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Tips for Creating Engaging Employee Training Content

— by Dave Anderson

The goal of employee training is to pass important information on to the right team members. They should come away from the experience with newly-acquired knowledge that prepares them to deliver the best work and results possible.

However, guiding employees through a learning journey is more challenging than it has ever been. While technology is a great asset for delivering training, we’re all aware of the impact it has on our ability to focus. People today face countless distractions from their phones, computers, TVs, and other devices. 

When creating employee training content, you should always ask yourself one question—“Is this engaging?” Of course, there is the matter of understanding what “engaging” means in the context of training content so we put together this comprehensive list of everything to consider.

Take it one lesson at a time

A lesson that goes in multiple directions is nearly impossible to grasp. Keep individual courses focused on a single learning objective so trainees follow along and come away with a complete understanding of what was covered.  

Build on the previous course

Even though a single course should be simple, you can still teach employees complicated lessons over time. Design a series of courses that complement each other and incrementally help employees achieve in-depth knowledge on a dense topic. 

Outline the lesson at the start of each course

Set the table at the start of each course by providing a high-level overview of what will be covered. Outlining the concepts that will be taught helps employees mentally prepare and process information as it’s presented. 

Recap the main takeaways and preview what’s next

And before you conclude a lesson, run through the 3-5 key points that were covered and provide a short description of the next course. This emphasizes the takeaways that matter most and helps the employee see how they’ll expand on them next time. 

Share the benefits of acquiring new knowledge

Generate excitement around training by telling employees what they’ll be able to achieve by expanding their knowledge. This can include tasks they’ll be able to take on in their current job, as well as career advancement opportunities they may become qualified for by completing the training.  

Limit the amount of text

Present information using the smallest amount of text possible. Instead of paragraphs or large blocks of text, use single line statements and bullet points to promote readability. Also, make important takeaways stand out in the employee’s mind by bolding the text or devoting a single slide to it. 

Use the simplest words possible

In addition to limiting text, don’t overthink your choice of words. Using complicated language intimidates trainees and makes processing information harder than it needs to be. Always write in a conversational tone and use the simplest word or phrasing possible to convey a thought.  

Include multimedia elements

Using images, videos, audio, and other multimedia elements to supplement text makes for effective employee training. In fact, Psychologist Dr. Richard Mayer discovered that information delivered through at least two channels (e.g. audio, visual, text) was 89% more effective than training that used a single channel. 

Make it colorful

Incorporating color into training content not only makes it livelier and more interesting to look at. It also aids in pattern recognition. Color coding related concepts helps employees mentally group them together and connect each to learn a larger concept. 

Have a person teach 

People like learning from someone they trust so have a subject matter expert present the information in each lesson. They should introduce themselves at the start and establish credibility by giving an overview of their background and experience.

Get the pace just right

Most studies show that humans can engage with learning content anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Of course, the exact duration depends on the nature of the material and the individual’s state of mind. Aim to present your single learning objective within that time frame while avoiding glossing over important concepts.

Make it interactive

At some point, employees need to take a break from sitting and listening and be active participants in their learning experience. Include quizzes, roleplay activities, group discussions, or Q&A sessions with the instructor so employees can apply what they’ve learned.

Incorporate real-world examples or anecdotes

An example or story employees can relate to often brings clarity to otherwise abstract concepts. It helps them grasp the importance of what they’re learning and envision how they’ll use their know-how in a real-world setting. 

Include supporting documents

The tips outlined in this article mostly apply to web-based training delivered in video or narrated PowerPoint format. However, supplementing that material with PDFs, blog posts, and other detailed materials is beneficial for employees who want to expand on what they learned in the main course. 

Make courses available on-demand

Effectively engaging with training content requires the right mindset. By making courses available online, employees can zone in and learn at any time of the day, wherever they happen to be. They can also rewatch courses when they please to fill in gaps in their knowledge. 

Make courses mobile accessible

Training content should not only be available online. It should also be optimized for Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. That way employees can view their training content while they’re away from their home or office. 

Create content with the audience in mind

You’ll lose an employee’s attention if training content either tells them what they already know or is beyond their understanding. That said, you likely have employees with completely different levels of knowledge on a specific topic. The solution is to tailor training content to each audience with beginner, immediate, and advanced courses. 

Incentivize employees to complete their training

The start-to-finish training process can be long and daunting. You can keep employees motivated by giving them something tangible to work towards. Let them know they’ll be presented with a certification or another type of reward when they complete their learning journey. 

Optimize your training programs 

The harsh reality is training content isn’t effective unless it’s engaging. The good news is following the tips outlined in this article will keep employees engaged and ensure you succeed in your goal of passing valuable knowledge on to your workforce. 

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