Making Training Interactive
Studies conducted on the brain tells us the average adult attention span is eight seconds. So it makes sense that training in the workplace needs to be enhanced to create more engaging and active learning experiences. Trainers are leveraging interactive tools and methods to better facilitate and deliver information to learners. Interactivity in training takes into account adult learning principles that help make the learning process more active and gets learners involved. When training is interactive, Information is experienced and digestible in ways that make it more meaningful.
Making training interactive isn’t just about promoting fun activities, but it’s the thoughtful way in which training is designed and delivered. When designing or delivering training for any format (i.e., formal, informal, classroom-based, or online), there are a few key elements that can help boost interactivity and, as a result, can increase learning engagement.
Make the Content Relevant and Meaningful
Learners want what they need to know when they need to know it. The format of how content is presented can increase learner engagement. Learners want to be connected with the subject matter and for it to be pertinent to them or their job. With thoughtful learning design, content can be introduced in different formats to ensure the learner’s retention.
- Introduce the topic that makes the learner use critical thinking. Eliciting critical thinking skills allows the learner to gather or analyze information that’s relevant to them. If you’re introducing a method or model, present a problem so that it requires the learner to apply the technique or process that was just taught.
- Offer content with a push and pull The push strategy puts the learner in the passenger seat, putting content out there that can be seen or captured when the learner is ready to access it. The pull strategy puts the learner in the driver’s seat and allows them to decide what to access when they want. Providing resources or websites on the topic allows learners to choose content and curate the experience at their own pace.
Engage Different Learning Styles
Everyone learns differently. There’s not one preferred style nor just one way to learn. It’s important to leverage a few of the many different learning styles to deliver training.
- A visual learner uses pictures, color/tone/contrast, and spatial awareness to learn. Present information using meaningful infographics or through graphic design and visuals. Learners need to see the information to understand and learn from it.
- An auditory learner maximizes information best when they hear sound, rhythm, and music. Information that’s presented in a musical form that has a beat, rhyme, or lyrical sound to it may help these types of learners grasp the content.
- A kinesthetic learner uses activity, like body movements or a sense of touch, to process information. These learners need action to learn. If training is classroom-style, consider all the features that can allow for moving, touching, and physical exploration. If training is online, consider the elements that will make the learner take action like using sliders, drag and drops, clickable images, and branching content.
- A social learner learns with and from others. Learners observe the behavior of others and imitate their actions. Social learning includes all the informal ways in which one learns from colleagues, peers, technologies, and videos.
Provide a Format for Hands-on Action
Interactive training is about being hands-on with the learning experience. The trainer can make the training engaging by allowing the learner to process, wrestle, challenge, and absorb the material.
- If in a classroom, invite learners to scribe on a white-board or flip chart so that they’re participating with a captured audience. When the attention is on them, they’re focused on the experience. If online, polling can be used to invite participation and compare with the public vote. Learners can contribute comments to the chat or ask questions.
- Allow for demonstration time. In small groups or as a large audience, learners can teach back what was just taught to recycle the learning. A demonstration may also allow for content digestion or self-reflection; participants can ask questions to internalize the training and consider how it would be applied outside the learning experience.
- Playing games like solving puzzles foster critical thinking and facilitate learning. These games can be played as individuals or in teams and can even be completed virtually through simulated tasks or an interactive interface.
Provide Feedback During the Learning Process
Recognizing and rewarding during training consist of providing feedback to the learner on what they’re doing well and how well they’re performing the behavior or task. Feedback is critical to the learning process, as it can reinforce behavior, and it’s needed to reflect or assess the learning process. Feedback can be provided in many different formats.
- Facilitating dialogue or chats allow learners to express their points of view and receive feedback from the instructor or others
- Creating a question-based discussion, or online polling also provides an opportunity to provide feedback on questions asked or responses provided
- Gamification is playing games using critical thinking skills, and the use of game-like mechanics to solve problems. When delivering training using gamification, feedback is provided to the learner via points, levels, badges or missions.
Training that’s interactive will promote dialogue, provoke thought, and allow for trial and error in a safe environment. When content is presented as meaningful and relevant to the learner, your audience will be open to learning. Leveraging all the different learning styles during training is key to engagement, and when done well, can help activate that “ah-ha” moment. Promoting hands-on action will help make learning stick and allows the brain to process new skills. And, most importantly, feedback is imperative in the learning process. The learner needs to understand how they’re comprehending or demonstrating the task, process, or behavior being taught. Integrating these key elements into your training will promote interactivity to make the learning process more engaging and get learners involved.
To learn how SGEi can implement comprehensive interactive training programs along with other engaging, effective, and memorable learning and development initiatives, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.