training

Is your training sticky?

by Ashley Crosswhite

Think about the last training you attended, really picture it in your mind. Did it feel like a dream because you may or may not have been napping? 

When you think about rolling out your new technology project, and one of the questions in your mind is “What about training?,” you may feel a sense of dread at the thought of another looong, boring training engagement. Do you ever wonder if it’s better to just skip the training altogether?

According to a recent study noted in the Harvard Business Review, 70 percent of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their job, and only 25 percent of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey believe that training measurably improved performance. This isn’t surprising, given that 75 percent of information from training is lost if you don’t apply it within 6 days

In addition, with the recent switch to primarily virtual work, many people are even less engaged in training than normal. A recent survey showed that 67 percent of employees admit they plan to multitask at their next virtual training session. And 100 percent admit to actually doing it.

But, believe it or not, training can stick with you! There are better ways to teach, foster adoption, and encourage long-lasting change through training programs that you and your team won’t dread. To do this, it takes adhering to four key principles to make the training stick: make it engaging, apple real-world examples, create opportunities to try it out in real-time, and finally, rinse and repeat. 

 

Make it engaging. 

You’ve heard this before, and you know it has to be done if you want any hope of the training having a real impact. But what does making training curriculum engaging really mean when you get down to it? Three keys to engaging content will serve you well here: less is more, visually interesting, live and interactive. Let’s review: 

Less is more. You don’t need long-winded explanations. Studies have shown that the brain fills in blanks or gaps naturally while learning, and the learner has better long-term retention when seeking understanding versus memorizing a task. What this means for training is that we only need to provide the essential information. A good starting point is to take the original training materials and cut the word count down by half. 

– Make it interesting visually. Many training materials are created in Microsoft PowerPoint, and while this is a great tool, we need to be creative with our use of it. Consider producing materials in Prezi , Piktochart, Microsoft Sway, or other authoring tools to keep things a little more visually enticing. Use bold colors, infographics, videos, and other visual interest tools to keep the audience visually interested.

– Live and interactive. Training needs to actively involve the end user. Consider including multiple levels of activity and engagement in your course. Can you add quiz questions? Exercises? Live demos? Are there breakout sessions? Discussion points? Think about all the places in your training where you can involve the audience and plan activities to keep them engaged.

 

Apply real-world examples. 

By creating training tailored to your functional groups, your learners are more easily able to apply the content to their role. It takes the technical aspects and makes them more relatable to the user. Persona-based training brings together the goals, needs, and pain points of the user with the technical step-by-step needed to do their job activities. 

In addition, we recommend layering scenarios into training. This creates an environment for the learner to make stronger connections between the material and their daily workload. This way, your end users can visualize how all this training actually works in their day-to-day tasks and how it will impact their work reality. 

 

Create opportunities to try it out. 

Add exercises into your training. Simply showing the step-by-step process is useful but even more effective is the Show, Tell, Do, Apply model. This model creates an environment for the learner to practice and immediately apply what they just learned. It gives a safe space for the learner to work through issues or fail at an exercise and get help quickly. Repetition is one of the best ways to reinforce learning, and by providing hands-on activities, learners continue to stay engaged despite the repetition. 

 

Rinse and repeat. 

After the training, set up a structure to re-engage with the end user and check in on their progress. To reiterate the statistics from HBR, up to 75 percent of information is lost if not applied quickly. To ensure that users are being reminded of what they learned and are able to apply it, here are a few ways to keep them engaged over a longer period of time:

– Set up “Lunch & Learn meetings.” This is a chance for you to feature a specific topic from training. This could be a topic that has been identified as difficult by many end users or it could be a topic that is critical to the success of adopting the new system. Give users a place to continually refresh their knowledge.

– Reintroduce topics in team meetings. Since we know that peer-to-peer learning is highly effective, have a member of the team share something they learned about the system or that they feel is a helpful tip. By creating an environment that is focused on continually improving technical capability through small micro-lessons, the end user will maintain a positive association with learning new features of the tool. 

– Share short videos with important reinforcement points. Oftentimes, the problem with reinforcing training to end users is that the original training is far too long and overwhelming in content. By creating short videos that reinforce key messages and topics, the end user can quickly review and reinforce material in a self-serve format. 

– Use a variety of training tools. There are many options to supplement your training and make it sticky. Tools like WalkMe, MyTrailhead, and Salesforce User Engagement are all great additions to live training. There are many tools in the Salesforce ecosystem that can provide just-in-time learning. All of these tools are able to connect directly to your Salesforce environment so the user can get assistance immediately and without needing to switch to another system. This increases the speed at which users get answers and therefore reduces frustration with not being able to complete their tasks. 

 

Bonus! — Enable your team to help themselves.

According to Harvard Business Review,  “When your employees want to learn a new skill, they typically don’t Google it or refer to your learning management system (LMS) first; 55 percent of them ask a colleague.” 

This is one of the primary reasons that we at Simplus support many forms of training delivery on our projects, including the Train the Trainer model. This format is designed to help enable peer-to-peer learning. When Simplus rolls off the project, you have a team of experts in your organization ready to reinforce and support the training messages long-term. 

Did we get your gears turning on making training sticky? Reach out to Simplus for help with your training needs! We are experts at creating and delivering customized training that will stick with your users. 

 


Simplus Change Management is offering a special promotion: Adoption Health Checks. Over the course of one week, gain a complete report full of expert suggestions on how to foster better Salesforce adoption and streamline your workplace processes. Learn more here!

 

Ashley CrosswhiteAshley is a Principal Manager of Training Services here at Simplus. She’s an experienced Change Management consultant and Technical Instructor with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry.

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