Creating compelling training that gives employees what they need is hard. If it was easy, everyone could do it! There are lots of reasons why the training you’ve expended blood, sweat, and tears to create doesn’t stick. Here are the top five.
- Didn’t do a task analysis
- There’s no What’s In It for Me, or WIFM
- Too much content, too fast (the SME Dilemma)
- Didn’t break content into smaller chunks (Microlearning)
- It’s just plain boring
Do a Task Analysis
A critical reason training doesn’t stick is that the content is irrelevant to the employee. If you don’t need to do a task, why learn about it? A task analysis upfront that clearly outlines what employees need and leaves out what they don’t is absolutely necessary for effective training.
Make Sure the WIFM (What’s In it For Me) is Clear
Along with a task analysis, figuring out what’s in it for the employee is critical. After all, people frequently make decisions based on self-interest. And it makes sense that spending time and mental energy on something that doesn’t have any benefit for you is not that likely. Remember also that the WIFM may not be the same as the corporate goals – and it makes training better to figure out why it benefits the employee and communicate that clearly.
Avoid the SME Dilemma
One of the easiest pitfalls to fall into is the SME Dilemma. You know your subject inside and out. You’re immersed in the details. You know in your bones that everyone is just as fascinated as you are with its intricacies. Ummmmm, not so much. . . . We’ve all sat through training that dumps everything about the topic in your lap all at once.
One of the major purposes of instructional design is to match the depth and breadth of content to the cognitive load. Dumping every single factoid about a subject into training is the exact opposite of this. Only show one way to do things unless there’s a compelling reason. Trim the content to the bone. We’ve all had the experience of brain overload as you sit through training that goes into every . . .single . . .detail. Brain overload is what we want to avoid!
And guess what? Adding games at intervals is a great way to build in brain breaks (and “brakes”).
Break Content into Smaller Chunks
While we’re on the topic of content that overwhelms the instruction, it’s important to divide content up into smaller chunks often referred to as Microlearning. It’s another cause of brain overload. Games are a really great way to combat brain overload. A cadence that consists of small chunks of instruction, with games to reinforce each chunk really helps training to stick. Think about it – what would you rather do? Go through page after page of content online, or go through a few pages, play a game, then more pages? It’s a no-brainer, right?
Make Training as Interesting as You Can
This is where games really help. There are some topics that just can’t be made interesting to most people (corporate compliance training, anyone?). The cadence of the content chunk, game, content chunk and games really helps here. Adding fun to a dry topic is not cheating! It’s making training stick better. There is also a science behind when you should add the games into your training, learn more here.
You can put the instructional design process in a nutshell – do a thorough analysis of what employees need to know, figure out what’s in it for them, gather content, winnow it down to the absolute necessities, and break it down into digestible chunks. (I know I’m skipping some stuff, go with me!) Some of the features of games, like leaderboards, leveling up and gaining points, and other rewards, by their very nature help with this. Games can really help keep employees engaged and reinforce learning in a way that makes it stick.
Schedule a demo today to see how easy it is to add games and gamification to your training strategy.