Trends Changing the Face of Corporate Training

Debbie Wooldridge
Posted: May 5, 2014

As I prepared to facilitate my very first training session, I stood nervously at the counter at Kinko’s waiting for the associate to print my carefully crafted overhead transparencies. It took me a week to create the transparencies; I really wanted them to have a huge visual impact! Once the printing was done, I carefully placed each transparency into a clear cover with three ring binder holes punched, I was ready to go!

Standing in front of the class, I pulled out my binder and placed my first overhead transparency on the screen. It was a proud moment when I realized everyone in the class was writing down exactly what I had displayed! Oh, the power of being the facilitator!

Believe it or not, that was about 15 years ago. It is shocking how far we have come in the past 15 years with what we can do to make an impact in our training classes. What is even more shocking is how many facilitators are still relying on PowerPoint presentations to be the visual interest in sessions.

[Tweet “Quit relying on PowerPoints to create engagement. Learners want more!”]

Thankfully, there is a great movement underway to help corporate training events evolve, incorporate best practices and become more effective.

Improve Employee Engagement with Gamification

Using game mechanics and design techniques in non-gaming context is very appealing to the Gen Y and Gen X workforce. The concept is to make learning fun and challenge the learner to learn through quests and competition. Companies that implement gamification as a key component to their training programs quickly find that it’s a powerful way to engage employees and to change behaviors, develop new skills, and drive innovation.

Create Agile Processes

Use technology as a resource to create impactful training that’s faster, cheaper, more engaging, and follows an agile process — eliminating or combining instructional designer (ID) steps without sacrificing effectiveness. The use of templates, shells and tools, as well as prototyping, enables IDs to speed up the production of learning materials. Today’s ID toolkit is filled with technology-based tools (such as Articulate, Versal and Raptivity to name a few) that generate robust, interactive, and engaging content while reducing both the development cost and time. By utilizing the tools and prototyping, IDs can implement an agile approach to reduce the need for heavy processes, thereby benefiting the organization by getting the first version out to the learner faster.

Keep Business Results in Mind

Approach training with real business results in mind — ensuring that IDs are asking probing questions during analysis such as:

  • What does the business hope to achieve?
  • What performance changes or behavior changes would the employee demonstrate to meet that goal?

Then, identify all options to achieve that goal. With the ID’s early involvement in the analysis process, he or she can help ensure the right questions are being asked of the business partners, as well as identify a much better measurement of the success. IDs must get away from only measuring success by the number of learners who pass an assessment or how the learners felt about the training. Instead, IDs should focus on building out a strategic plan with the business to truly measure success. This can really only happen with a much earlier engagement and follow-ups throughout the implementation and evaluation phases.


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