I’m often surprised at how slowly most corporate training is changing as compared with other areas inside the enterprise. The corporate training classroom looks the same as it did twenty years ago in many cases – with students sitting at desks and the trainer sharing their knowledge at the front of the room. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the best way for me to learn. It’s generally a recipe for my mind starting to wander.
Not only is this kind of training not effective, but also expensive. The trainer needs to be paid, of course, but the bigger waste of resources is the time students are spending away from their jobs. People generally best learn by doing. After all, no one learned to ride a bike by watching someone talk about it. Offering corporate training online gives employees the control to do their training when it’s a good time for them, it also has the added benefit of providing the training they need at the time they need it to get their work done.
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to offer training opportunities online, you need to design your training plan and material. Here are five ways to create an online training program that will drive participation:
- Make it essential. Include information that is necessary to your employees doing their job in the training materials, so that they need to go online to get answers to questions they have in order to succeed. For example, you might consider including collateral like PowerPoint templates and pricing sheets with your training material if you are targeting your sales team.
- Use multi-media. Why stick to boring written presentations when you can use a combination of short videos, links to websites, and images to keep your learners attention. If you use software that allows easy video creation and screen sharing, you can even assign your learners short projects to demonstrate what they’ve learned.
- Get social. Use training software that includes the ability to ask and answer questions, comment, and interact directly with subject matter experts and other learners. Be sure that trainers are notified when questions are asked so they can answer promptly, encouraging more interaction around the materials.
- Crowdsource.While it may be faster and easier to just throw a slide up with the main points you want to impart, participants will retain the knowledge better if you ask for their input. Getting them to brainstorm and share their ideas will put them in the center of their learning experience.
- Play a game. There are so many ways to add gamification to the online training experience and make it more fun. Perhaps the first ten people who sign up receive a special prize or perk, with other prizes and awards given for completing the training by a certain date, or doing well on a test. Most learning systems offer analytics, making it easy to reward learners based on their activity level.
By providing the essential content and knowledge that learners need to get their jobs done, being creative with multi-media, making the experience interactive and social, involving the group by crowdsourcing, and turning it into a game, you’ll inspire more enthusiastic consumption of your training materials. Learners will get the most out of your training session if you put some thought into how you can in make it fun and engaging for them.