Training and performance improvement professionals work hard every day trying to make training more engaging.
Our goal is not to make the training more engaging by itself; we want to improve participation in class, increase learning and retention, and ensure application on the job that improves performance.
Increasing engagement does not have to be difficult.
We live in the era of the short attention span. Once we used to read books, now we skim and surf the web. Even reading a blog can be too much work for younger audiences: they’d rather entertain themselves with Twitter, Instagram, and short online videos.
Modern technology is affecting our attention spans. According to a (somewhat controversial) study conducted by Microsoft a few years ago, the attention span of the average person has dropped to just 8 seconds long.
Now, here is a list of ways you can easily make your training more engaging.
1) KEEP LEARNINGS TO THE POINT
Nothing will bore your learners faster than off-topic material. They’re following your course to learn something specific, so focus your content on giving them just that.
If the theory behind a subject is not needed, skip it. Your goal is to train busy adults, perhaps employees, not university students. In general, avoid irrelevant asides and go straight into the heart of the matter.
2) ASK THE CLASS
If a learner asks a question and you know the answer…don’t just answer it. Put your ego aside and say, “Good question. Does anyone know the answer?” This is a great way to increase engagement and participation in class. This is the best part, if a learner asks a question and you do not know the answer say, “Good question. Does anyone know the answer?” Most of the time someone will have answer and it will spark other answers and some of them might just be the right answer.
3) YOUR MULTIMEDIA SKILLS
Video, audio, and images are great ways to enrich your content and grab your learners’ attention. Provided, of course that you pick the right video, audio, and image content.
Nice, relevant illustrations, for example, can engage learners and even help them understand a lesson better. Boring stock photos they’ve seen 100s of times already, not so much.
The same goes for video. A video of an expert standing in front of a whiteboard and talking will only bore your learners.
Remember that just because you’ve added a video to your course, doesn’t mean you’ve made it more exciting. An engaging video should have relevant content, high production value, and entertaining content.
4) EMBRACE NEW TECHNOLOGIES
To take your training content beyond today’s multimedia options, try and embrace new technologies. This includes formats like VR, a technology which has gotten quite accessible, and which you can leverage to create very engaging and immersive learning experiences.
Same goes for 360-degree videos. They have been trending for over a year now, and offer a simple way to go beyond ordinary video and give the viewer control of the whole scene.
Generally, keep an eye for new and emerging technologies, and, when possible, embrace them early in your training. Innovation is a good way to grab your learners’ attention.
5) GO LIVE
While static content (text, multimedia, etc) can be the foundation of your training, to really grab your learners’ attention you should go live. For example, you could arrange for some classroom-based training sessions, where your learners have a chance to meet and discuss with their instructor and each other.
Or you could schedule some online instructor-led training sessions or webinars, and take advantage of tools like teleconference, screen sharing, and virtual whiteboards.
From the lowly leaderboard to elaborate levels and scoring schemes, the gaming industry has pioneered many ways of grabbing a user’s attention to keep them addicted to a game.
7) ADD HUMOR TO ENTERTAIN
Last, but not least, don’t forget to give your content and your training sessions a touch of humor. Learning doesn’t have to be a dry experience. A sprinkle of fun can help grab the learners’ attention and boost their engagement levels.
You don’t even have to make the jokes yourself – you could, for example, embed some existing webcomics or funny illustrations into your course.
Would you like more tips and tricks on the proper way to deliver a training or presentation?
Get in touch with Rapid Results!