Engaging and powerful course material is at the heart of a successful training event. Therefore, it’s paramount that the content itself is relevant, innovative and engaging to participants. During a recent MicroTek webinar, we polled training managers to see what is the most challenging part of their job. "Developing relevant course content" ranked as the number one concern. So with that in mind, we’ve put together a few pointers for creating high-impact training materials.
1. Design Training Content Centered on Application
With the limited time a participant spends in a training class, it’s critical to develop memorable take-aways that may be applied to real-world scenarios. Theory and intangible concepts should be explored, but only as far as they can be translated to concrete actions that can help learners do their job better. Take-aways may come in the form of a case study where theory is translated into application or it could be as simple as developing a series of questions that cause the learner to ask what three to five ideas gained from the training would enhance their individual performance and results. The extent to which the learner is able to take concepts learned in class and apply them to their day-to-day work will help take the learning to a whole new level.
2. Match Training Materials to the Learner’s Experience
Not all learners will come to class with the same experience level as it relates to the content. Consider teaching to the median level of knowledge and then break your class into smaller groups of similarly-matched individuals, where instruction is tailored to the knowledge level of that group. This will allow the advanced students to explore higher-level skills while the more novice learners can get the repetition and practice they may need to master concepts. Finding out the “starting point” of learners may involve a pre-class assessment or informal conversations with learners before concepts are taught. Spending the time to do this will help maximize your investment and their time spent in training.
3. Disrupt the Classroom with Technology
As more millennials enter the workforce and automation impinges on our work lives, it’s time to start thinking about how to better leverage digital tools in the classroom. Providing resources to digital content (videos, apps, online learning repositories) that reinforces concepts, allows learners to practice skills, access information instantaneously and learn quickly—keeping learners ‘learning’ beyond the classroom.
4. Design Training Materials That Work on a Personal Level
Today’s learners demand a personalized learning experience. Customization may come in the form of personalizing content, delivery and assessment methods. Program customization requires that you ‘know’ your audience. Adopt a learner-centric approach by understanding their native language, preferred learning method (i.e., auditory, visual, kinesthetic), and digital device choice. Knowing your students by name and using this at every opportunity for personalization also goes a long way in making learners feel valued.
5. Training Content Should Build on What You Have
Unless you’re starting completely from scratch, you have accumulated a lot of content, exercises and tools to teach concepts. Assess the tools that are foundational to teaching course content and build upon these core tools to keep content relevant and impactful. There is no need to start from scratch every time. Instead, make content dynamic by improving and changing as you receive feedback.
Planning a training program goes beyond the need for impactful content. For more information on how to plan your training program, check out our free ebook, the Complete Training Program Planning Guide. It’s full of information about the strategy, logistics, budgeting, scheduling, measuring learning impact and more.