Thursday, 09 November 2017 04:40

How to Make Training Engaging and Effective

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Every business has its challenges when it comes to training employees, but there are three issues in particular that plague companies trying to improve their training programs. All three of those issues result in low ROI and negative views of training when they’re not addressed.

Effective training looks much different today than it did 30, 15, even 5 years ago. We have more access to data and scientific evidence that proves traditional approaches to training aren’t as effective as they could be if modern methods were incorporated.

Your employees have become accustomed to constant connection through various devices. They have access to media that’s relevant to whatever they’re looking for — whether it’s learning how to complete a task, being entertained, hearing about current events, etc. They expect their training experience to be up-to-date with the technology they’re using daily, and to deliver the information they need to be successful in their job.

In a 2017 report, Execu|Search found that 76 percent of Millennials rank professional development opportunities as one of the most important elements of a company’s culture. Considering that they are already making up about half of the American workforce, paying attention to the learning needs and preferences rising from Millennials’ development is crucial for a company to see any return on its training investment.

So, what are the needs and preferences of modern learners? Short content that delivers the message without overloading the brain’s natural capacity to take in information. Video based content with high production value. Reinforcement of training to move important information to long-term memory. If your training is too long, unengaging, and lacking reinforcement opportunities, it’s time to make some changes.

CREATE A MICROLEARNING HABIT

When you’re taking employees off the job for training or having them sit through hour-long courses, you’re missing the opportunity to help them become better at learning. With packed schedules and endless to-do lists, your employees need the ability to learn relevant information whenever and wherever they need it. This means they need short bursts of training (less than 10 minutes) that can be in-corporated into each day, a.k.a. microlearning.

Utilizing microlearning not only decreases cognitive load and allows for a higher percentage of the information to be absorbed, but it creates a habit of learning every day — which is a foundation of innovative and agile organizations.

QUALITY MATTERS: IS YOUR TRAINING A BLAST FROM THE PAST?

One of the biggest complaints from employees about their employer-provided training programs is that the content is out of date. Training videos from the 1980s are hard to take seriously when you’re distracted by the wardrobe choices and the inferiority of the technology. Video is the most popular and most effective format for a wide variety of training topics, but learners today will have a hard time engaging with anything that doesn’t have high production value or clearly demonstrate that it’s relevant to their job today.

HOW TO PREVENT TRAINING FROM BEING FORGOTTEN

The third and most critical issue has nothing to do with what happens during training. It’s all about what happens afterward. Our brains are wired to forget things that they deem unimportant, and they do so at a stunningly rapid rate. Within 24 hours of a training event, your employees will have forgotten 70 percent of what they learned — unless you counteract this natural forgetfulness with post-training reinforcement.

Making training memorable means using spaced repetition to help short-term memory transfer to long-term. Using quizzes right away promotes the first stage of recall, and then spacing out follow up questions (multiple choice, short answer, polls, etc.) signals to the brain that this information needs to be used, therefore it should be moved to long-term memory. Whether learners answer follow-up questions correctly isn’t important. Provide them with the correct answer, and the benefits of forced recall still stand.

To see greater engagement and ROI in your employee training program, try incorporating modern microlearning with post-training reinforcement.

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