Whether you need to implement a new training program or your current training methods need fixing, think back to your college years for guidance. Several educational strategies, similar to ones taught at places like Academy Canada, that happen to work well in college can help you plan an effective training program.
This Is A Marathon, Not A Race
Your objective is to train both new and current employees and have them retain information throughout their employment. Like college courses, you typically have many weeks to cover material and years to complete your program. Cramming important information into a few days or sessions will only result in tired and disgruntled employees who may not retain information. Address the immediate training needs required to start work and gradually incorporate additional training materials as needed.
Teach Without Lecturing
Many college courses with a discussion format have an excellent response from students, because the atmosphere is more informal and opens dialogue between students and their professor. You may want to take a similar approach for training. When the nature of the training allows for an informal atmosphere, consider holding training at a round table where employees can engage each other.
Another teaching approach often seen in college, especially laboratories, is creating applied settings. Depending on the specific type of training, you might create case studies for employees to solve, practice human resource skills through role-playing or use computer simulations. The hands-on, interactive nature of applied learning makes training more interesting for employees, and they are more likely to retain the information they have learned.
Evaluations Cut Both Ways
Just as you expect to evaluate your employees, you should be open to evaluations about training. Unlike many colleges, which only require evaluations at the end of the semester, make evaluations an ongoing process. After training is over, it is too late to make adjustments if your employees feel the training could have been better.
You cannot expect your employees address you directly concerning the quality of training. Employees may be concerned that honest evaluations could leave you with an unfavorable opinion of them. Set up an anonymous online survey during each training session so your employees can candidly give their opinion of training. Actively consider suggestions and be willing to make changes.
Training Is A Moving Target
In every field of study, there will always be new developments and different ways of doing familiar tasks. The same goes for how you train your employees and the content of training. You should always view your training as a work in progress. Just as professionals attend continuing education classes or seminars to refresh their skills or learn new skills, you should never structure your business training with a definitive end. Even employees who have been with your company for decades can benefit from refresher training or learning new ways to perform their job more effectively.
Test In Bites, Not Chunks
When testing is a component of your business training, forcing your employees to retain large chunks of information and expecting them to excel will lead to disappointment. Much like having only a midterm and final exam in college, the amount of information on a single test can be overwhelming. Even if your employees perform well, this does not mean they have learned the material and can apply the same information to their job. It is more likely they have crammed right before the test and may forget the information soon after. Testing on less information more often is always a better strategy.
Content is not the only important component of effective business training. The way you present content and what your employees retain is equally important. Think of your training as a small-scale college education and you will be off to the right start.