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How To Engage Heart-Centered Learners in Your Online Courses

When we are creating courses of any kind, it is critical that we consider the many different learning preferences and learner characteristics that our course will need to engage.

In other articles I have talked about how to engage global vs analytical learners; left brain vs right brain learners, kinaesthetic, visual and audio preferences – but in this article I want to focus on how we can design courses that engage our heart-centered learners.


These are the learners who are emotional driven, make decisions on ‘feelings’ and will immediately switch off from training that they feel does not derive from a source of conscious care of some kind.

All of our training should include a ‘personal and personable’ element; that is, learning content and experiences that connect to the ‘human soul’, a human ‘purpose’ or achieves a ‘greater good’.


Emotions increase information recall


This is important because firstly, people are more likely to remember and recall information when they’ve been anchored by some kind of emotion.

Secondly, connecting the hearts of our students to what we are teaching nurtures subject matter passion and an association of your training to their bigger life purpose and existential meaning.  

Finally, some people will simply only be moved into action if they can see how there is a nurturing, loving, generous, softer meaning to what you are teaching.


As an example, if you are teaching a course on entrepreneurship and you want to engage a heart-driven learner, here is a good and bad way to entice them onto your program:


Bad: “This course on entrepreneurship will provide you with the strategies to triple your income”

Good:  “This course on entrepreneurship will provide you with the strategies to make a positive difference to the world with your business services”


Considering these heart-centred learners when designing and delivering your training increases engagement levels and maintains high rates of retention and completion of your courses – not to mention those 5 star reviews that touch our own hearts as Trainers!


Look at movies, stories and even front page news articles.  They just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t make us laugh, cry, get angry, feel trepidation, guilt, joy, inspiration or hope.  All fiction writers, film directors and even professional speakers are taught about the emotional ‘beat map’ – a series of emotional highs and lows that we should take our audience through in order to capture that which is uniquely human – their emotional hearts.  Without it, there would be no story and no experience, and teaching is the same.  


We don’t have to go to the same degree as a blockbuster movie or a TED style presentation when we are delivering training in order to capture hearts, but here are some suggestions that will ensure your ‘heart-centred, soul-driven’ learners feel connected and engaged with your training:


  1. Ensure you include learning outcomes that are focussed on the way your learners will feel by the end of your course and not just what skills and knowledge their will attain
  2. Ensure your course descriptions also refer to the sense of ‘good’ your course brings to the individual, their families, their communities and the world
  3. Use emotional language and include the world ‘feel’ throughout your training
  4. Find out what meaning and purpose your learners place on their lives, and refer to it throughout your training
  5. Find out how your learners feel before your training and ask them how they want to feel by the end of it, and throughout your training constantly refer to how what you are teaching is taking them to having that emotional goal
  6. Include stories and case studies of real people and events in your training programs – they can be sad, funny and everything in between (just make sure they are relevant to what you are teaching and make a learning point more meaningful)
  7. Include reflective type activities in your training, such as guided journal reflections, exploration of deeper meaning and encourage the sharing of personal experiences in group/forum discussion


Join the Edupreneur’s Facebook community ‘Entrepreneur to Edupreneur’ to learn about creating and selling online courses, as well as building successful education-based businesses!



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