As anyone in the L&D industry knows, training programs have become a crucial element of a business structure.
Small business, corporate enterprises and non-profits now all see significant value in training their staff in new skills, industry development and general management skills to improve the output of their business and make it a more desirable option for potential applicants.
As someone called upon to create and deliver these training products, you need to always be on the lookout for new ways to provide businesses with content that possesses a unique edge. More often than not in this modern age, it’s easy for ‘copy and paste’ training programs to feel tired. Every company is running them and frequent job-switchers may have even come across them before.
If you’re worried about your content failing to reach expected standards or want to usher in a new age of brilliant training, we’ve pulled together a few ways for you to switch up how your training programs look, feel and connect with an audience of professionals eager (or not so eager) to learn.
Effective, engaging training requires a tight grasp of instructional design best practices. Test yourself on your knowledge of instructional design principles with this quiz!
Remote working may not be for everyone, but it does present companies with a unique opportunity to completely overhaul their training processes and content.
Packing up our desks and unloading them in makeshift bedroom offices has made life difficult for everyone in 2020 and presented companies with a number of new challenges. How do you keep a workforce connected? How do you continue to grow without risking your company’s future? Genuine questions for concerning times.
Truth is, remote working shouldn’t present a massive challenge for many modern businesses and their training programs. Anything you’re producing or creating for them should be primarily online anyway. Documents, infographics and videos can replace in-person training sessions – as can webinars – meaning remote working is less a wave forcing change and more a final necessary push. But that doesn’t mean simply transferring ILT training to a webinar or virtual classroom environment. Here are some best practices for virtual training to make sure your learners still take what they need to from online instructor-led sessions.
Purchasing online packages and accessing training content from the cloud is nothing new for the majority of businesses – so this transition will hardly be a difficult sell. Beyond essays, tests and interactive tasks, many remote working trainees (particularly fresh starters being onboarded into new companies) will be looking for reading material to process in their own time – whatever industry you’re in, whether it’s marketing to ecommerce to visual design. High profile examples can be integrated into these files for a more holistic training experience.
Remote working presents a brilliant opportunity for professionals of all kinds to better themselves and master new skills – with work being limited by the impact of the pandemic and the lack of office distractions giving them more time. Be willing to experiment a little and make use of existing material in brave new ways.
For designers: A huge number of designers will be working from home themselves (either temporarily or permanently) and should use this opportunity to put their own experiences into their work. When creating training content try and relate lessons to the current situation and build programs that translate well into individual use. Forget tricks that engage groups — this is the time for attentive, engaging 1-2-1 design.
Access to new tools and information
While it may frustrate managers and business owners across the world – a major industry change should be music to the training developer’s ears.
It sounds obvious, but it’s pointless to apply old ideas and methodology to an industry that has moved on significantly. While changes cost money, most businesses will see this as a necessary point with which to update their training programs.
The advent of new information, ways of doing things and new tools to help you achieve your goals are all things that should be the centerpiece of your training program, not something that should be retrofitted onto it or left for staff to work out themselves through trial and error.
Take the digital marketing industry as an example. Should the Google algorithm change or the structure of paid advertising on social media be re-worked, your training should immediately be re-formatted to fit these changes. Having people working with old methods could do more to harm you and your output, so take the time to make these new theories and the tools that power them a big part of what you do.
Your training program should naturally grow and evolve over the years, so don’t look at these industry-wide changes as a challenge or annoyance, but an opportunity.
For designers: As designers, we should always be on the lookout for new developments in both our own field and the industries we’re appealing to. If you work with clients in a particular industry or have a job coming up to re-work training material take the time to delve into the changes yourself. Be able to look at this new scenario from the point of view of an expert — it will lead to a more natural and informative piece of content.
An influx of new staff
While some businesses hire staff based on their existing knowledge and experience, many companies prefer to bring in raw talent and shape it into a more valuable asset for their industry.
A vital part of this shaping process is perfecting their training programs and processes. A large spell of hiring can be the perfect opportunity to re-figure your training processes for a younger or less-experienced workforce.
If you’ve been considering switching up how you train new staff or create programs for hiring businesses (from content to timing to process) having a group of hungry and excited new starters is a great chance to test out what is and isn’t working. You can look at this in two ways: new starters are either the test round to notice issues with your training program, or the first opportunity to see if new systems are as effective.
Training a new team member is about offering them autonomy and guidance in equal measure. Training should cover everything they need to know, while giving them the space to ask questions and solve problems themselves. Again, a list of responsibilities and instructions will be lost on a new starter (and anyone in the company for that matter), so a switched up program should be aware of effectively drip-feeding essential information.
For designers: Training content for new starters has to be warm, welcoming and easy to digest. Work closely with the client to understand what the most important information to get across is and treat the operation as an introduction to both the business and their processes. Personal flourishes and touches unique to the business can really add a lot to the feel of a program and make new starters feel welcomed.
You may feel like a vulture circling for leftovers, but companies that process major reshuffles are prime candidates for switched up training programs.
No one enjoys a reshuffle of any kind (even if they end up working out), but they do present a unique opportunity to streamline and experiment with new processes in equal measure.
Companies recently involved in a restructure are vulnerable to new ways of doing things and can be more accepting of less than conventional training programs. In fact, they may see it as a chance to right the wrongs of their previous structure.
Training programs should feature role and industry-specific information, but they should also be based on your specific company. A restructure allows new ideas from new people to filter into the training, offering a unique outlook of techniques, solutions and problems. Don’t just slap a picture of the new manager on your guide to internal comms – let them work with you devise the program.
Re-figuring your training programs to launch alongside a reworked business is a great way to make sure everything is operating on the same level, including people who join the business down the line.
For designers: Get to know every face and every role that will be important in the restructure. While these programs will hopefully be evergreen, business training should always take into account who is important in the company. Use that to add a human touch and personal influence to your programs and the way they look.
Comprehensive, varied training programs are becoming an essential piece of the business puzzle. Without them, you risk damaging the growth potential of your business and the people who keep it moving. If you feel the need to change and stop one of these opportunities approaching on the horizon, grab it by two hands and secure the future of your training.
In this webinar, an expert panel discussed the future of L&D and how teams can future-proof their training solutions. Check out the full on-demand recording:
The New L&D Gameplan: How to Safeguard Against Uncertainty in Uncertain Times