4 Powerful Learning Formats that Can Increase Engagement in the Workplace

“That was engaging training!” Have you ever heard an employee talk about training this way? Usually, the answer to that question is an immediate no, but it does not have to be. Training is difficult to make enjoyable or exciting. But, there are some things you can do to make it better.  Look at these four powerful learning formats. 

Interactive Training

Interactive training is a great learning format to keep employees engaged. Instead of just presenting essential information, incorporating a game or a quiz can help improve retention and increase attention. Leaders can include this kind of involvement both in person and through remote learning. In both cases, activities that involve the entire group can improve the training experience. When employees are sitting in a room of strangers, they are less likely to open up about things they do not understand. However, when the entire group is involved and employees work together, they are more likely to ask questions, make comments, and ask for clarification. 

To successfully incorporate interactive training in person, speakers can include collaborative worksheets or group activities in training. By breaking up the delivery of information, employees are less likely to zone out of the training and more likely to be interested in the different activities. 

To deliver interactive training online, speakers can include polls, simulations, and quizzes. While it may be harder to guarantee employee engagement through remote learning, ensuring that information is delivered in smaller, more appealing pieces can improve employee participation. 

A group of people sitting in a circle. Showing employee engagement.

Social Learning

During on-the-job training, an employee is pushed into job requirements from day one. Usually, employees have someone mentoring them available for questions, but, it is the new employee’s responsibility to complete the duties of their position and ask for help when needed. On the other hand, social learning allows the new hire to take on the role of an observer when it comes to the position’s responsibilities. 

While immediately pushing an employee into their responsibilities can be an effective way to train, some employees find this incredibly stressful. By allowing new hires to shadow an employee, they can take in the information while also asking questions as they come up. After the new hire is comfortable with their position’s requirements, the training can shift to an on-the-job approach. Allowing new hires to ease into a new position will enable them to gain confidence without forcing it.

Online Training

Online training is one of the most convenient learning formats. During the pandemic, businesses used the time for training employees off-site. Unfortunately, some online training is not usually very engaging, and it is easy to zone out or become bored. But, if you do your research, online training can include a variety of styles that are more engaging than a whiteboard with a talking head!  

Online presentation styles include a variety that managers should consider to determine which works for their group. Some training information is best portrayed in animation or point-by-point graphics, while other topics are best presented with a live-action style that replicates a classroom setting or shows hands-on demonstrations. Incorporating interaction, such as pop-up quizzes will help with retention and with keeping the learner interested. 

Bigger Brains is one company that combats training fatigue and boredom in its online eLearning. The format is key. There is an expert and a learner in the video. The conversations and questions between the two on-screen create an interactive environment that the watching learner feels a part of. Many courses come with Knowledge Checks, handouts, and practice files that allow the learner to test their knowledge and follow along. Each lesson is short and compact, allowing the employee to take lessons in minutes, not hours. The learner is in control and can easily start and stop, even repeat as they need to. 

A person sitting at a desk in front of a tripod. A good example of instructor engagement.

Instructor-led Training

Inviting a speaker to present important material is a classic learning format used in business. There are many benefits to providing group training to a more sizable number of people at once. Some of these benefits include employees being able to interact with a trainer, ask questions in real-time, and the opportunity to dive deeper into different topics. At the same time, one of the most common complaints about this type of training is that it can get very dull very quickly. If a speaker pulls out a bland 54 slide PowerPoint, you have already lost any engagement you hoped to receive. The level of the speaker is key – not just an expert in the subject, but a great presenter as well!

Additionally, sometimes the topic of the training is just flat. This doesn’t mean that the information is not essential, but it does mean that you should consider altering how it is presented. For instance, instead of having employees sit for three hours listening to the training, schedule it during lunch hours, provide lunch, and turn the event into a “lunch and learn.” Simply altering how the information is presented can immediately change how employees engage with the material.

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