Think about a training program you took in the past. Perhaps you were given engaging learning materials, flexible learning times, and the opportunity to interact with your fellow learners. Or, maybe you listened to long lectures without much engagement or peer-to-peer interaction. If you experienced the former, you probably remember what you learned and felt motivated to join additional training programs. If the latter sounds more like your experience, you likely aren't able to recollect what you learned very well, and you may dread training altogether. Situations like those are why it's crucial to provide engaging learning experiences to your employees. Great experiences will help them remember what they learn and ensure the money, effort, and time you put behind your programs don't go waste.
If you are wondering how to keep learners engaged and motivated throughout training, here are five tips:
Provide a flexible learning environment
At a time when flexible workplace models are becoming popular, it's best not to force employees to sit through in-classroom sessions that span for several hours a day. Instead, you can enable learners to decide where, when, and how to learn with mobile learning tools. Let employees choose between self-paced learning, instructor-led learning, and blended learning. For self-paced training, it's important to provide self-explanatory resources that employees can access at any time. If it's instructor-led training, ensure that the actual teaching doesn't exceed three hours.
It's recommended to have a word with the learners about their preferences before putting together the schedule. You can also conduct self-assessments for employees to take at their convenience; this will allow both parties to see how much learners have understood the course material.
Create engaging learning materials
Engaging learning materials will keep learners interested throughout your training program. To start, you can break down your course into several topics. Include bite-sized reading materials that are easy to digest and navigate, as reading materials that are too long and text-filled only make learners dread training. Experiment with different content formats like videos, podcasts, decks, and PDFs, and plan the content in a way that aligns well with the core training topics and the goals. You'll also want to ensure that your employees can access this content from anywhere and any time they need it.
Encourage learner interaction and collaboration
Introducing collaboration in training is a great way to make your programs engaging. Create online groups and forums through which learners can discuss and brainstorm with their fellow learners. When learners interact with each other, different perspectives and new questions arise, helping them to dive deeper into training topics and break down concepts that are difficult to understand. This also keeps your employees motivated throughout the training. Provide group assignments that enable your employees to learn from each other. For instance, you might present a problem pertaining to your training topic and encourage learners to come up with solutions as a group.
Provide hands-on training
Asking employees to learn just the concepts, submit assignments, and complete tests won't lead to much longevity in the workplace; instead they'll need to start incorporating what they've learned into their work. This will help them apply new skills and clearly understand where they could use a little more training. For instance, if you intend to help one of your support employees improve customer interactions, you'll probably organize soft skills training that focuses on active listening, empathy, and making appropriate judgment calls. After covering key topics in-person or through online training, you can have the employee practice each concept during actual customer calls. While they do so, let an experienced peer or manager be a part of the call so that they can guide the learner and provide tips on how they can improve.
Leverage feedback exchange
Exchanging feedback with your learners is a surefire way to keep them engaged and productive throughout the training. Feedback from course tutors enables learners to identify areas that require even more training, whereas feedback from learners enables you to understand what they like about the training program and what they don't, so you can make your training programs even more useful. Encourage course instructors to provide feedback to learners when they submit assignments or complete a project or an assessment. During the end of the training program, you can circulate a short survey to understand how your employees perceive the training.
Enhancing the training program experience
Making a training program engaging is crucial to building a culture of learning at your organization. When learners stay engaged, they'll give100% and refine their skills effectively, thus increasing your training ROI. We hope this blog gave you a clear idea about developing engaging training programs!
Zoho People, our HRMS, comes with an intuitive learning management system that promotes continuous learning and development. It enables training administrators to conduct multiple training programs, organize virtual sessions, facilitate discussions, conduct assessments, grade learners, and a lot more. Learn more about Zoho People's learning management system.
Also see: Bursting the myths associated with employee training and development