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Redesigning Corporate Training in a Recession

eLearning - recessionThe sign to the entrance of our housing community was recently demolished by a distracted driver. The sign was old and not as attractive as some wanted it to be. I’ve been part of the discussion about the new sign. The response to the first set of mockups included comments, such as, “I would like to see something more contemporary, and sophisticated, but easy to read” and “This may be someone’s first impression of the neighborhood and we want to ‘Wow’ them.” The message is clear: we want a modern, appealing and high-impact sign at a decent price.

Many of our clients have similar requests: the corporate training needs to have an impact on performance, needs to be modern, and needs to be aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, both our HOA and Allen’s clients want high impact at a low cost, especially in this economic climate.

The connection between our search for the perfect sign and Allen’s clients’ needs for the right training solution soon came full circle when I was researching off-the-shelf alternatives that companies might use for training if budgets are cut. PowerPoint is a common alternative. Since I think slides are too often poorly designed and used in place of interactive activities in ILT, I decided to see what companies are saying about PowerPoint. I found a recent ISPI article by Joanna Dunlap that encouraged using Petchu Kucha and other presentation methods instead of boring PowerPoint slides. Dunlap’s reference to Daniel Pink’s video that models Petchu Kucha, a Japanese approach to more effective use of slides in presentations, seemed eerily timely. Pink’s topic? Emotional signage.

Although Petchu Kucha has been around a few years and was not created specifically with training in mind, the theories behind it seem applicable to simple training topics. The idea of concise, collaborative, energetic presentations could encourage SMEs to focus on key content and lead trainers to spend more time on application of knowledge through activities. Such changes could mean less slide-staring time for learners. I also found a humorous and insightful video about the poor use and design of PowerPoint presentations.

After reading the article and watching the videos, I realized why I sometimes feel that something is missing in training that I review or draft. That something is the emotional WIIFM element that motivates learners to want to be part of the solution or change. Dunlap’s article and the videos provide a good starting point to answer the question: What can we do to improve the effective use of emotion and empathy in our training?

Meanwhile, the search for our new sign continues. I sent a link of Daniel Pink’s video to the other HOA members. Regarding emotion and empathy… well, we’re now talking about improved lighting and placement so that the sign is more visible.