As instructors, we have our work cut out for us because, in most cases, perception IS reality. If someone has had a lack-luster training experience, they are more likely to dread future training and attend it with the attitude to prove it. Every time we deliver a mandatory training session, we have a chance to use innovative instructional techniques to change a participant’s perception. Some form of mandatory training is required in most successful companies and our goal, as professional trainers, is to make sure people leave our sessions feeling excited and rejuvenated.
That way, they’ll spread the word about how great the class was and eventually mandatory training may be something people want to do!
Here are five tips to increase the success rate of your mandatory training sessions:
1. Get participant buy-in when you begin the session: This will set the tone for the rest of the course. It can be something as simple as having them help create the “house rules” or asking them what they hope to gain from the session and listening to their concerns. Sometimes, just being heard makes all the difference and helps to build rapport. Learner feedback may provide you with insight to help tweak your course content to better meet the learner’s objectives, in addition to management’s mandatory ones.
2. Share the benefits: Make sure you explain exactly how the course is going to benefit the participant and what skills and knowledge they’ll walk away with.
3. Provide a roadmap: Keep the learners aware of the ground they’ve covered along the way (e.g. use a visual agenda to track their progress throughout the day). Make it interesting and interactive by involving them in the process!
4. Be the “guide on the side—not the sage on the stage:” Incorporate fun and real-world application into every aspect of your training. Use a variety of methods for imparting knowledge to your learners, such as anecdotes, story-telling, and real-life experience. The more relevant the examples, the more your learners will connect with it, and you.
5. Don’t waste their time: Time is a commodity, so use it wisely. Be prompt and start and end the course on time. Have multiple breaks throughout the training day to keep your learners engaged. Aim for a five to seven-minute break every hour to keep them refreshed.
Remember, perception IS reality, so change your learners’ perception and you will change their reality. This way, you’ll be sure to make “mandatory” a positive word in their vocabulary!
Check out our Instructional Design for New Designers workshop for tons of techniques to use in creating great courses—mandatory or not!
Let me know, in the comments section below, what works for you!