Making your training stick is like looking at the ROI. Companies want to see they get value for sending their employees off to training sessions. They want a return in their investment. So how do you do that?
How do you ensure the training your amazing RTO puts out is going to stick in the minds of the students? Here are 11 tips based on neuroscience and experience to support your classroom, and the ongoing performance of all of your students.
1. Don’t just lecture. Leave the lectures to your high school human biology teacher. Keep the room motivated by having the students seek additional information, interacting and wanting to learn. Even if you are training something that is very mundane, for my own sanity I need to have people engaged. So keeping it interesting, means you are engaged, as well as your learners. While training should be taken seriously, this doesn’t mean that the entire session has to feel stiff and buttoned up. In fact, a little humour can go a long way. This should also be the case in face-to-face training and in any e-learning you are implementing.
2. Get your students engaged. Encourage your students to be interactive, to offer up their own solutions, and to debate each other’s responses. This keeps your students engaged in their learning, which then allows them to become more confident about themselves and what they are learning. When they are engaged they are more likely to take away information that they will draw upon for years to come. Keep it conversational.
3. Notice your mood and its impact. Your level of self-awareness can really affect how your student perceives you. If you can identify your own emotions and their impact on your responses, you can have more control over training interactions and these interactions’ outcomes.
4. Make the students lead. If it’s a class discussion or performance make them feel they are directing it. This is really about allowing them to practice their new skills and learned knowledge. As the facilitator remember to keep them on track, and support with the correct solutions if need be.
5. Relate to real life. Provide examples of how this learning can relate to their own life, or work life. Get them to discuss those situations, which allows them to embed the information into their brains, bodies and cells. Encourage them to plan when and how they will use their new skills. People want to know what is in it for them, so you need to relate to them. Ask trainees to share with others how this training information is going to change their jobs. It’s critical to address the “what’s in it for me?” by speaking about their newly minted skills in the context of their pain points and what they care about. For example, if an employee cares about performance, you might say, “This skill will help or hurt your performance rating.” If you’re able to show how the desired behaviour solves a problem the employee has, he or she will feel more motivation to change.
6. Play games. The act of playing games keeps the energy up in the room. Make the game relevant to the topic, so it is added learning. A game will change the dynamics, allows people to move state, and to share some of their learned knowledge with a smaller group. It also gets them away from any other distractions they may have sitting at their desk.
7. Use stories: Instead of explaining why things have to be a certain way and leaving it at that, use real life stories that illustrate why certain protocol is in place. Stories create emotion, which then connects the information. Adding the human side increases their connection, their account of the reasoning behind the information, and the underlying message. Good stories do more than create a sense of connection. They build familiarity and trust, and allow the listener to enter the story where they are, making them more open to learning. Hearing the thought behind the practice makes it easier to remember.
8. Use multiple teaching methods. Use discussions, case studies, games, stories, video or other multimedia. Don’t be scared to change the course of a lesson – if they’re losing interest and you need to get them back on track with a different activity or short brain game. Have fun.
9. Check for understanding periodically. People quickly become overwhelmed by hours upon hours of training. Stop periodically and check for understanding. Ask a few questions or bring up discussion points. If you are getting the students talking, then this will happen naturally. This will make it abundantly clear whether everyone is on the same page or not.
10. Break your session up into smaller chunks. Having chunks over the course of a few days to ensure that everyone is still absorbing what’s being presented.
11. Pair up trainees and have them teach each other. Use the Buddy System when the students are away from the classroom, so that their learning journey is not alone. Research shows that giving people a “buddy” to practice their skills with is a valuable way to ignite lasting behaviour change. It gives them someone else to practice and improve with. It increases accountability and social pressure to change, resulting in them seeking out more opportunities to do so.
Finally get them to Practice, practice and then add in some more practice. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell hypothesizes that to be really great at something, an expert needs to practice about 10,000 hours. So your 1 day training is not going to make an instant expert. Your students’ needs to practice in order for your training to stick, and the information to become second nature to them.
As an avid learner, I am always in a classroom, learning new and sometimes relearning old material. There are some times that the experience is so poignant to me that I take away and recall information given to me from years ago. These learning experiences are ones that really resonated with me, and I therefore am able to remember it, time and time again. This is what you are hoping for with your students.
For more fantastic training tips, and to enable your trainers to gain professional development (PD) – as required by the RTO Standards, click here for regular updates, interviews and ideas from professional trainers. Make your training stick, by applying skills and knowledge that brings students to your door through word-of-mouth marketing.