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Instructional Design Tips: Design an Onboarding Training that Increases Skill and Confidence

When you hire a new employee, you make a significant investment. It’s important to set them up for success with the best onboarding training you can provide. Any improvements you can make to your onboarding training will increase the chances of better on-the-job performance, employee satisfaction, successful integration into your brand and culture, and retention. All of these benefits increase your ROI – and you can accomplish all of those outcomes with the right onboarding training methods.

Here are five tips to improve your onboarding training, as recommended by instructional design experts. Use one or all these ideas to increase employee engagement, build confidence, and lessen the time it takes for employees to get up to speed within your organization.

Onboarding Training Tips Approved by Experts in Instructional Design

  1. Update to Mobile-Friendly Training. If your onboarding experience isn’t compatible with mobile devices, you’re missing an opportunity to improve the experience. Employees crave flexibility and on-demand learning. (This is even more true now that many employees are working remotely for part or all of their workweek.) Most of us use our phone, tablets or laptops to quickly access information – whether that be for directions, to check out reviews, or find videos to help quickly answer questions – in our downtime. You can present your onboarding training in the same way to make it accessible, flexible for remote work, and easy to integrate into a day.
  2. Add Interactivity to the Training to Engage Employees. Start up the PowerPoint and the monologue, and watch your audience tune out. Not all presentations are boring, but all boring presentations have one thing in common: a lack of opportunity for listeners to engage. Instead of presenting information without interruption, try asking questions or taking a quick poll. Maybe have them do a quick activity with their neighbor. Build in time to pause and give your audience a chance to interact, and they’re more likely to listen and learn.
  3. Motivate with Gamified Elements. You can’t always make onboarding information seem fun, but you can add fun elements and games to increase motivation. Do this, for example, by building in friendly competition to complete tasks, guess the correct answer ahead of a lesson, or score highest on a quiz after the lesson is presented. Award small prizes, or create a leader board to bestow bragging rights. Make it collaborative and social, and people will be more motivated and more likely to enjoy the experience. 
  4. Shorten Your Training. Try to break your training into shorter segments or modules. Use videos, short activities, and brief text resources with images. Think flashcards and one-sheet takeaways that take 10-15 minutes each to complete before moving on to the next lesson. What you want to avoid is sitting your new hire down to go over a full binder of uninterrupted text to read over the course of 3 hours. Instructional designers call this method microlearning, and it is an effective way to prevent boredom and make information easier to absorb.
  5. Use Task-Based Scenarios for Practice. Many people learn by doing. It’s important to see, experience, and practice in scenarios that are likely to show up on the job. Task-based learning helps your employees build confidence, because they can anticipate issues to increase problem solving skills. This helps them prepare, get a better understanding, and feel ready to do their job.

These are some easy ways to update your onboarding training. All are fairly simple to add, and will make a big difference in the experience.

But sometimes, you need to do more than add engaging activities to improve your training and be more effective. Maybe you need to update outdated content to reflect new role responsibilities and tasks. Perhaps, you maybe need IT support update your training technologies, or could use help on the design side to refresh the look, feel, UX and branding of your training.

In that case, it would be wise to outsource for expertise to support your L&D team. If you could you use more ideas, or support from experts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at AllenComm