Are you trying to design effective training but don’t know where to start? Do you feel people’s eyes begin to close any time you start talking? Training is an essential part of any workplace, but it isn’t easy to provide fun and informative training.
You must provide training in a variety of situations:
- Team members must learn new software or new procedures
- New team members are onboarding
- Your company has new clients
Any time something or someone is new – you will need to provide effective training! I’m here to help you learn how to create training that will help you stand out, and keep your audience involved and interested in what you have to say.
The most effective training:
- Is easy to understand
- Engages your audience
- Can be easily updated or adapted for different audiences
- Provides the opportunity for your audience to get hands-on experience
Here are the key things you need to keep in mind when creating effective training:
- Who is your audience?
- What is the best way to engage them?
- What kind of takeaways and handouts can you provide after the training is complete?
1. Who is your audience for your training?
Before you can determine how much detail to provide in your training, you need to know who your audience will be and what they need to know. Your target audience can be as wide as the entire company or as small as a specific group, such as your accounting team. You may need to provide multiple kinds of training on the same software to different levels of employees.
Here’s a sample scenario. Your company is introducing a new tool for the accounting team, and you need to provide training on it. You’ve been asked to provide training not just to the accounting team, but also to their managers and the executive team. You need to think about what level in the company your audience is going to be at to figure out how much detail to provide in your training.
There are generally three primary levels:
- High-level – such as executives who only want a brief introduction to the new software
- Mid-level – a manager of a team who will be using the new software, but will not be using it personally
- Low-level – a team member who will be using the software to perform daily duties
The closer the employee is to the new software, the more detailed your approach to the training will need to be. Executives may merely need a short description and a demo of the software, and a manager may require the same, with some details about any problem areas or a focus on the specific tasks their team will be performing.
The accounting team members who will be using the software to perform daily duties will require both
- A high-level view – a description of the software and a demo
- Detailed information, such as step by step instructions, on how to perform their duties using the new software
2. What is the best way to effectively engage your audience?
If you think back to your school days, you remember how easy it is to tune out if someone stands up front and lectures you. A one-sided monologue is not the best way to approach presenting your training! Instead, create your training to be as hands-on as possible, with lots of visual support.
- For executives, engage them by having a quiz afterward (everyone loves clickers!) or an open discussion about what you’ve covered. “Do you have any questions?” often doesn’t elicit a response, so come prepared with sample questions to throw out if you aren’t getting any engagement for your audience.
- For management, if you are training a group of managers, you can also do a quiz or an open discussion. If it’s a small management team, have them try out the tool if possible, or provide step-by-step video demos you can walk them through.
- For the employees who will be using the tool, come prepared with sample walkthroughs with step-by-step instructions for everyday tasks they will be performing (such as submitting invoices). Giving them a chance to “play around” with the tool both engages them and helps improve their comfort level with it. Everyone loves a competition – after they’ve had a chance to try a task a few times with instructions, see who can complete it fastest without any instructions!
3. What kind of takeaways or handouts should you provide?
No matter how great your training is, the team members who received the training will likely need a refresher once they start using the new tool, software or procedure. There is often a gap between when you provide the training and when the employees will use the training, so you should come prepared for your training sessions with takeaways and handouts. Here are some great ideas for takeaways and handouts:
- Provide a link to any video demos you have put together. People are far more likely to watch a video than read written instructions.
- Step by step instructions for specific procedures are also helpful. Watching a video takes less effort than reading instructions, but they are hard to use when performing the actual tasks unless someone has two screens. Also, paper is portable and can be used anywhere and at any time! Don’t forget to include screen caps.
- Cheat sheets – one to two-page documents with highlights of what an employee may need to know are also useful.
Get started designing your training!
You now know the most critical things to keep in mind while designing your training. You must think about:
- Who your audience is – the closer they are to the change, the more details you must provide in your training.
- What is the best way to engage them – reading from a PowerPoint presentation is a sure way to lose your audience! Make your training engaging and fun.
- How to create useful handouts and takeaways. Create easy to understand videos and instructions or cheat sheets that your audience can refer to if they get stuck.
Keep these points in mind, and you’re well on your way to designing fun and effective training! Let me know in the comments what your favorite training tips are!