How to Engage Learners

When it comes to how to engage learners, finding the magical formula can seem like catching a mythical creature. In theory, it is absolutely attainable, however, in practice, unexpected obstacles abound.

Speaking of rare encounters, on this week’s podcast, Brian finally meets Cara North to talk about her approach to unlocking learner engagement. During this episode, she talks about the three legged stool of engagement and why it is important not to put all of your weight on one leg, why content will always rule, and some tips and tricks to engaging learners.

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Real Cost of Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-left training costs can come in many forms. Financial costs are the traditional way in which this question is answered. “We were able to develop this training program for about $2,500.” But what’s the cost to you?

real cost of instructor-led training includes time

Just because you develop a training program in-house, doesn’t mean it was designed for “free”. Yes, your time is already budgeted and paid for, but it’s certainly not “free”.

If you didn’t have to spend so much time coming up with original activities and thinking of new ways to engage people, what else could you be doing with your time? Another way to think of it might be this: if you had an extra 4-8 hours of work time this week, how would you invest that time? Would you get one more project scratched off your to-do list? Would you shut down a bit early on Friday?

The Big Question

When someone (usually around budget season) asks: “How much does it cost to put together your training programs,” what do you tell them? Are you able to come up with a good answer? Do you know the true cost of instructor-led training?

We put this little calculator together to help determine the real cost of instructor-led training.

Cost of Training Assumptions

As you can see, our Cost of Instructor-Led Training calculator is making a few assumptions. It assumes that:

  • It takes about 8 hours of development time to put together a plan and materials for one hour of training (including background research, activity development, facilitator materials, participant materials, PowerPoint slides, etc).
  • Your labor hours are the only costs involved in training. Costs go up even further if you’re using graphic designers, purchasing off-the-shelf content or videos, printing participant materials in full color, etc.

Lower the Cost of Instructor-led Training with Soapbox

Yes, this particular training cost calculator brings Soapbox into the equation and offers an idea of how many labor hours you could save by automating some of your instructional design process, but there’s a bigger point to be made here.

The saying “time is money” is only partially true. Yes, when you’re at work, your time equates to labor hours, which have a cost to your business. Unlike money, however, your time cannot be saved. So the real question is: how do you want to spend it?

We would love to help you determine how to lower your cost of instructor-led training with Soapbox. We only need 15 minutes (we know your time is valuable!).

Trainer’s Approach to Effective PowerPoint

Most trainers have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. Why is that? There are probably a lot of reasons, but one reason I see over and over is that many trainers are taking the wrong approach to creating PowerPoint slides.

Mike Parkinson is not only the founder of Billion Dollar Graphics and author of A Trainer’s Guide to PowerPoint, he is also one of only 36 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the world! This week, he took some time with the Train Like You Listen podcast to really dig in to how to create engaging and effective PowerPoint slides. During this podcast, we discuss the number one issues that experts see when users open this tool, why a simple mind map can help you become a better PowerPoint designer, and how to approach building a good slide.

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Stop Stressing About Virtual Training Activities

The United States went into lockdown mode as it responded to COVID-19 back around St. Patrick’s Day of this year. It’s been about 6 months since the world of learning and development has gone almost exclusively to virtual design and delivery, and there’s really no end in sight.

Are you still able to come up with original virtual training activities to keep people engaged?

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Are there instructional design lessons to be learned from Married At First Sight?

Perhaps I’ve been quarantined too long and have run out of “good” shows to watch, but when I recently stumbled across Married At First Sight (Season 9) on Netflix, I couldn’t resist.

As I began to watch it, I noticed something. I found myself rooting for certain people on the show. I wasn’t rooting against anyone on the show, but I definitely found myself rooting for a few of the people more than others. As I reflected on this more, I wondered if there was a lesson for us in the world of instructional design.

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What You Need to Know Before You Gamify Your Next Training (podcast)

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I had a director who read an article about gamification and decided our team needed to include gamification in our next program. After months of trying, our team put together a leader board. It went over like a lead balloon. Our team didn’t understand enough about gamification to make a successful program or how to fit it properly within our objective. I know for a fact my experience with gamification is not unique. I have failed more than once to make games work in training. The lessons learned from those failures have lent themselves to some much better training development, but that is another blog post.

This week on the Train Like You Listen podcast, Marci Morford, manager of onboarding, culture, and innovation programs at Salesforce stops by to talk about how to properly apply gamification to training. Marci and Brian worked together to build an on-boarding game that took new-hires through a days-long game to acclimate to their new roles. She takes some time to cover a few examples of game that work in training, how to find inspiration to gamify your next training, and discusses the why the dynamics, mechanics, and components of a game are play a huge role in game play success.

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Does that training need to be a full day? Does that elearning need to be a full hour?

My favorite teacher of all time was Mr. O’Laughlin, who showed the world what a 4th grade teacher should be. He was funny and always had us laughing. He was kind, smart, from where we stood he was effective, we seemed to learn things. He even had the patience to teach us chess. He was all of these things, that is, until someone broke a rule (which, as fourth graders, all us did at one point or another). Then he’d break out the dreaded punishment: a 500-word essay about what we did.

Legend had it that, several years before, there was a student named David Miller who, upon receiving his gazillionth 500-word essay assignment, sat down and wrote the following:

I was very, very, very, very (insert 493 more “verys”) bad.

In a way, he fulfilled the requirements of the assignment, although I’m not quite sure this was Mr. O’Laughlin’s intention. To some degree, the reminds me of how some training programs and metrics are still implemented.

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How do I show up to Virtual Training?

If you have been in training for more than a few years, it is likely you are familiar with the Ken Blanchard Companies. The Ken Blanchard Companies have more than 40 years of in-person training experience and are a power-house of instructor-led training. Like many other companies, this group of individuals is looking forward to a more agile approach to training development as our world shifts to new approaches to training.

In episode 31 of the Train Like You Listen podcast, we sit down with Britney Cole, Associate Vice President, Solution Architecture and Innovation Strategy at The Ken Blanchard Companies, to talk about how this company planned a new approach to training development even before the pandemic hit, knowing that things can change drastically from the start of a project to the end of one, or as an evergreen training needs to fit a new modality.  Britney takes some time to discuss how she and her team used their puzzle pieces to fit various modalities and how the companies look forward to new processes based on what they have learned in recent months.

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Virtual Training Design Lessons from a Weekend of Wine Tasting

Last weekend I had a chance to visit several wineries in Walla Walla, WA. A lot of people wondered why I was going to wineries if I don’t drink. Honestly, if I have an opportunity to sit outside on a gorgeous day, surrounded by beautiful scenery and amazing views while having fun conversations and learning about things I knew nothing about, then count me in.

As we sat in the final winery we were visiting over the weekend, I began to reflect on the experience and realized there might be some lessons to take away that can be applied to virtual training design.

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Voice User Interfaces and Training

“Alexa, play the podcast Train Like You Listen from Spotify” .

Voice-activated digital assistants are household items for many of us. Smartphones, speakers, even watches can be voice-activated to help us with any number of things. My mom and her 81-year-old neighbor spent the weekend setting up and activating skills for several smart speakers in her house. They set up entertainment, reminders, asked questions, and set up some safety features. What else can we do with devices with a voice user interface?

On episode 30 of Train Like You Listen, Myra Roldan, author of Design A Voice User Interface, sits down with us to talk about how she leverages voice user interfaces as a training tool. In this short podcast, Myra helps us to understand more about what a voice user interface is and some examples of how they can be used to train in a variety of situations. For more information from Myra, be sure to visit her website http://myraroldan.tk/.

 

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