Attending a training class should be an exciting experience. You’re learning something new and hopefully something you can actually use. You’re sitting in a room full of people that likely are struggling with the same problems you are and have what should be an expert teaching you how to solve those problems. However, we often find ourselves distracted, bored or even put to sleep.
We’ve all been there, but what causes this and how can you prevent it from happening to you or your colleagues? Whether it’s a one hour or forty hour course, there are factors that you can influence to ensure that everyone stays fully engaged throughout the entirety of a course.
What’s the Real Problem?
We live in a society of instant gratification. If you want something, want to know something, or want to share something it can be done instantly from the palm of your hand. Researchers have found the average person checks their phone 85 times a day, that’s twice as much as they realize.
So training instructors are in a constant battle between what they are teaching and something that might seem more interesting on a student’s phone. It might seem like instructors are fighting a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, this isn’t high school. People attending your training actually want to be there. They or their company often paid for them to attend and they’re hoping to solve real problem.
There are several factors that can lead to an unsuccessful training engagement. Let’s look at each:
The design of the course material goes a long way to keeping people’s attention. For example, if there’s not a natural flow between topics or your presentation doesn’t clearly define a problem and then solution you will certainly lose a group. You can also have too much material.
You’ve likely hear the phrase “Death by PowerPoint”. Some classes go by the theory the more PowerPoint slides and text that can be jam packed into a presentation the better. Following this approach is a great way to have no one ever want to attend you trainings again.
Often overlooked is the environment where a training class is delivered. In our world today, training is delivered in multiple formats so the environment can vary. Traditional classes are delivered in-person and you have a lot of control over the setting, but often classes are delivered virtually where you hope your students setup an environment that’s ideal for training. If you do not have the right environment for your employees to learn, you are setting them up for failure from the start.
Here’s an easy example: Are you sending your employees to an in-person training session? If you are, that may not be the best thing. According to a recent study by CertifyMe.net, eLearning has been proved to increase knowledge retention from 25% to 60%.
Not all employees learn better virtually but if you’re only looking at one option for training, you may be setting you and your team up for failure.
A strong instructor can make up for the lack of other important engagement opportunities, while a poor instructor will only emphasis what’s missing. Not only is that true, but student’s long-term memory of a class will often be tied to the instructor and not so much the amenities. The smartest people don’t always equal great instructors so the person leading the class is critical.
Is your instructor relying solely on their presentation materials and not interacting with the class? If so, this is a major problem. People don’t need someone to read from a manual or PowerPoint, they can do that themselves.
People today want to be entertained. When asked, 80% of people surveyed said they would be more productive at their jobs if learning was more game-like. (Talent LMS)
Bottom line, can you afford for your employees to have an unsuccessful training experience? According to GozHR, 40% of employees who receive poor training leave their positions within the first year. Most companies can’t afford to lose employees at such a rapid rate.
In part two of this blog series, we’ll look at solutions to improve training retention in each of the discussed areas.