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As consumers of online learning, whether learning informally through YouTube or formally through a web-based training (WBT) at work, we know which tank and which are great. While we rarely stop and consider WHY a certain e-learning experience was enjoyable and of high value, for those of us who are tasked with designing and delivering superb online learning experiences, we are wise to stop and ask a simple question.

What are the attributes of effective e-learning?

This focus is not on what the tools or “wow” factors are that may be recommended solutions in the actual building of any type of WBT. This is an examination of what makes any type of online learning experience “sing.” This is about the underlying approach and awareness that were strategically used in the first design conversations about creating a seamless, enjoyable, and high-impact online learning experience. This is about why a participant sums up any consumable, online learning experience by saying, “That was great.”

Six categorical attributes of effective e-learning include:

  1. Experience – How do we acknowledge the experience our learners bring with them to this learning endeavor?
  2. Engage – How do we create curiosity for our learners to want to know more, as well as understand what’s in it for them?
  3. Energize – How will we surprise consumers of online learning? How might humor be used?
  4. Every 7 Minutes – How will we touch the heart of our learners and make an emotional connection at least every 7 minutes?
  5. Eats – Culture eats strategy’s lunch … how well do we know our target audience and the parameters of what they will explore or embrace when it comes to innovative e-learning?
  6. Each Objective – How could we, and how well have we addressed and reached the desired results represented with the few learning objectives of this online learning experience?


Consumers of online learning experiences shouldn’t need to see or know why it “worked” and was great. Designing effective e-learning is an art. And it begins with our awareness and understanding of the attributes of effective e-earning. Only then can we begin to think and build innovative, outside-of-the-box online learning solutions.

By Dr. Heidi Scott – Leadership, Learning, and Organizational Development Specialist

I try to hire Rock Stars. I try to develop Rock Stars.

No, I am not musically inclined at all. And no, I do not work in the music industry.

But I desire to work with a team of fabulous people who enjoy the work they do, bring the best of who they are to work, and actively seek to grow, improve, and contribute. Those are attributes of what I call the Rock Star engaged employee.

Do these people arrive at employment’s door as a Rock Star? Sometimes. But unless leaders know what they are searching for and are conscientious to develop their team members in the 3 A’s, odds are high that even the most ambitious and talented employees will wilt over time.

In order to develop employees into highly engaged, motivated, and progress-oriented team members (and sustain those who already possess those attributes), leaders need to own responsibility. How? Being mindful of the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees can serve as a roadmap for leaders. It’s really rather simple:

3 A’s of Engaged Employees

3 A’s of Engaged Employees

Aptitude – Do I notice hints that suggest what they may be good at? Am I socially aware and in tune with my team members as unique individuals? Am a “student” of my employees?

Ability – Do I develop my people? Am I taking the time to provide external learning opportunities, as well as investing time to train and coach my team members? Am I cultivating their talents, knowledge, and skill-sets?

Appetite – Do I stir their appetite to learn, develop, and excel at various skills? Am I offering stretch assignments and projects? Am I inviting my team members to select those projects they want to dive into?

Very few Rock Stars are simply born. Very few stellar employees just drop into companies or work teams.

As leaders, the more we own the responsibility to find and develop our employees into Rock Stars, the more success our teams will experience.

The next new hire you make – consider the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees.

The next time you go to work, consider your current team and the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees – and what YOU can do to develop each team member’s Aptitude, Ability, and Appetite. This is Servant Leadership in action…knowing, caring, appreciating, and developing your people to contribute to the team’s success in ways that only they can.

Leaders lead through serving their people. A leader’s roadmap to a successful team can begin today with acting on the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees.

Written by Dr. Heidi Scott, who currently serves as a Leadership and Communication Professor, Consultant and Coach, and Director of Training & Development



Use These Questions to Keep Personal Development Resolutions Alive All Year Long: Who do you want to BE?

Each January people fill gyms and exercise clubs across the nation with hope to follow through in their New Year’s resolutions to work out. So many plans of what people want to DO fill calendars in January. Yet often our intentions of doing things differently fall by the wayside as habits pull us back to past ways of “doing” life.

