Pinning people down to a time and a place for training is no easy task. When you do manage to get them sat down and ready to learn, it's crucial that your training grabs their attention and is easily understood.
So how can you ensure that your training delivers, right from the moment the chatter settles and you're greeted with a room full of enthusiastic faces? Our five tips below suggest ways to make your training content more immediately digestible.
We've lost count of the amount of times we've been mystified by acronyms! Every industry has it's fair share, but EdTech (an acronym in itself!) seems to be accumulating more with every technological advancement. Our message here - stop casually throwing around acronyms! Where possible, avoid using too much jargon and 'industry talk'. When it must be used, explain it! There's nothing worse than having an engaged audience switch off because they lose the context of your message through a simple lack of understanding over the meaning of a few characters.
Consider your audience's level of language proficiency too. Perhaps English isn't their first language, or they're not 'walking dictionaries'! If you're concerned that your writing is too advanced for your class, then run it through Microsoft Word's readability test which will give you a Flesch Reading Ease test score - higher scores mean the text is supposedly easier to understand. Free online tools can also help with this if you don't have access to Word.
If you're an instructor delivering training to a new class, there can sometimes be a little resistance as your audience establishes whether you 'get' their industry, their language and their objectives. Using relatable examples, e.g. referencing companies within their industry, their terminology (avoiding the jargon!) etc. helps get student buy-in quicker and shows you've done your homework in making your training contextual to them.
Also, don't be afraid to use every day examples! By tying learning aims to understandable and tangible scenarios that your learners can relate to, you help facilitate learning by association. John Green's TED talk has some great examples of learning by association within the digital world, including how he learned about 'opportunity cost' while playing Mario Kart. Watch his full video below for some helpful inspiration:
You'll forgive the blatant irony of using an acronym here after point one, but KISS (Keep it simple, Stupid) is especially prevalent when it comes to training delivery. Even the most complex of subjects can be made more relatable by simplification, as John's video above shows with examples like Minute Physics and Smarter Every Day. As we discussed in our recent post on why using a single system in training delivery is preferable to multiple systems, complexity can be a significant barrier to effective learning.
Keeping things simple, ensuring that slides don't contain too much information and breaking learning delivery up into smaller 'bite size' pieces often aids the absorption of information and information retention. You can find out more on how to get started with 'snackable' learning here.
It's also important to plan ahead if you think your training materials could be re-purposed or delivered across different regions. Make sure content is easily translatable - avoid the use of slang that may be 'lost in translation' and ensure that the terminology and examples you use are universal.
Consider that English might not be the audience's first language and that imagery may be a more globally understood way of getting your points across.
Finally, consider the medium you're using to deliver the training - imagery and video can have a massive impact on how your training is received. For example,
- A Xerox study showed that using colour in visuals increases readers' attention span and recall by 82%.
- A long-established University of California study established that "neurons devoted to visual processing take up about 30 percent of the cortex, as compared with 8 percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing." - essentially, our brain is naturally better at processing visuals than text.
- A journal article by Lawrence J Najjar on the 'Principles of Educational Multimedia User Interface Design' showed that visual information results in 3X better recall than oral information and 6X better recall if you combine information delivery both visually and orally.
It's Training Time
While we would all relish the luxury of limitless training time, we're well aware that schedules are fuller, classes are shorter and it's becoming increasingly important to connect with your audience quickly and efficiently. Through some small tweaks to your training content, you can improve attention span, retention and information recall leading to more successful and memorable training.
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