Gone are the days when an entire company could take an afternoon off and sit in a room with one lecturer, taking notes and then calling it a day – today’s fast-paced business environment simply doesn’t allow for that level of inflexibility. That means the training coordinators have some decisions to make!
If there is a difference in how the training will be applied (managers versus general staff, customer facing versus back office, etc.), then that raises a few questions. Should everyone be trained together, or should separate sessions tailored to each group be held? If everyone is together, some participants will sit through training that isn’t relevant to them. That said, separate sessions means more work to customize the training. Are you training people who will be expected to train their own teams, or are you the go-to teacher? You will also need to consider how you want to track registration and attendance; speaking from personal experience, you do not want to try to track via emails or phone calls!
Is this training for new products and services? High-risk or compliance issues where the participants’ understanding has to be verified, or more basic “good to know” concepts with no immediate impact and some opportunity for retraining? Will there be practice areas set up for the participants, or will they be expected to leave training and immediately apply the learning to live systems? As an example, I’ve used the “sandbox” approach for SharePoint training before, creating a test page for participants to practice before manipulating a live site, and I’ve done customer service training where teams are expected to implement the methodology as soon as they walk out the door. Keep in mind that your trainees may want to reference the training again down the line – finding an accessible location to store documents, decks, etc. can be a lifesaver, especially for critical or highly-technical data.
Do you want the training to be web- and phone-based? With a screenshare, users can access your screen from their desks, which is great if you’re working with a team scattered across many locations. However, if attendees are multitasking, confused, or distracted by other things at their desk, the trainer won’t see that, and the attendees could miss vital information. In-person training mitigates that issue, but gathering the attendees into one location for the duration can be a challenge.
How much time is budgeted for the trainees? If training has to be completed in a single day, there’s no opportunity for follow-up questions as a group, and there’s the risk of overwhelming the participants. Spreading training over multiple sessions gives participants an opportunity to reconvene with questions or concerns after training and practice, but scheduling can be a challenge.
How can you make this easier?
That’s a lot of decisions to make, and that only starts the process! For implementation, learning management systems (LMS) can help with registration and taking attendance, storing content (documents, PowerPoint decks, videos), even performance tracking and evaluations. I especially like customizable LMS software, such as what we at MindActive offer, to build a professional virtual learning space for enterprise-specific training needs.
I’ve tried conducting training with and without LMS, and the difference was stark. Going from hand-written sign in sheets (and worrying about misreading and misplacing them!), stacks of evaluations to process, even scrawled notes for follow up questions, to an online system that tracks everything for me was a revelation. Even better, all that material was readily available later for new hire training!
No company gives prizes to trainers who suffer through the training design and implementation process; whether via a full-blown LMS for a corporate environment or more “bite sized” course tracking, using easily available, customized tools to make the process easier gives you more time to produce creative and insightful content. Since that’s what your trainees will remember at the end of the day, it’s worth it!