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Five tips for upping the engagement factor

This month Brian, senior learning and development coordinator, blogs about how to keep trainees engaged. 

New research published at the end of June by the City & Guilds Group revealed that UK employees feel bored and disinterested when it comes to workplace learning and are calling out for a more engaging, accessible and targeted development experience.

The article got me thinking about some of the tactics I’ve used to keep learners interested.

Modernise

A lot of organisations still stick to the tried and trusted half-day and full day courses but L&D has moved on so far now. We have e-learning, gamification, virtual reality, micro-learning (training delivered in short bursts e.g. 30min team meeting activity; Lunch and Learn; Breakfast Brief), 70:20:10, blended approaches (combines traditional face-to-face training with online learning resources e.g. 1hr e-learning and 3hrs class based training; 2hrs online research and 2hrs class based training) and so much more. New and innovative approaches to learning can help to engage your learners – particularly if it helps them make efficient use of their time.

Know your audience

Now this can be difficult if you’ve hundreds to train but at the very least, try to understand what the individuals are trying to achieve and what they need to get there. The more we can demonstrate the relevance and value of the learning, the more engaged the individual is likely to be.

Bin the slides

PowerPoint is a great application. You can whip up some really nice, professional looking presentations. But if it is all up there on the screen, why should the learner listen to you when they can read it all for themselves? I can remember attending a full day course that was all PowerPoint and worse still, all the slides were numbered. By the time we got to around 199, we were ready for a blanket and a pillow.

Sometimes you need to share complicated information but try to think of different approaches to doing it. I was delivering sessions on Change Management and wanted to talk participants through Leavitt’s Diamond. Rather than pop it up on a slide, I got the participants to physically make the diamond with some rope and post-its. It got them out their seats and allowed us to explore the model in ways a slide wouldn’t have allowed.

Tap into people’s curiosity

This was a tip I picked up from the excellent Scott Leiper, The Learning Lab. Curiosity can be really powerful in training. From unusual props in the training room to teaser posters and social media ahead of the event like the one below to unusual activities like using Nerf guns in a train the trainer session – all risk assessed of course. Using curiosity can help create an interest and a desire to engage with your training and people massing at the door to get on to your session is ultimately what you want.

L&D tweet

Finally, Lego

Now I may be biased because I am a massive fan but those little bricks have so many uses in bringing training alive. I’ve used them in sessions for building models of the organisation and a variety of competitive activities around a range of content.

Lego l&d tweet

Check out Lego Serious Play or google: Lego Serious Play and you’ll get the idea.

Bonus tip: Evaluate. Evaluate. Evaluate.

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