  • Have you considered who you want to “be” – both in this New Year and across your life span?
  • What character qualities will people best describe you with after your life is over?
  • What legacy are you creating now, today, this year…when it comes to how you interact with people and society?

For the past 3 years, I have taken on a character trait or attitude of the heart that I desire to really BE like, and have focused on it for a month in the year. And the next year come January, I revisit that character trait and way of being, in an effort to possess that trait as a fiber of who I am.

For example, it is January, and for the 4th year, during this month I will examine the place that compassion is integrated into my behavior, self, attitudes, calendar (how I spend my time), and thoughts. When it comes to being a person of compassion, now that I have a few years of taking a month to develop this trait, how am I doing?

It has been fun to focus on character and qualities of who I want to “be” with an annual focus on one for a month each year. These 12 ways of “being” are becoming more of who I am.

With a month to consider, reflect, ponder, and learn how to “be” more like each of these 12 traits, I have found that it results in changes in what I DO and how I act and relate to people and our world.

What do you want to BE in the New Year? Here are some strategic questions to consider – both now in the beginning of the year – as well as at any point in the year. I believe these can serve as a powerful, cyclical, personal character growth tool; at least they were for me over the past years, and continue to be focusing.

January – Compassion

Who can I take the time to truly try and view the world from their perspective, seeking to understand them, while feeling in a caring way what they do?

February – Kindness

How can I show kindness to someone today, whether it is merited or not? How can I go out of my way to be nice?

March – Humility

Will I pause today and consider each person I talk with as a human being of infinite worth and value? Will I choose to interact with each individual with an authentic attitude of wondering, “What can I learn from you and your experiences?”

April – Gentleness

Will I choose to pause before I speak and act today in order to run my words and behaviors through a “gentleness filter” in order to soften the edges in my words and deeds? Can I tweek my tones, words, and body language to better display gentleness in my interactions with others and our world?

May – Patience

Am I willing to do my best and leave timing and the rest in God’s hands while I wait patiently? So much of life occurs “between things.” Will I trust that God has everything in control and that my worry or impatience serves only to frustrate me?

June – Put up with one another

Will I choose to bear with people I find exhausting or frustrating while trying to keep a positive attitude? Will I keep in mind that I may need to give grace to others – and that I will surely need it given back when I am not at my best?

July – Forgive others

Am I willing to forgive others when I feel offended because this is the right thing to do, rather than hang on to bitterness? Will I choose to forgive people, unrelated to conditions of their continued behavior?

August – Love

How can I demonstrate love and acceptance to someone today who I may not naturally and easily think to give it? And whom do I believe I love that I can do a better job of expressing my love and appreciation to? How will I overtly show love today?

September – Peace

In what area of my life would I experience more peace today if I would relinquish control (even if the level of control I am clinging to exists only in my mind)? When in my day today will I carve out and set aside 5 minutes to be still, breathe deeply, and meditate on things of beauty, wonder, and tranquility? Will I ask God for His peace to wash over me?

October – Be thankful

At what points in my days this month will I pause and express gratitude – to God each morning,  and to others throughout the day? Will I choose to verbalize gratefulness aloud as I become mindful of all of the good things today – regardless of what type of day it is?

November – Memorize God’s Word

What am I choosing to pour into my mind and heart? If I believe that out of the heart come our attitudes, words and behaviors, am I filling my heart with content I want to come rushing out at any given time?

December – Do all things as unto God

If I believe God is my Creator, will I choose to try and consciously do everything as unto Him? Can I see evidence of this belief in my decisions, actions, and relationships? Will I ask God for guidance in my decision-making and choices?

IDEA: You may want to copy the url to this blog post and paste it in a few automated calendar reminders to yourself that are set to pop up with the change of each month this year. That way you can remain mindful of refocusing your personal development efforts across the year by reviewing the questions for each month.

By Dr. Heidi Scott     Author, speaker, professor, & consultant

*Content for this article is based on Colossians 3:12-17