This was originally posted to eLearning Industry June 10, 2019
4 Best Practices For Training And Development
It’s true what they say: an employee is only as good as the training and development they’ve received. If you’ve ever been exposed to training that wasn’t as impactful as it could have been or leaves you feeling a little less than sure that you know what you’re doing, then you know what we’re talking about. Not only can ineffective training really damage your organizations’ bottom line, but it also creates a culture of frustration and unhappiness within your workforce.
At AllenComm, we believe that designing impactful training and development programs within your organization is the first step in not only creating more efficient, productive employees, but also happier, more satisfied employees as well.
So, let’s dive into what we’ve identified as 4 of our best training and development practices. Incorporate these within your organization to ensure that not only ‘what’ but ‘how’ you train your employees sticks with them, and really makes a difference in your company’s day-to-day operations.
1. Identify Your Audience And Performance Challenges Before You Begin
This critical step is the best place to start. If you don’t know who your audience is and what they’re struggling with, then you’ll struggle—with presenting the right info and aligning it with your organization’s needs.
Think about your employee’s backgrounds; including their education, work experience, and day-to-day life. Were they in a college classroom just a few years ago or has it been decades since high school? Try to speak to their experiences and offer content in a language that’s easy for them to understand. Your goal is to make your training feel relevant to everyone. If you’re working with a diverse group, it may take more time to create a training plan that works well for everybody.
Once you know who you’re speaking to, then you can identify the group’s performance challenges. Focus on what your employees are motivated by and what tasks they seem to stumble over the most; don’t be afraid to get specific. What particular behaviors or challenges do your employees need to work on to develop better habits or a more efficient workflow? Showing employees how your training could positively impact their careers, as well as your organization, will go a long way in creating the right tone and impact for the information you’re presenting.
2. Create A Plan For Mobility, Flexibility, And Accessibility
Make your training program as easy as possible for everyone to access. How? We always recommend designing a training plan that’s easily accessible via mobile devices. By making your training mobile-friendly, you’re creating an environment where learners can learn at their own pace and in their own time. Offering a plan that’s mobile-friendly and accessible anytime and anywhere means that you’re creating the most effective training—the kind that always meets a learner’s schedule. Not only will you increase your team’s motivation, but from a bottom-line standpoint, you won’t have to stop production or sacrifice office hours to have your employees complete their training either.
3. Leverage Rich Media, Interactive Activities, And An Engaging Script
Everybody loves a great story. But it’s even better when you feel like you’re a part of the action. Allowing learners to interact with a story engages them far more than if they’re passively watching information presented to them. Utilize audio and video to create a training program that gives your learners a chance to interact and engage with a subject and you’ll see a major shift in the success and retention of your training. Beyond that, gamification introduces an element of competition into your training, offers a bit of a challenge, and employs a learner’s problem-solving skills. Interactive videos give learners a chance to call the shots and decide an outcome in an active learning environment that can safely present the consequences of a bad choice. And with the advent of augmented and virtual reality technologies, there are more opportunities than ever for learners to interact with the stories behind their training to help them focus on the information and goals your organization is presenting.
4. Incorporate Assessments To Test Your Employees’ Knowledge And Make Adjustments
Incorporating both formative and summative assessments into your organization’s training offers many benefits. Formative assessments present testing points as touchstones for learners along the way, making them more likely to self-assess and review information to ensure they’re prepared for their evaluation, while also helping to break up the monotony of a long course. Summative assessments not only let stakeholders know how their learners are progressing but give an organization the ability to incorporate adjustments and course corrections to their training along the way. Both types of assessments provide end-user data that is valuable in understanding whether training is effective as well as how your learners are progressing. If a particular lesson isn’t effective, having an assessment will allow you to see the issue more quickly and adjust your training to address any concerns.
Follow these tips, and you’ll design a training and development program that goes well beyond simply presenting your employees with the information you need them to know. You’ll be creating an engaging learning environment where your employees are active learners that choose where (and when) they learn—while also offering stakeholders the opportunity to assess what their employees are truly learning and make corrections to the training as necessary.