I interact with a lot of small business owners who are implementing training programs as part of their efforts to maintain competencies in their fields and differentiate themselves from their competitors. It may be a coach augmenting her in-person coaching with an online module or an accountant providing a better understanding of tax law through a workshop or online tutorial. Regardless, I’m often asked how to make their training more effective, and I always share the five actions I think are critical to creating training that makes a difference.
Communicate the value. Identify for yourself and learners how this training will benefit them and what they will get out of it. How will they be changed after experiencing your training? You need to clearly communicate the relevance. If you can’t identify how it is relevant or valuable, it’s likely not training you need to provide.
Design the complete experience. Map it all out, including what happens before the course or workshop, what will happen during, and what will happen after the main learning experience. At each phase, identify what resources are needed or provided and where learners can get help if they are struggling. We often neglect the before and after parts of the training experience, but they are just as important—and I might argue MORE important—than the event.
Make it actionable. People rarely want knowledge for knowledge’s sake. They want to be able to DO something when they’ve completed the course or workshop. Throughout the training, provide immediately actionable tasks the learner can do right away. Provide lots of opportunities to practice and give them immediate, constructive feedback. The mistakes they make practicing these new skills will be invaluable learning experiences.
Give them support. Regardless of whether this is an in-person, online, or print experience, let your learners know they are not alone by providing reminders, step-by-step procedures, templates, checklists, interaction with peers, coaching, and access to experts—whatever is most appropriate to your topic. We rarely learn new skills in isolation, so create an environment where it feels like your learners are learning with and from others.
Evaluate and revise. I love getting feedback from my learners. It’s the best and easiest way to know my training is working. Solicit feedback throughout the development process, during the training, and after the training, too. In 3, 6, or 9 months, check in with your participants to determine if and how they are applying their acquired skills and what more they need to better apply their new knowledge.
Many other elements are important for developing effective training. However, without relevance; a complete experience; immediately actionable skills; support; and feedback and revision, your amazing content will fall flat. We can keep that from happening! Contact us to ensure that you’re impressing your clients with your training as much as you are with your expertise in your field!