A client of ours recently reviewed a course that they had been using for years and came up with some startling findings. This was a basic course that has been used to orient new people to the company. They did hundreds of surveys on people who had gone through the course recently and in the past.
Here are some of the findings that came out and some practical things that you can do when creating new courses or upgrading existing courses. But first, let me make a personal observation that I’ve had in my years of creating and delivering courses.
Students will often rate a course and their instructor very high (even if one or the other aren’t that great) if they believe that they can apply what they just learned. Think about it. A student is giving up something (often time and possibly money) in order to take a course. If they can be entertained, that’s great — kind of like going to a movie. But, most Learner’s attend a course because they believe that they’ll get something out of it: job advancement, more money, a better career, etc. In order to get those things, they know at some level that they have to be able to apply what they’ve learned. Otherwise, it’s really not that helpful.
Image how safe you would feel on the road if all new drivers only had to read about driving before getting a license to drive. Didn’t have to do any driving, just had to read about it. How would you feel about your doctor who just read about the procedure he was going to perform on you?
There’s a saying that happy employees are productive employees. New studies are indicating that it’s also the reverse: employees who are more productive are happier. Good training leads to increased production leads to happier employees.
Learning, true learning, requires both theory and practice. How to get the theory across and how the practice part occurs are the subject of hundreds if not thousands of studies. I’m not going to go into those here. But, I can give you some insights on what one company is doing to improve their courses.
What’s the Goal
When our client reviewed their course, there were a number of things that were discovered. One of which was that the intended goal of the course was not actually being met by the people taking the course. The course was supposed to provide basic orientation on the company, its main products and some of the technical language that is used. Unfortunately, the course was over three hours long, went down rabbit holes and took long, winding roads to get there. The solution? Create a series of short lessons of 5-7 minutes each with a total time of under an hour. This was done by first identifying what the exact message was that needed to be delivered and then breaking that message down to parts. At the end of each section, students were given a short quiz. If they got answers wrong, they could go back and review the information. Since each course was only a few minutes long, this was easy to do. By the time the Learner got through each of the lessons, they felt that they knew and could apply the materials.
In Internet time, a year can be a very, very long time in terms of advancement in technology. When our client’s course was first created, mobile devices weren’t being used by most people and web browsers were (relatively speaking) back in the stone age. Also, Learner’s had to sign in to the company portal and then separately (using a different username and password) sign into the learning management system. That’s just silly. The solution? Recreate each course section using modern best practices, make the course available on mobile devices and set up single sign-on so that once they were authenticated into the company portal, they could simply access the course or courses assigned to them.
A learner should be able to apply the information in the course materials.
Attention spans are short. Your courses should be too.
Give Learners something to do at the end of it (a quiz or some activity) so that they know that they can apply the information covered.
Make it easy for Learners to access your course materials.
Productive employees are more likely to be happy employees.
We’re Passionate About Training
If your company is looking at upgrading existing or creating new courses, we can help. We would love to discuss your training needs. Check out the learning management system, available modules and contact us today at (800) 868-8039 for a solution tailored specifically to your organization.