As 2017 moves full steam ahead, it is important to take a moment to revisit some useful training tips to ensure your staff get the most out of their learning experiences. Gallup recently found that the Millennial workforce – who now make up a full third of the workforce overall – are very passionate about learning and development opportunities. In fact, 87% of Millennials rated development as important to them in a job. This year, make quality training and development for your staff a priority – because they already have. Here are some ways to ensure optimal training and development that not only will improve the skills of your staff, but increase their engagement with your company, as well.

Create a Storyboard

  

Bombarding learners with mounds of information in an unorganized format will result in participants tuning the information out or feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. A storyboard can help provide a logical flow that facilitates learning. A storyboard is essentially a map of how the content will be displayed. In essence, it lays out how the story will be told. This requires trainers to think about the goals and objectives of the training beforehand. Consider questions such as, what do you want participants to know or be able to do as a result of this training? From there, you can determine the content that you need to include and the best way to present the content so it resonates with participants. It is important to take the time to develop a storyboard so it is clear how the pieces fit together.

So how do you create a storyboard? The traditional method of using sticky notes on a wall is a good place to start. Start by identifying and creating content that ties to your learning objectives, and write these ideas on sticky notes. Next, lay out the sticky notes in an appropriate sequence to ensure proper flow and smooth transitions. From there, decide where to incorporate activities, discussions, and media elements to engage participants. I recommend incorporating interactive elements every few slides, when using a PowerPoint or similar presentation medium, to keep the participants engaged. Review the storyboard, and if possible, ask for others to take a look at it to give you an outsider’s perspective. Make changes as necessary, then begin writing your training notes or script and creating the training course itself.

If you are storyboarding for an e-Learning module, there are a variety of tools and templates to help you with this process. Adobe Captivate Draft is a fun, creative tool that seamlessly translates your storyboard into your e-Learning, streamlining the pre-production and production processes. If instead you are storyboarding for a face-to-face training session, you can use your storyboard to inspire your presentation materials and style, whether that includes a PowerPoint-style presentation, a more old-fashioned chalkboard or flip-chart medium, or even an interactive Q&A session with your participants.

Incorporate Training Tools

At SGEi, we create and implement a variety of training tools to help our clients deliver training that is memorable, motivating, and effective. Some of our best practices include having a training placemat or journal for participants to reference and take notes on during the training. Research indicates that “taking notes is a catalyst for learning.” Thus, it is important to get participants to write down important concepts during training. We also include large, branded note cards to use during activities to get participants working together and writing down their ideas. A useful continuation training tool is a set of daily training cards that highlight company values or other important topics. These cards provide managers with a tool to ensure a mini-training or lesson can be shared daily with the staff. This helps move training from a one-time, often forgotten event to a daily habit.

Measure Effectiveness

As expert trainers, we know that above all, our trainings must be effective. It is easy to get lost in the bells and whistles of interactive training, but it is critical to focus on the learning objectives and assess whether or not those were met. How do we know if the training really worked? To find out, we must assess the knowledge or skills gained as a result of the training. Start by considering what type of assessment is useful based on the training content and the audience. Also, consider when you should implement the assessment—should it take place during the training session, at the end of training, or perhaps several days or weeks later to ensure the knowledge or skill has stayed with the participant? These questions should be addressed during the storyboarding process so they line up with your learning objectives and are not an afterthought. This article by e-learningindustry.com provides creative and useful ways of measuring the effectiveness of trainings.

Don’t Forget to Engage Your Participants

As you start planning, creating, and implementing training in your organization, remember the importance of including and engaging participants. As famously stated by Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” While you plan your 2017 training strategy and beyond, take a moment to consider these ideas on how you can keep your staff truly engaged in their training and learning experiences.

  • Encourage discovery in your courses – Thomas Martin wrote, “Getting participants thinking in advance of arriving for class can keep them excited to participate and share their viewpoint.”
  • Implement interactive activities or gamification – In face-to-face training, a great way to engage participants is to get them up and moving in an activity that helps reinforce the concepts being discussed. In e-Learning, gamification or short video clips can help maintain users’ attention and ensure deeper understanding.
  • Involve the Team – While individual learning opportunities are incredibly important, especially to the Millennial generation, of equal or greater importance is the opportunity to connect and build relationships among team members. Ensure that the training you implement offers team-building, whether during the session or in reflection after the fact.

As you prioritize and strategize this year, ensure that learning and development opportunities are a part of that strategy. Not only can it help increase the skills of your staff and the experience of your customers, but it can engage your employees in your organization and encourage them to reach their highest potential with you. For more information about training programs, custom learning experiences, or our expert training team, reach out to SGEi today. We’re excited to help fulfill the needs of your organization t