You sit down in front of your computer, ready to start your workday, when you see it—the dreaded pop-up. The latest version of your operating system is ready to install; all you have to do is restart your machine. Of course, there is far too much work to do. You simply don’t have time to reboot and wait for the update. And everything still works perfectly fine, right? Better snooze the alert. So, you click “Remind me later.” But how many times do you select that reminder button? Two times? Five times? Twenty times before you actually finish installing that update? And in that time, your computer becomes less efficient. Applications may slow down, not work right, or stop functioning altogether. And you may be missing out on new or improved features or become more vulnerable to security threats.
But this issue isn’t just limited to your computer. If your company has failed to update its training programs in recent years (whether you haven’t seen the need or have been putting it off), you could be experiencing the same issues within your organization, pushing out employee training that is disengaging at best and no longer relevant or ineffective at worst. But the solution is simple—and a hard reset isn’t always necessary.
Problems with Outdated Training
Like with your lagging, outdated computer software, your existing training solutions may no longer meet employees’ needs. To avoid compromising your employee’s training experience, or wasting time and money on ineffective training, ask yourself these questions to see if it’s time to finally update your training program.
Does your training engage employees?
If your training relies heavily on proven ineffective “teach-by-telling” strategies, where passive observation is the only training method utilized, employees may “tune out” and disengage from the training. Learner engagement is largely fueled by motivation, and motivation by relevancy. Does your training include the hands-on, experiential learning as well as feedback and continual support that ensures employees are involved in the training process and understand its relevance to them? Do the employees feel that their needs are being met? If not, the training may no longer be achieving the intended learning objectives.
Do assessment results stay the same?
The ultimate goal of any employee training is to enact significant change, whether that be a behavioral change or improving a skill set. A good way to measure that change is through pre-assessment and post-training results, which can be compared to track an employee’s individual growth. However, if progress is limited or the results show little to no change, it may be time to update your strategy and training to promote growth in the areas you want to see improve.
Does the training result in real-world improvements after the training ends?
Even if assessment results indicate that employees have successfully understood and retained the training content, it won’t do any good if they cannot apply that knowledge in the real world. If your training lacks context, the ability to practice what they learn, or supplemental communications and reinforcement materials, many employees may struggle to overcome the daily challenges that the training was meant to solve.
Do employees dread taking your training?
There are many reasons why your employees may be indifferent, apprehensive, or disheartened toward your training. But the most common cause is that the training fails to appeal to employees on a personal level. Oftentimes, the content is delivered in a uniform, one-size-fits-all approach, with no way to customize the curriculum to fit their role or accommodate their individual learning needs. For them to engage with the material, it must be meaningful and relatable to each employee, at a pace that is suitable to them, and that uses compelling interactive components to keep them motivated.
Do employees feel frustrated with your training?
Are your training modules long and overloaded with information? Is the course design disorganized or hard to navigate? Is the subject matter complex or poorly communicated? Is there no way for your employees to ask for help or share their concerns? All of these things may be adding frustration and stress to your employees’ already busy lives, where the goal of proper training should be to make their work lives easier, not harder.
Refresh and Repurpose Your Existing Training
If you recognized any of those warning signs within your company’s training programs, then it might be worthwhile to reevaluate your current training strategy and identify where improvements can be made.
First, take inventory of your current learning resources and ensure that these materials actually support your learning objectives. You may be surprised what you find—and you’ll probably discover resources that you forgot you even had. Before you can make any enhancements, you need to know what you’re working with.
Once you’ve gathered all your assets, pick-and-choose which material can be repurposed. This is also a good time to identify what materials may be outdated, inaccurate, or no longer necessary for employees to learn. As you compile your materials, take note where there are areas in the training program that are scarce or lack sufficient tools and resources to meet your goals. But once you know what resources are at your disposal, then what? In most cases, revisions to outdated content can be performed fairly quickly. However, if you’ve identified problems with engagement and knowledge acquisition, it may be time to modernize its delivery.
In today’s world, digital natives expect to use technology in almost every aspect of their lives—and training is no exception. With tech-savvy millennials now making up over 35% of the modern workforce, textbooks, classroom-based learning, and training videos that are not updated regularly are simply not enough to engage an audience who lives in a world of social media, interactive apps, and on-demand video content. Incorporating current technology into corporate training programs is essential to ensuring the format and the content itself will be engaging to all participants. The modern employee is trained best when training is seamlessly integrated into how they already live their daily lives.
Training at your fingertips
You can even further encourage active participation by offering bite-sized microlearning modules that employees can complete at their own pace. Eliminate the classroom altogether by offering programs on already familiar and available devices, including mobile phones, so content can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Never fall behind
And, as your company grows, your training program will need to grow as well. Rather than having to remove old lectures and start from scratch, eLearning courses allow for much faster updates. You can quickly edit small portions of the content, replace one video with another, or adjust specific activities within the curriculum—saving you time and money.
If you’re ready to stop hitting the snooze on updating your corporate training, then reach out to see how you can bring your training into the modern age.