I’ve done a lot of corporate training – taken training, delivered training, consulted about training. You could say I like training; lots of people do. It’s nice to get training at a company – makes you feel like they’re invested in your growth and success. But if training is terrible, then it’s not so nice anymore.
Why is training sometimes terrible? One reason is the format. If you have a lot of content that needs to be taught, the tendency is to hold instructor-led classroom-style training and cram it all into the shortest period possible, so that you can get people back to working on their regular tasks. This approach is understandable, but also a bad idea. How well can people remember information if too much was given to them all at once? With no easy way to reference it later? I always take diligent notes during training, but if I’m honest, I’d have to say that I rarely go back to review those notes. And if I have tried to review them, I often find it hard to decipher meaning or remember context. And a copy of a PowerPoint deck doesn’t typically do the trick for reinforcing material later.
Other issues with this sort of one-size-fits-all training format include:
- Everyone goes to the same class and receives the same instruction, and there’s no opportunity to progress at your own pace.
- There is often minimal understanding before a training class about what the attendees know and don’t know about the topic at hand.
- It is difficult and therefore rare to effectively assess if the attendees learned the material at training OR if the training had an actual impact on the business.
- Most corporate training doesn’t incorporate concepts of autonomy, master and purpose into the approach, so there is less motivation for employees to take it very seriously.
- It can be boring with minimal interaction, resulting in a lack of engagement by the employees.
Training delivered in this very standard format can be improved. First, organizers should consider a series of shorter sessions rather than one long one. Second, it’s ideal to follow the sessions with easy, quick and fun ways to re-access the content and stay fresh with it. Otherwise it seems likely that new material will go in one ear and out the other as employees hustle back to work tasks – a true waste of employees’ time and company resources.
Effective training should involve the audience – in advance, in the room and afterwards. Send an advance quiz to understand knowledge levels of attendees prior to training. Have attendees take part in collaborative exercises during training. Encourage attendees to present ideas back to the room and leave time for open discussion. Provide motivators so people feel a vested interest in understanding the ideas and/or implementing the tools that are being taught. Include follow-up after the sessions as a core part of the curriculum – ideally through games about the content and/or competition around on-the-job application of the training materials or tools.
Some of these ideas for improvement are common sense, but that doesn’t make them easy to execute, especially in an enterprise setting where status quo is the norm. Some leading edge corporate training departments are incorporating new technologies and techniques to improve the effectiveness of their training offerings. Most trainers want to lead fun, engaging and effective training, and most employees want to learn, improve and know about ways to be better at their jobs. But it’s easy to get discouraged when training isn’t keeping up with today’s technologies or possibilities.
We see through research, articles and trends that adults like to play games, that employee collaboration can produce greater results than individual efforts, that incorporating a spirit of competition can inspire higher involvement. Gamification is a term that’s gained steam over the past several years. There are lots of companies offering gamified solutions to help with work tasks, so why not gamify learning itself? Let’s engage our employees, increase their productivity around lessons taught and make them happier and more satisfied about their path towards success at the same time. We’re calling this approach casual-delivery learning, and it’s what mLevel is focused on bringing to the enterprise. Within the mLevel platform, companies can build missions specific to any topic and consisting of a combination of games, videos and real-world achievements. Learners can progress through the mission at their own pace, and the mission can be augmented by any traditional formats of training, boosting effectiveness, retention and engagement. See why more companies are using mLevel as a way to improve today’s typical corporate training methods.