When content is engaging, people will often consume it even when not required to. Usually, this applies to movies, TV, and books, but if you play your cards right it could also be applied to your training materials. The benefits of engaging training materials are obvious. Happy employees are good employees, and people who are engaged learn better. This leads to an overall better workforce.
When creating engaging training content, we can apply the same mentality we use for content as a whole. What exactly is it that makes you click on an article on Facebook? Or pick that specific movie on Netflix? Would you still be as likely to engage with the content if you were forced to view it?
Offer Choice and Align Your Materials with Your Employees
Although your employees need to learn specific material, it shouldn’t be forced upon them. To strike a good balance between providing choice and still enforcing requirements; try to focus on tailoring and personalizing content to engage specific types of personalities.
Many people already choose to use online services to learn by themselves all the time and these same aspirations don't change depending on whether they are at home or at work, so we can assume that an employee will be more engaged if their materials work in tandem with a sense of purpose, and align with the employees goals. This is especially important for younger generations that put a high value on a work identity.
This can be a bit of a double-edged sword, but in general, gamification has positive results. Gamification is the process of taking your learning materials and applying game elements and incentive structures, rewarding employees for taking the correct actions. People are often more attentive and engaged when they are competing or focusing on a specific set of rules, working towards some attainable goal.
For some employees though, this can be alienating and stressful. It's important to offer some choice in the matter and try to encourage your less social employees to engage with your workforce.
Go Beyond the Facts
If you're passing around pages of data and information, it is not only going to be overwhelming but also boring to consume. Try to get creative with how you display your training materials and don't be afraid to have some fun with the wording. You can add some extra layers by building a story around the facts you are trying to convey. Applying facts and data to a story format is proven to increase engagement.
Remember, your objective here is to get the information across and make it stick, not bore your employees to sleep.
Keep It Short, Simple and to the Point
While it is good to get across all the information, you need to take the time to figure out what may be relevant and when. The longer your training materials take to get through, the more likely you are going to start losing interest. Try to keep the length of your materials in sync with the amount of time your employees have to read them. If they begin to feel overwhelmed, you've already lost the battle.
Focus on Motivation
Your materials should be both informative, interesting and motivating. Not only do you need to motivate your employees to get through your training, but they should also be able to apply it later. This is key to getting the most out of your employees. You can do this with a couple of easy things:
- 1) Give employees some level of control over how they work through your materials.
- 2) Provide meaningful feedback along the way.
- 3) Try to incorporate social elements wherever you can.
- 4) Provide opportunities for workers to collaborate when possible.
- 5) Keep the pressure off and allow ample room for practice.
If you work these ideas into your training content, you are bound to see improvements in your workforce. You can do this by promoting choice, aligning with your employee's values and goals, keeping your materials short and interesting, and offering ways to learn that are fun, like games and activities.
Keep these ideas in mind, and have fun while making the content, then you're sure to see improvements in multiple areas of your business.