Earlier this year, we published the results of our 2017 Learning and Remembering Survey. In the survey, we asked respondents to tell us one thing they would improve about learning & development and/or training at their organization. This question was perhaps the most open-ended, and it received a wide variety of responses. Many respondents were most concerned with improving the design of their training. They often mentioned a desire to make it more engaging in some way:

“Have enough time to develop groundbreaking and engaging training.”
“I would like to find new ways to make the learning more engaging.”
“Technology! We don’t use many resources that would make learning fun and engaging.”
“I hope to make it more fun and engaging for learners.”
“Improving the tools/technologies that surround engagement of your learners and allowing them to personalize their learning.”

Some respondents wanted to improve the technology they use to deliver training, whether it was a new intranet or an improved LMS. However, others focused more on the big picture. They wanted to make learning a bigger part of their company culture, or to make more time for effective needs analysis that could influence and improve their designs.

I’m sure these responses sound familiar. And some of these issues may seem like monsters that will take forever to fix. I’m here to tell you that with a little expert advice, you can create better training, you can increase buy-in, and you can improve the L&D culture within your organization. So why not start today? It’s all about taking that first step…

The 6 Steps to Success

Whatever challenges you face and whatever improvements you want to make, the six steps outlined below can help you get started:

1. Start with what you don’t know.

A thorough needs analysis should always be the first step when you need to improve performance or change behaviors. Zero in on the “need to know” information and make a solid plan for identifying the right learning solution. Regardless of the type of learning solution you plan to create, taking the time to properly assess the situation and gather appropriate information will go a long way towards assuring the success of a new project.

Once you identify the underlying issues, you can start creating a plan to overcome them, which leads me to my second point…

2. Define a goal and tie learning objectives to that goal.

Has your organization defined a specific business goal? If so, write it down. Do not start your training initiative without setting a goal. Everything else flows from the goal. You can then focus on crafting relevant learning objectives and tying them to your goal.

These objectives should outline what learners need to know, do, or believe to achieve whatever instructional goal you have defined. For example, when we create game-based learning solutions for clients, we use Bloom’s Taxonomy to guide our game creation. Once we know the skill level we want players to achieve, we can choose a game type that can best help them achieve targeted skills.

3. Want engagement? Think like a marketer.

If you want to engage people and really get them excited about training, you have to actually make it “buzzworthy.” But how? We often challenge trainers to think like marketers. What is the implementation strategy? How will you promote the training to learners? Spark interest through a series of emails, promotional graphics, videos of key stakeholders talking about the initiative, etc. Get creative and plan on a series of messages across multiple mediums. The more relevant your content, and the more excitement you create, the more likely learners are to engage.

4. Use the FIT approach

This idea comes from a recent Forbes article. Instead of ignoring or not being aware of the aspects of their organization they’d like to improve, some people see way too many things to change. If that’s the case for you, you might want to use the “FIT” approach: feasibility, impact, and timeliness. Here’s how:

“Look at those things you want to change, and decide which is the most feasible (you actually can change it – it’s in your control, and you have the needed resources), most impactful (will have the greatest positive effect on your life (organization) with the least amount of energy/budget expended) and most timely (you can do it now, and doing it will create a foundation for further change).”

5. Stop skipping the reinforcement.

We’ve talked a lot about reinforcement lately in other blog posts, at conferences, and with clients. But this is only because we can’t stress enough how important reinforcement is. It is crucial for learners to actually retain anything from the training you spent so much time and effort on. That’s why we like to think of reinforcement as an insurance policy for your training. In this article, we outline six different reinforcement tools you can start using today.

6. Consult an expert.

It may be true that your company can take on the project in-house. And we can’t argue with you if you have the time, people, expertise, and software to do so. But rarely do organizations have that magical blend of resources ready to go to get the project from start to finish in a way that hits the mark.

We do have the time, people, software, and expertise (in project management, scripting, course authoring, instructional design, implementation, and previous experience) to successfully implement your project. We also bring a unique outside perspective and can suggest solutions that have been successful for other clients.

Want to view the rest of the survey results? Access the 2017 Learning and Remembering Report.