The age-old art of delivering training has always given us an environment for debate, information-sharing and a constant yearning to deliver the subject more concisely, more entertainingly, with better retention from it’s learners and at a lower cost to the provider. We are also all very aware that we need to take into account a variety of learning styles, along with the demographic-based learning preferences of the trainees.
Training within the leisure attractions and hospitality industry is no exception, particularly regarding the age and learning styles of our teams, we must be aware that younger workers, sometimes with a less academic bias and susceptible to a higher employment turnover. The training we deliver needs to not only play to these key employee’s strengths, but also give them a sense of the business’s ethos and staff expectations on a larger scale, ensuring they feel confident in representing your brand on a day to day basis.
Here at the Business Creative we have decades of combined experience delivering all manners of training, whether remotely, pre-recorded or in person and like to think that we’ve got a few tips up our sleeves that would be of benefit to someone just like you.
We’ve split our advice into two sections – content/assets and delivery. It may be tempting to jump straight to delivery but remember this quote – “we win our medals in our preparation, we just only go to the competition to collect them”. Amazing assets and content are the foundations of delivering exceptional training.
Content & Assets
Sometimes referred to as ‘bitesize learning’, micro-learning is vital to engaging a 21st century audience. Brought up in an era of social media, advert brakes, multi-screen viewing and endless media scrolling most learners up to the age of 50, possibly beyond, will benefit from breaking down learning content into more consumable chunks.
Also important for a 21st century learner is the way in which the content is visually presented. Yes, there are a variety of learning styles (aural, visual, kinaesthetic, plus a few more inbetween) but most people learn in a combination of styles and visual is both the most common and the least often rejected.
‘Magazining’ is exactly as it sounds – it’s enhancing your content in a visually attractive and consumable way, an art mastered by the consumer press who rely on delivering information in the most engaging way possible to ensure the reader not only grasps a full understanding of the content, but also feels entertained along the way – exactly what you need from your learners.
Either as part of your training, or the entire course if particularly short and being delivered remotely, video can be an amazing way of going the extra mile when it comes to delivering your content. There’s a multitude of benefits to having filmed content. For example, you can script your delivery keeping concise and on message, great for the wafflers out there (you know who you are…!). You can brand your video and other visual elements, such as slides, screen-in-screen video or photo, or add subtitles too.
Video can go even further, of course, delivering entirely computer animated content. Sometimes this kind of content can be better received as it takes away a trainers personal style, the distractions of looking at real humans or the environment they’re recording in to deliver a more clear message. It can also be less expensive in certain cases. For example, a real life health & safety or risk assessment video might need extensive sets, props and actors, a barrier removed by using computer animation.
One other great way to visually enhance remote learning is Prezi Video. This fantastic new tool (2020) allows you to create a simple set of slides to sit over any video feed you’re broadcasting from your computer such as on your video meetings on Zoom, Google Meet or MS Teams.
Content mapping & expectation setting
Be clear from the outset on the agenda and the goals of the training session. Start by describing exactly what the trainee will learn or be able to achieve by the end of the day and then describe the precise journey in which your bitesize sections will be delivered.
If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to the visual, video or interactive enhancement of your content then we recommend checking out iLO, a tool that we built with our friends at the Topodium Group. iLO is a tool that can either take your existing training assets or create new ones for you, then turn them into Interactive Online Documents (IOD’s) that use video, images, movement and interactions such as multiple choice, ‘click to learn more’ and drag and drop’ feature to create a more engaging learning experience.
Delivery is ALL about keeping your audience engaged. We all know that feeling of drifting off during a presentation, particularly in a warm room with dimmed lights, a long presentation and feeling safe in the knowledge no one is going to ask you any questions. Even worse after a lovely buffet lunch with one too many Vol au Vents…
Use some of our tried and tested delivery tactics to keep your learners engaged, interested, active and, most importantly, awake!
