Trainings are an essential part of a business. Whether you are preparing new hires or educating your experienced employees in new methods, technologies, and procedures, training sessions are an important way of staying on top of your game.
Trainings are not only about having the correct information or the perfect structure, they are also about delivery. Well-delivered training sessions can ensure that your employees have the necessary tools to perform their job. By exchanging information in a fun, engaging manner, you save time that might otherwise be wasted on follow-up questions, additional training, shadowing, and generally navigating their job after the training is complete.
When it comes to delivery, each trainer has their secret weapons. A box of crafting materials, a pile of fun stickers, a mini-game, a role-play script — the sky is the limit, as long as all the required information is covered. But now, with most employees working from home, all those palpable ways of making your training fun and interactive may seem out of reach. Still, interactive learning yields better results.
Read further to discover how you can jazz up your training sessions when hosting a remote training.
Rethink Your Icebreakers
The beginning of a training can be awkward sometimes, icebreakers are necessary so that participants can find common ground and get comfortable enough to engage in the learning process and, eventually, collaborate.
To get started on your icebreakers, think of how you can make use of online tools to update the training games you would normally play in a training room. Here are a few ideas:
- Take interactive polls on which is the best kind of pie
- Make your own map with everyone’s location
- Challenge them to take a quiz (e.g. Hogwarts sorting test) and share the results with everyone
- Ask them to describe their weekly routine through memes added to an online table
- Design a superhero chart where people can write their names, superpowers, and weaknesses
Create a Visual Training Map
A great way to get people engaged right from the start is to show them a roadmap of the journey they are about to take. Seeing the steps towards completion and tracking their current progress can be a valuable incentive.
With a visually strong training plan, the sense of progress is tangible and the big picture is clear. When you design this “training map”, think of how you can represent the stages of the learning process and spell out the big picture without actually laying down too many details. If this were a game, the training plan would be the main screen.
For example, you can use a thermometer that grows from cold to hot and assign each temperature the name of a chapter in your training schedule (when we reach X temperature we become experts, we are “hot” on the market). Or, you can use nobility ranks, starting from a lowly lord/lady and moving up towards the title of Duke/Duchess. You can even design an actual map, with stopping points.
Here’s a chance to be creative with the information you already have.
Tell a Story and Stay Interactive
When we work from home, we have the benefit of being in a comfortable place. However, the trainer usually builds an experience in the training room, an atmosphere that goes with the theme of training, with the company policies, and the moment. When hosting an online training you can find the means lacking.
To create a memorable bonding experience for the participants, you can approach the training as a whole, telling a story through each of the elements used.
Here are a few ways you can personalize your training and create your own story:
- Personalize the background with something specific for the subject or the mood you wish to create
- Add widgets on the screen (they can be useful or fun)
- As the host, turn the camera and microphone on/off for other participants, to encourage engagement in the moments designated for discussions
- Use the chat like a streamer; encourage the trainees to write on the chat, and integrate their questions into your content
- Use a random name generator like No Hands to pick a volunteer
- Propose common activities for the breaks to make up for the team-building experience of hanging out in the break room (e.g. make a common playlist, eat the same dessert, watch the same video, hang out in the fun chat); of course, the activities are voluntary, but they can bring back that sense of community
Plan the Self-Study Sessions
If the volume of information is high, sometimes self-study sessions are required. In a training room, the participants would be in the same physical space, they could whisper among themselves and peak at each other’s progress. This builds a certain level of focus and can also help to relieve tension in overachievers.
Holding an online training doesn’t mean you have to lose your trainees. You can plan “study with me” sessions using the Pomodoro technique to make studying engaging. Keep your camera on to maintain the sense of presence, add study music in the background, and a stopwatch on the screen, so that the participants can stay focused and involved.
Collaborating with other participants is one of the most valuable experiences of a training session. When you explain, analyze, and debate the training material with other people, the chances that the information will stick with you are higher.
Make your training collaborative with tasks designed for teams. You can split the teams into separate chat rooms, and regroup in the main one when the tasks are done. Using whiteboard apps like Miro, Stormboard or Sketchboard can favor the process.
Have the teams cross-examine each other’s work and give notes, give points, and make a leaderboard to encourage healthy competition.
Role-playing is a tool often used by trainers, especially for jobs that require customer interaction. Design situations appropriate for the subject and ask the trainees to recreate them. Take advantage of the online environment by either turning off their camera to emulate phone calls or asking them to share their screen and show the correct steps.
To be more creative, you can even add backgrounds and filters that will set the mood or use an actual movie-script format for the text.
Make Assessments Fun
At the end of your training, you must make sure that everyone has acquired a certain knowledge of the subject. Assessments are necessary to test their level and even yours, as the trainer.
This process doesn’t have to be boring and scholastic. Quiz apps like Kahoot! will make the assessments interactive and interesting.
To encourage competition even further, you can even add small prizes that will be earned by accumulating points, answering correctly, or being the fastest. The prizes can be symbolic (e.g. a special title next to their name, the ability to choose your next team/partner) or, if the budget allows, even more substantial, like meal vouchers, book deliveries, App store credit, etc.
If you need help engaging with your employees or your customers, get in touch with us and let’s design the perfect strategy for your brand.