Once they’re in there and seeing the benefits, they’re more likely to come back. Those integrations are simply removing some of the barriers that might stop them developing the desired behaviours, because there’s no drastic change to their current ones

3. Make it easy for them by bringing all your learning and resources into one place

Now, what could be easier than all your knowledge and shared resources being in one place? That was the golden nugget from Nikolina Todorova, HR Manager at Xoomworks, who also went on to explain why HowNow’s nuggets are so useful in capturing that knowledge behind one front door.

“If all your knowledge is in one place, people don’t have to use a variety of platforms to access what they are looking for.

HowNow’s Nuggets are great for getting a short and concrete answer/solution for an issue someone is facing – because there’s no more reading long manuals/articles.

If you’re ready to ditch those long manuals and start saving the knowledge that matters where people can find it, let us show you around HowNow! Or, if you’re too curious to wait, we’ve got an on-demand product tour you can watch right now.

Shameless self-promotion out of the way, the overall point is to think about how you can reduce the number of places in which your information lives. When it’s clearer to people where they can find what they need, they’re more likely to search for it because they’ve got even fewer barriers to overcome.

We’ve all been there at home, wondering where something is but not bothering to look because it could literally be in any room in the house. When we know which room it’s in, we’re more inclined to have a look and if we know it’s in a particular cupboard we’re even more encouraged. We’re back at convenience, but again we’re seeing just how powerful that can in getting people involved, taking first steps or forming those new habits.

Get your L&D communications strategy right

The honest truth that most people need to hear is that if nobody knows your learning platform exists, there’s no chance they’re going to use it. If they know about it but don’t understand the benefits or value of using it, you’re probably no better off. And if they know about it, but they’re not hearing positive things from colleagues then they won’t be encouraged to log in and get learning.

That’s the value of internal communications, a credible learning brand and passionate advocates for your platform.

Something Marie Payne, People Development Specialist at, alluded to when we asked her about learning technology adoption.

“Put essential learning on the platform. Gain executive buy-in. Train all the People Team to use the platform well so they can disseminate knowledge regionally.”

As Marie points out, a great first port of call can be training your People, HR and L&D teams on how the platform works, so that they can not only become advocates for it but they can give others the knowledge they need to use it effectively. That also gives them the skills to become a support centre for learners and help them troubleshoot issues.

It’s something we discussed in our guide to building learning brands, but if you can find people early on who love the platform or further down the line are really getting value out of it, they can become your platform champions too. That might be enough to get others on the platform or convince your executives that it’s valuable to learning and development. They’re normally more impartial and passionate about the product, making it easier for them to get others on board.

Building strong brands is something that can really be built through a slick communications strategy. What’s the main pain point? How does the platform solve that? And are your marketing efforts getting that across to people?

The biggest tip would be to step into your learner’s shoes and answer that famous ‘what’s in it for me?’ question. Like with any purchase, we’re looking for the product or service that answers that – otherwise it’s not worth our time and money. If your messaging is connecting with them on that level, there’s a far greater likelihood that they’ll be heading into your learning platform.

If you’re looking for more tips on driving digital adoption, we’ve got five more of them for you in this guide to getting people involved in your platform!

Five ways to drive digital adoption