Forget Me Not – Critical Steps to Making Employee Training More Memorable

employee trainingBenjamin Franklin said once “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Employee training professionals have to constantly overcome different challenges faced during employee training sessions, perhaps the most pressing being the retention rate of learners. Many of heard the “20 percent statistic”, that is that learners only remember and take with them 20% of the knowledge transferred during training.

One common method used to assess knowledge retention is to conduct post-course testing. In IT training, for example, you can test specific tasks that you addressed during training and see how successfully the learner can perform them successfully.

You can and should also conduct post-training interviews with learners, in order to receive their direct feedback as to how the training went, and what they think they were able to take away from it.  And of course, following the testing, there are various performance supporting aids (such as WalkMe which we’ll get to more later) to help bridge the gap between the end of training and when an employee reaches full levels of proficiency and independence.

Yet, to address the remaining question here – one which learning managers consistently struggle with – is how to make learners remember what they learned during the course? Are there specific strategies and steps that can be taken to reinforce knowledge absorption and retention? Or, in other words, how can one maximize the value of an employee training course?

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Let us look at 5 Tips To Make Employee Training work

Deciding over the Location

If you want training sessions to be memorable, than you need to host them into a space which enables workers to focus on what you have to say, yet remain engaged throughout the course of training.

Regardless whether you teach your employees the basics into an open area, through team-building activities, or indoors, you need to ensure that the environment is a conductive one.

Keep the external noise levels to a minimum so that employees can understand what you’re trying to teach them, and make sure that the space isn’t a large and cold one, as the groups need to closely collaborate with each other.

Getting the Best Trainer

Regardless whether it’s a general presentation, or a specific training session, if the trainer fails to attract the learners’ attention, then chances are they will never learn anything from those courses, or at least forget the majority of it.

A good trainer can easily inspire learners through the power of example, subtle humor, and the like, even if the subject is pretty dry or abstract. In this regard, organizations should seek to find the person with the best qualifications and with the right amount of experience, so that every employee training session will be a memorable one in the eyes of the learners. Besides energy, it’s important for the trainer to be adaptable and innovative. Remember that we live in a digital world and in a social world – the trainer needs to make sure to engage the learners. He must also be able to help them understand that training is essential for their work to be done properly.

1415060_business_graphMaking the Training Sessions Interesting

Beyond the trainer himself/herself, if the content is dull and not engaging, then chances are the learners will soon become bored and sleepy. Yet a reality must be faced here – not everything addressed in training sessions is going to be fascinating and riveting, neither to the trainer nor the learner.  Yet it’s THE WAY it’s presented that matters.

Everything that’s presented at the training sessions should be pointed out in the most interesting way possible, so as to stimulate the employees’ interest and engagement level. In this regard, various techniques can be used, including the telling of a personal story or using humor.

Another great way to stimulate your audience’s interest is to secure a senior leader, which will act as the session host for the purpose of leaving a memorable impression. He does not need to be there during the entire training session, he just needs to be there at the beginning and make a few motivational comments regarding the topic’s importance.  In addition, you can look at including learning games in workplace training.  They provide a unique way to make training fun and engaging, and they also provide a relatively easy way to assess results both during and after the training.

Making Each Training Session Short and Relevant

Let’s face it – we live in a world of short attentions spans. It’s impossible to maintain your employees’ interest for several hours, even if you are the best trainer in the world. People are not used to staying focused for so long, and even if they manage to, they will hardly be able to remember everything that’s been presented during the course.

For this purpose, it’s important to structure each training session in such way as to make it as short and concise as possible, providing workers with the most important skills they need to acquire. All the irrelevant stuff needs to be cut out of the presentation, as this will help them better retain the main points of the course.

In addition, it would also be a good idea to send them a pre-work quiz which is to entice their interest for the topic and give them a brief overview over what they are going to learn.

technologyTaking Advantage of Technology

Technology is undoubtedly a great asset when it comes to compelling interesting training sessions. If possible, the trainer should use different audio-visual strategies, including the usage of colors or pictures, bringing in music for the different segments of the presentation, displaying short videos, etc.

As mentioned earlier, we live in a digital world, one in which the Internet and the devices that allow us to access it have really changed the way we absorb information.  So being able to use multi-media technology in employee training is essential these days, based on how we’re wired, pardon the pun.

Additionally, nowadays technology has enabled executives to either host a training session remotely, or to supplement it, through the usage of e-Learning, m-Learning and associated tools. People are supplementing formal training sessions through informal learning, via social networks, webinars, YouTube videos, and other online channels.

Furthermore, companies would be wise to embrace learning and performance support technology into their employee development strategy.  Continuous learning, in which learning remains long after the training sessions end, have been increasingly cited as leaving a lasting impact.

For those in the world of software training, incorporating online guidance software into their programs such as WalkMe  enables you to deliver a personalized experience for each employee and help them remember what they learned during the physical training sessions.  WalkMe provides step-by-step instructions to aid employees in performing complex tasks, IN THE MOMENT of need, thus reducing employee training costs and times.  In addition, there are some other great performance support software options available for you to consider.

Keep these 5 steps in mind when designing your training sessions, and the ultimate results will be more than satisfactory. Remember that it’s not about the quantity of information, but about the quality and retention of it.

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Confucius Said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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