The training landscape is changing drastically due to organizations’ global expansion, technology and the entry of millennials into the workforce. Companies are looking to impart effective training and at the same time reduce the training costs. On the one hand, companies no more want to force employees to undergo training at a specified time, but instead allow them to learn at their own pace. On the other hand, millennials are interested in personally fulfilling and rewarding learning experiences.
Now the key to success of a training program is to ensure how effectively we are able to bring about learner engagement. As learning professionals, it is exciting to see this shift, but then don’t you think these are adding to our challenges? So, how do we check all of these boxes and create interesting courses? Out of my experience of working on multiple projects, I would like to share a few tips with you.
1. Divide the information into learning chunks.
The younger generation has shorter attention spans; so don’t think of covering everything in a single byte. Easy digestible modules make learning more manageable and interesting, as the learners can access the courses whenever they wish to. It also makes it easier for them to quickly review selected portions, immediately before performing the task.
For example, our client, a pharma giant came up with a huge e-learning curriculum for each medicine for training their medical representatives. We divided the course into byte-sized 15-minute modules; one module will have information on the disease; another one will include details about the research findings; one more module will contain product information and one separate module will have administration instructions.
2. Design to meet the training need and expectations.
It’s not easy to get a ‘wow’ effect into the e-learning courses. You need to formulate a highly effective strategy based on the content type and what the learner is expected to do after the course completion. For example, if you wish to bring in a behavioral change in your employees after taking the safety course, then a scenario or case study-based approach may help. In case the training is about software and the learner must be able to use it thereafter, you should think of designing a simulation course.
Your battle is half won if you decide on an appropriate strategy. Take a look at some of the strategies that we use in our courses.
3. Include a learning motive with ‘what’s in it for me’.
Millennial learners will not be interested or motivated to take the course no matter how great it is, if they are not informed on how the learning will help them in their job role. So include the learning objectives in your courses to get the buy in. Introduce the objectives in the form of an icebreaker or pose a series of questions and make them think about the answers. This is a great way to engage and capture the learner’s attention.
4. Design to make learning memorable.
Never compromise on the visual strategy, especially on the graphical user interface (GUI) of a course. The GUI gives an idea of the look and feel of the course to the learners even when they take a quick glance at the course. Hence, spend ample time to design. You can get the inspirations for the theme from the course content.
For example, our client wanted to have a course on the automation tool kit, which provides an overview of different automation tools, processes, and checklists that the learners have to use in their job. We used a robot image in the GUI with icons.
5. Decide on the multimedia elements.
Use a variety of media available to serve different learning groups – auditory, kinesthetic and visual learners. Use graphics, interactivities, videos and narration to support the course. But not too many clicks, or everything on screen given again as audio, maintain a balance and keep it simple. Look for patterns and decide on the type of interactivities to deliver your message.
6. Try out new assessment patterns.
When it comes to assessments, single/multiple choice, matching and drag and drop are our favorite tried and tested patterns. Of course, they are effective in testing your learners, but if you wish to really impress, be a little more creative. To get your learners engaged at higher cognitive levels, you can construct activities that challenge them in new ways.
For example, you can try out discovery learning with hints, storytelling if you set a context, and include a goal or learning games with feedback and scores.
The younger generation prefers byte-sized engaging courses that spark an interest and motivate them. These are some strategies that can help you to design engaging courses. Do you wish to add them to the list? We would love to hear from you.