Interactivity is the Key to Engaged and Effective Training

The recent solar spectacle found me reflecting on the metaphors that can be found for the term eclipse.  We most often use the word to express how achievements, moments or intentions can be overshadowed.  I have often seen the purpose and intent of a learning and development strategy eclipsed by a disconnect between delivery and planned results. The most discouraging outcome is to have investment in training yield little to no improved behavior or productivity outcomes.

Choosing the Right Trainer and Delivery Method

We’ve all had at least one experience as a training attendee where we’ve been meant to absorb, but not be heard, and certainly not to move or engage the trainer or fellow attendees. PowerPoint, for example, should be an aid and not a script. “I can read for myself!” I’ve heard that complaint far too many times after attending a training.  If an attendee is not part of an interactive flow of information, exchange of ideas, experience, and able to relate content within the familiar framework of their own life and work, their retention of information and their motivation experiences a downward spiral.  They feel a lack of inclusion if training isn’t essentially about them and how they are being challenged and coached to develop as professionals and team members.

In the workforce, adults are motivated and excited to engage when the learning purpose is explained, desired outcomes are carefully expressed, and benefits to them as professionals are clear.  Interaction is the way to create energy, to create engagement and to build memorable learning experiences which lead to information retention.  Whether a trainer chooses, based on their awareness of their learners, and the amount and type of material to be taught, to use andragogy, action or transformative learning, all incorporate some form of interaction to achieve the learning goals and stimulate the learners.

Learning is best achieved by engaging in meaningful activities that replicate or mimic the way in which content will be processed and expressed in the real world.

Common and Successful Methods of Interaction

“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” Confucius, circa 450 BC

Interactivity stimulates thinking.  A training room with a group of adults asking questions, engaging in role plays, reading motivational and salient quotes or leading an activity or discussion is a high-energy epicenter of engaged learning.  But, you might ask, what about the e-learner? Is it possible to capture this learner with a similar level of engagement? At SGEi, we know that is absolutely possible. Stimulating and powerful tools used in the training room are also available for e-learners including video clips, short reading assignments, infographics, and simulations.

For many adult learners, the possibility to be self-directed, managing one’s own time, and learning in “bite-sizes” through a digital platform is very attractive. Considering it’s been calculated that over 70% of adults are participating in self-directed learning, motivation for personal and professional development is inspiring most adults to seek additional learning opportunities. This is supported by the accessibility of e-learning technology.  SGEi is in the forefront of recognizing the needs of companies, and their employees for responsive, accessible and engaging content to elevate learning outcomes. By utilizing a variety of interactive and innovative training methods, companies and their employees can continue to meet and to exceed their mission and goals.

A few things for managers and instructional designers to keep in mind when striving to deliver effective content are:

  1. Engage the learner as a person with history, stories, experiences that can help inform the community of the training room
  2. Mix up the format of delivery to keep the adult learner sharp and interested
  3. Be clear about the format and the benefits/expected outcomes of the training. Let your attendees know there is a map to guide them through a positive and eminently useful training experience.  They need to know why and how their time is being invested. Let the learner know what is in it for them. This will encourage active and interested engagement and retention.

Get your people active, involved, motivated, and interacting whether as an e-learner, or a live learning “community.” See your hoped-for training goals and results no longer eclipsed by disappointment and replaced by clear, successful professional development through the benefits of interactive training.Need help creating customized training programs that are interactive and engaging? We can help! Reach out to us at

*This blog was presented by our new SGEi Organizational Development Manager, Julie Harvey. We look forward to more innovative insights she will be sharing.

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