Employee training is only effective when the trainees are engaged. The training material must provide some form of connection, fascination or motivation. When the material is engaging, your trainees learn more, remember more and are more ready to tackle the rigors of the job. So how do you inspire this kind of increased engagement when the training process is often seen as boring and tedious?
1. Identify existing strengths and skills gaps
Before you can provide appropriate training, you have to determine what the trainee already knows, what they hope to discover and what information they need to complete the job. You can obtain this information through:
- Personal interviews
If you identify specific areas of weakness or limited proficiency, you’ll want to provide training in those areas. Not only will it benefit your organization, but it will provide a more engaging experience for the trainee because they’re being given the opportunity to expand their skill set as opposed to suffering through redundant material.
2. Focus on essential training concepts
To expand on the last point, you need to limit the training materials to those that are most essential or valuable. Employees will naturally tune out if the materials are loosely relevant or beyond the scope of the day-to-day job function. This is becoming especially important in today’s high-turnover economy as new employees often need to be brought up to speed immediately.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re training new cashiers for a grocery job. You’ll want to focus on training topics like:
- How to bag groceries
- Common PLU (product look-up) codes
- Completing transactions
- Organizing a cash drawer
- Identifying counterfeit currency
- How to complete a customer ID check
Armed with this basic knowledge, a new cashier can get to work right away. And the above topics are going to be the most engaging to them because they represent the crux of the person’s new job responsibilities. Once they have the basics down, you can gradually introduce supplementary training topics like cashier loss prevention, communication skills and fire safety.
With Axonify, you can instantly access professional, off-the-shelf training modules for your employees. For instance, all of the bulleted topics in our grocery example above are available in our LMS Content Marketplace. We also have topics related to retail, HR, sales, contact centers and much more.
3. Adapt the training to the employee
As specific concepts are mastered and new knowledge gaps come to light, the training should constantly be adapted to meet the employee’s needs. The simplest way to achieve this is with a learning management system (LMS) that uses artificial intelligence to continuously assess the learner’s progress and adjust the training accordingly.
Axonify, for example, uses an adaptive algorithm to customize each lesson based on what the participant already knows, needs to know and needs to improve upon.
4. Prioritize microlearning
Training is most engaging when it’s delivered in short, bite-sized bursts. Long training sessions not only cause learners to lose focus but are more likely to result in less knowledge acquisition and retention.
Research shows that microlearning can greatly improve learning retention. There’s less mental fatigue, less pressure to memorize large amounts of information all at once and more time to digest the concepts that are introduced. Most importantly, it’s less intimidating than traditional learning, and that in itself makes for a more engaging learning experience.
5. Gamify the learning
Gamification refers to the use of game mechanics to make the learning more exciting. Gamification has long been used for student engagement in schools, but it’s not just for students. It has strong workplace implications as well. For example, Axonify is designed to accommodate casual gaming, whereby the informative lessons are coupled with fun games to keep learners engaged and coming back for more.
Gamification in training has been shown to improve knowledge acquisition and retention, much like microlearning, but it has to be done correctly to be effective. Because not everyone responds to the same types of gaming elements, it’s important to offer an array of game mechanics like different game types, leaderboards, social features and even real-life rewards (if tangible rewards are in line with your company culture). If you can tap into the different types of motivations that make gamification effective, you can engage the greatest number of employees.
6. Solicit feedback from employees
It’s important to connect with trainees regularly to determine where they’re excelling, where they’re struggling and whether the training is resonating with them. If they’re stuck on a particular concept, it can hinder the entire training process and cause them to lose focus. By identifying their sticking points and helping them to overcome these hurdles, you can make sure that the training remains fruitful and doesn’t become a source of frustration.
Ask questions like:
- Do you find the training to be helpful?
- Do you find the training to be interesting?
- Are the training materials easy to understand?
- Are there any specific training materials that you’re struggling with?
- How can the training materials be improved?
- Are there any missing concepts that you’d like to see added to our training materials?
Gather as much information as possible.
7. Make training an ongoing process, not just an onboarding process
Many employers make the mistake of overloading employees with information right out of the gate, which leads to poor engagement. By front-loading only the most important information and introducing supplementary concepts gradually, you can ensure that the training never becomes an overwhelming burden. Trainees develop their skills and knowledge gradually over time, and they actually remember what they learn.
This is where microlearning and gamification become especially useful. Gamification encourages employees to keep logging in to the training system long after their initial onboarding, and microlearning helps to ensure that the concepts stick.
8. Make the training user-friendly
The delivery method is just as important as the learning objectives themselves. You can engage learners by using a modern LMS that’s easy to use, mobile-friendly and equipped with social features for seamless online learning and engagement. While some degree of hands-on training might still be required, your LMS can keep learners engaged as you teach workplace fundamentals or reinforce the concepts taught in person.
Axonify is unique for offering a full array of user-friendly features that keep participants logging in again and again. Our system is mobile-friendly, socially integrated and easy for anyone to access on the go or on the job. That’s part of the reason why our platform averages 83% participation 2 to 3 times a week, which is virtually unheard-of for an LMS.
The right learner engagement strategies will pay off
Even if you don’t follow all of the tips and strategies on this list, you can reap massive rewards by taking small steps to make your training experience more engaging. Start by determining what your employees value in a training experience, and take it from there.
A better-trained team is a happier and more productive team, and that ultimately results in more satisfied customers.