As I’ve mentioned before, our training and learning management systems (LMS) should be the YouTube that our staff leans on. So if your workforce is lacking a solid LMS, how can you best prepare your team members? It’s not easy, but here are a few starting points:
First (and I’m being completely transparent here), it has to start with me. I myself have to be motivated before I can motivate others!
As an L&D manager, I should be able to engage even the most disinterested learner.
If I expect to create an engaged, excited and active company, I have to translate through the training I create.
So with that said, we know my vision, but what exactly is my mission, and how do we get there? Well, here are a few factors that I take into consideration:
1. Gather feedback before establishing a training plan
Training managers and even managers in general will always have an idea of what their people should know or need to know. And while it’s important to know those bits, it’s also crucial to talk to the actual people taking the training and gain an understanding of what they know, what they don’t know, and what they would like to learn. Knowing their expectations and tailoring training around that will go a long way towards a productive and rewarding training experience.
2. Don’t forget the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?)
We all want to know this. I’m not going to just take training because I have to, right? This is how training has been handled in the past and, as I’ve said before, it’s wrong.
You can’t put training in place just to tick off a checkbox, just like you can’t invest in any kind of engagement technology without a defined purpose.
Why am I going to take something just because I was told to? There needs to be a draw, a reason, a purpose for me (or rather, your employee). Otherwise, you’ll end up getting people to take training without actually absorbing anything, and they pass through the content just to take the quiz and get it done.
3. Tell stories from real life
I learned this long ago…truth is the greatest story teller. I find that learners can grasp a subject easier and put it into practice faster if they can learn from experiences. To add further to that, if I can teach you a subject and relate it to either a past experience or an experience to come, you will most certainly be able to hit the ground running with this knowledge.
Here’s an example: During time at my last employer, EMC, I was part of a team that piloted a series of podcasts called “rainmakers.” The podcasts were interviews with active sales reps in the field who were “making it rain” by closing big sales contracts. The goal of these podcasts was to give current and even new employees examples on how to successfully close a sales deal. If they could highlight some of the key challenges and how they overcame them, that would help a newbie who might be nervous at the first sign of trouble. It could also teach the seasoned vet a new trick or two in a fast paced ever-changing environment. I’m a firm believer that by the use of real life examples, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
4. Challenge your students and make learning fun
I like to strike a balance with my training style. It's not boring or bland, but it’s also not super flashy and over the top. A blended learning method using tactics such as traditional slides, voiceover, video, animated infographics, and games helps me customize my approach. I’ll use these tactics carefully and tie them together, say, with a solid quiz or test. I’ve found this to be one of the best learning methods while providing the challenge necessary to help you achieve the most optimal learning experience.
Put simply, training is most effective when the needs and desires of the learner are taken into consideration. Training is also most effective when it is well-rounded and delivered via a fun, dynamic and engaging wrapping. This kind of training helps to stimulate excitement and growth and ensure that your people get the best possible learning experience so that you want to come back for more. Seymour Papert, who was a mathematician, computer scientist, and educator, spent most of his career teaching and researching at MIT says,
”You can't teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.”
Zachery is the Learning and Development Manager at Reward Gateway. He has over 10 years of experience in L&D and also enjoys spending time with his family, being out in the wilderness, loves fine whiskey and is also an endorsed musician with Outlaw Drums and Sovereign Cymbals.