Organizations can utilize content created for training for quite some time, even several years, as long the content is relevant and best current best practice standards. It could be training for onboarding that is repeated as new hires begin. It could be annual compliance training. Either way, training content can be used repeatedly. One of the most important objectives of any corporate training is that the learners are able to apply what they learned once the training is complete. There are certainly ways to measure that.
But, what if the learners are not retaining the training material? What if what they learned isn’t relevant to what they are doing during their workday? One of the biggest reasons for this is likely that the content offered might be outdated. It might be time for a content make-over. Below are three signs it’s time to upgrade your content.
It’s a good idea to give the learners an assessment before the training and after to compare results and, ultimately, measure the success of the training. “The pre-assessment serves as a starting point, a benchmark that allows you to track individual growth.”[i] If your findings show zero to minimal changes in the results of the assessment, that could be a clear sign that you may need to go back to the drawing board for new content.
Lack of Enthusiasm and Engagement
Learner reactions can tell a lot about the quality of the training. If the learners are excited about the subject and the approach, you are on the right track and heading toward successful training outcomes. However, if learners seem uninterested, you may want to rethink the approach to the way the subject is delivered. And, that could start with the content. Also, as the training is taking place, whether online or in-person, pay attention to the learners’ reactions. Are they engaged, excited for the next slide, or module? If not, this might be another sign that the content is not engaging enough and may need improvements. It’s imperative to create engaging “content that appeals to employees on an individual level.”[ii] This could be achieved in many ways. Try using captivating images, media and make content contextually relevant. “The hallmark of a truly successful online training course is its ability to connect with people. Even the most unmotivated employee cannot resist a serious game or interactive scenario.”[iii]
“All the facts and stats in the world don’t do any good if they lack real-world application. Your employees should be able to use every piece of information and skill they acquire in real-world settings.”[iv] This is critical. If your learners can’t apply what they have been taught to their jobs, then why invest in the training? Branching scenarios, simulations, and relevant case studies are a great way to leverage learner engagement. These interactive activities give the learner the opportunity to practice during the training. This will then make it easier to apply what they have learned once the training has been completed.
If any of these signs seem familiar, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your training content. Consider contracting a content developer, someone to aide in the content make-over your training needs. It’s crucial to the success of your training that you continually improve on the training content. There isn’t one way to conquer this task but the “secret is knowing when to go back to the drawing board.”[v] Continuing to offer training that is not relevant or engaging, can significantly hurt the organization’s ROI. Make sure your learners are walking away with knowledge and the best training experience.