Play to win: with our new 3D virtual game the highest scoring supply chain hero is in with a chance to win a bike. Play game

Written by Ohanes Missirilian

Why training needs to be engaging to be effective

Every organization wants its employees to have the latest skills, but ingraining those skills – no matter how much money is spent on training – isn’t always easy, and failing to do so can be detrimental to the organization’s success.

Simply put, training must be engaging for the employee. If it isn’t, organizations won’t benefit from the skills development they intended, employees won’t appreciate the investment being made in them or feel that they are growing in their roles, and businesses won’t see a return on their training investments.

Fundamentally, engagement is the key to effective training. Here are three key steps that will guarantee effective, lasting training for every employee.

  1. Getting the topic right

Training content must be fueled by customer insights. So if you’re working with – or looking to engage – an eLearning provider, make sure they listen to customer feedback on how the skill development needs of their teams are evolving. These insights, as well as market research, skill levels, portfolio gaps and more, should all be taken into account with the courses on offer to ensure that really meet the needs of customers and learners.

Beyond this, ensure the content is created and developed by specialist practitioners with real-world, applicable experience. And be confident that the courses are delivered in an intuitive and user-friendly platform – one that tracks learners’ engagement and ongoing progress is a must.

  1. Engaging learning formats

Everyone learns differently – both in terms of the way they absorb information and the pace at which they get to grips with new concepts. Not only that, but it’s natural that learners will enjoy and stick with the training far more if they enjoy it and it’s delivered in a variety of formats.

Training providers should cater to all these needs and offer multiple ways to teach, apply and assess knowledge. A good practice is for detailed content to be delivered in high-impact eLearning and then reinforced with other bite-sized content types to really embed the knowledge in the mind of the learner. You can learn more about different formats here, which includes:

  • High impact eLearning
  • Simulations
  • Expert reviews
  • Microlearning
  • Application-based tasks
  • Gamification
  • Exam assessments
  • Webinar toolkits

As individual learning needs are different – the overall learning plan should be too. A personalized and continuous program of development that learners can work through at their own pace, and in a language of their choice, is a far more effective than a one size fits all approach.

  1. Learning journeys, supported by line managers

A review of the learner’s starting skill level is the best place to kick off training and ensure that selected courses will help to close skill gaps. Managers should be supporting this process so that they’re clear on where the learner needs to develop, what they will gain from the training and how they will apply it when they are back at work.

The entire purpose of training is to improve performance and while many learners may feel naturally motivated to implement their newly-developed skills, others may need a little extra support. To make sure that employees can apply what they have learned from training courses, managers must give them clear opportunities – and targets – to implement new skills. In addition, employees must understand why they are doing a training course and what to expect upon completion. So, aligning with employees and ensuring they know potential outcomes after the training, such as increased responsibilities or adopting new approaches to tasks, will help them feel supported and confident with the changes.

Only by focusing on engagement and building training plans around it can organizations and their employees effectively learn, retain, and practice the latest skills needed to succeed–individually and as a business. Those that ignore the call for engagement risk wasting time and money on training programs that simply won’t stick.

Ohanes Missirilian Learning and development leader in Procurement ByAction