Use of music
Music can be used in a huge number of ways during training as it can quickly change the way that the learners are feeling. Ideally, you want all your learners in the same mood to reduce disruption and encourage certain kinds of behaviours for that section of your training.
Beginning a session with uplifting, energetic music can help you get your learners ready for a session that will require role-playing or physical participation. Use more subdued music to prepare them to focus and listen.
Underpinning your training with music can also help set the scene and here, using well known music can really have merit. Perhaps the theme tune from The Apprentice would get them feeling creative and ready to invent. Or maybe he theme from Rocky would get people fired up during a competitive breakout section of the training.
The final advantage of using music is simply that it is a different medium from the rest of your content delivery and multimedia delivery and is going to give your training more depth and extract better focus and appreciation from your audience.
It’s not only your content and assets that should be created in different styles, follow suit with your delivery for the ultimate learning experience. Especially when delivering longer delivery sessions, try out some or all of the following;
- Gamification (as it sounds – make a game from the task, or turn it into a competition)
- Group learning & break-out groups
- One-on-one learning
- Research based
Bring the unexpected
Switching up the times, locations and surrounding for your training can have a wonderful effect. Imagine inviting your learners to a 7pm training session in a pub. How about a lunchtime session in the office garden? For bigger budgets travel to a campsite for a weekend session, or for a smaller budget simply arrange to use a nearby facility like a church or a scout hut.
Give serious thought to how you seat your learners as this may heavily influence the ‘vibe’ of your learning. Theatre style seating will feel very much like they are about to receive a lecture. Sat around the board-room table will feel like it’s going to be a little more interactive, but still serious. Sat in a circle is going to encourage interaction and play, great for sales training, workshops and role playing.
Follow your attendees leads
If you can recognise when your learners are in need of a break, or a change, by watching their body language, then you can make sure you don’t lose their focus just when they need to be concentrating. Obvious signs like yawning, chatting and reaching for their phones are definitely ones to look out for, but also keep an eye open for fidgeting, restlessness, doodling or a lack of participation.
Have something up your sleeve for these moments to switch gear and bring the energy back up. Having a break is always a good call, as is moving to a different subject, but bear in mind all the other tips above;
Can you move to a section of your content that is presented in a different way? Can you switch the seating around? Can you break your learners out into groups for some research learning and allow them to use their phones for that section
If you’ve been talking a lot, then how about role playing your content? Maybe you’ve got a video that helps you demonstrate your point – now is a good time to pull it out of the bag. And don’t forget gamification – the ultimate boredom-buster. Can you create a competition that will also help everyone recall what they should have learnt so far? Or even an unrelated challenge such as a team building-style task like building bridges from spaghetti etc. – these activities all have their value and will get the energy right back on track.
Use a Learning Management System (LMS)
Our final training tip is probably our most valuable. Delivering training on a yearly or monthly basis is somewhat of an old-school method and these days it’s regarded as best practise to train your staff all-year-round. Not necessarily on a daily basis, but if you can give your learners access to training materials whenever they wish to learn, perhaps accompanied with learning targets or rewards then you’re certainly going to notice the difference in their engagement and the progress they make.
Mentioned above, iLO is not only a system for creating amazing content and assets, but it also functions as a Learning Management System that houses the Digital Content and allows cross-device access to them at any time and from any location. iLO also;
- Allows assignment (and blocking) of courses to certain users
- Can house non-iLO documents too (word/excel/pdf/ppt etc.)
- can divide content/files in different areas, such as ‘training’ and ‘resource’ libraries
- Includes assessment tools that can be used to gauge the success of the training and give developmental feedback to the learner
- Includes a powerful reporting tool to assist you in monitoring your employees learning progress and allow you to draw out the data you may need for your stakeholders
So there you have it, our decades of learning experience boiled down into ultimate tips for keeping your training creative and engaging and to better increase your chances of retention. If you have any tips you think we could benefit from we’d love to hear them! Or, if you’d like to talk to us more about training delivery or our amazing tool, iLO, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact.