Sharing knowledge and teaching others seem like simple concepts.
However, as anyone that has delivered a Learning & Development activity can attest to, creating engaging modes of sharing this information can be no mean feat.
While planning this kind of activity or plan, you want to impart as much useful information as possible and for your audience to retain this too.
This can be as simple as a new policy that you need to go over or as complex as a fully fledged personal development plan. Either way, you want your learners to be engaged and ready to implement their new skills.
In this blog, we’ll be covering some common mistakes that could be impacting the efficacy of your training programmes. Don’t worry – we’ll be telling you how to fix them too.
Assuming Skill Level
When you bring your colleagues into a training activity, it’s easy to assume that everyone has a basic knowledge that they need to do their job. However, they may understand their role in a different way to others in a team or be missing a key piece of information that means they won’t understand the rest of the training.
It’s a good idea to start with a basic refresher of the concepts, terms and information that you’ll be imparting. You can also chat with the participants prior to training to get a handle on their skill level.
If you’re worried about embarrassment or fear of retribution influencing these responses, then consider setting up an anonymous question box.
A Lack of Breaks in Training Activities
For a longer training activity – or just one that’s mentally strenuous – you should plan for breaks. Without these, your learners will become oversaturated with the information at hand and it’s unlikely that they’ll absorb any more.
Building in time for regular breaks during the training will allow you to provide these as and when they’re needed. Be aware of when your audience starts shifting in their seats or appears glazed over.
Not everyone in the room will need these at the same time, but short breaks throughout the activity will ensure everyone is catered for.
Using or Overusing the Wrong Technology
While delivery methods like PowerPoint presentations and videos have their place, you don’t want to use these in the wrong context or over use them.
For example, asking an audience to watch a lengthy health and safety video or hundreds of slides within a presentation will decrease the absorption of the information. This can lead to a lag between initial training and the full information being taken up, which wastes time and money!
Think about the best ways to create a varied experience for your learners; this will be more likely to keep them engaged and actively processing the information. Activities, short videos and interactive presentations should be on your agenda to keep longer training activities interesting.
Cramming Training into a Single Session
There are many training topics that can be covered in a single session, but you should be aware when this is not the case. If you feel like you’re putting too much into a training session, then you’re much better off breaking this down into different sessions.
If this isn’t possible, then breaks will be your best friend. For all day training sessions, keep your audience hydrated, engaged and rested.
In order to make sure you still have your audience’s attention, you should be ready to switch up the format. No one wants to listen to a presentation for hours, so intersperse practical activities, multimedia and discussion.
No Context for Training
If the link between training and your colleagues’ day-to-day roles isn’t clear, then they may not be invested in the topic. Disengagement occurs when we don’t understand why we should be paying attention to the training topic.
Make the link between the training and its goals implicit at the start. While it might not directly impact the individual, it likely aligns with an organisational goal or future initiative.
Bring your colleagues on board by explaining why they’re a part of the training, it’s as simple as that!
Not Creating an Inclusive Environment
All learners are different and it’s up to you to create an environment that fosters learning for each of these. Think about any learners that may have difficulties with the training and work to build the session around their needs.
For example, if you have a co-worker with dyslexia then you may want to add more spoken instruction into your training session and alter the training materials appropriately. You can ask your colleagues whether they have any adjustments that they would like to be made.
Brush up on the types of learners that you’ll have in the room and the psychology that you can apply to your activity.
Overestimating the Outcomes
We all want to get the most out of a learning and development plan or activity, but you still have to be realistic. Working with learners to set achievable goals is vastly preferable to setting them goals they’re unlikely to complete.
Whether setting goals for a session or personal development plan, consider how this will fit around the learner’s schedule. If they can't spare time to attend a classroom, then you can look to develop their skills with an online course.
Failure to Evaluate
If you’re not evaluating the L&D activities that you conduct with staff, you’re missing out on important information! Your L&D activities may not be imparting everything your audience need to know or missing out key steps in the process.
As you scroll through the training documents and additional assets, you may think that it all makes sense. However, an audience might be missing the information that you think is a given.
The best way to figure out whether your audience have a good understanding of the topic is to ask them to weigh in on it!
Send out a survey to your colleagues and ask if there was anything unclear within the training. Then, you can add a follow up session or individual catch ups with learners that may need additional time.
You’re Not Facilitating a Learning Culture
An overall culture in which learning is important, as this shows other colleagues that training is to be taken seriously. If there’s a culture in which learning is viewed as ticking a box, then your learners won’t be invested in what you have to say.
If you’ve inherited this kind of culture or taken your finger off the pulse, you can still change this. Formalising your training plans and recognising those that meet their goals are both fantastic steps to take. Training shouldn’t be shunted in at the last minute; it should be an important part of the schedule.
Internal promotion can also incentivise learning among your colleagues, draw clear conclusions about the skills required for roles and how these can be gained.
No Outside Reinforcement
When your trainees leave the session, you want to monitor and reinforce the messages that you’ve given them. If they’re left to forget all about the training session, then this won’t make an impact on their working life.
Monitor the use of new skills and coach employees that need more assistance to put them into practice. Training shouldn’t end when the session is over!
If there are systematic problems with the practical implementation of the training you have given, then this may be linked to missing information from your activity. Again, coaching will make it clear if there’s a key competency that hasn’t been communicated.
If you want to take your L&D activities and plans to the next level, then make sure you’re dodging these common mistakes. Then, your organisation will thrive with an improved focus on this function.