Problems and solutions for workplace training and development
For most companies, increasing the effectiveness of training programs is the top priority when allocating training resources. This is not surprising, as both managers and learners benefit from training that is optimized to save time (and money) while keeping all its learning promises.
However, despite careful resource allocation, many companies still find that their training is not (or only partially) effective in achieving their goals. This is usually due to some common training and development problems. These training problems range from time-consuming and sometimes scattered workers to cost containment while improving engagement and taking into account different learning preferences.
The most common education and training issues can have a significant impact on the return on investment (ROI) of your training. But the good news is that they are not too difficult to mitigate. Here is a brief guide to solving five of the biggest workplace challenges in education and training:
If work, family life and a number of other demands reduce employee energy, there is a risk that training will only cause more stress. Worse still, interfering with employees’ personal time with training sessions is a sure way to approach (and even annoy) training.
● Avoid classroom training on weekends or after work and limit travel needs for training.
● Consider using a microlearning approach and providing useful and relevant content in the form of blocks in small pieces. Short videos, checklists, computer graphics, and even gifs are simple micro-training formats that make training easier to use.
● Communicate several concepts at once with smart graphics. They save learners valuable time and provide a welcome break from reading emails, reports and newsletters.
● Give priority to short and simple evaluations wherever possible. This allows employees to quickly obtain feedback on their learning progress.
● Optimize your training for mobile phones. Mobile features allow learners to access the LMS and training material anywhere, anytime even on the train to work or during lunch breaks. This makes training much more comfortable.
The constant increase in teleworking and the decentralization of the workforce have created new challenges in education and training.
Training can be very difficult for geographically dispersed employees: Misunderstandings are common and cultural differences can even lead to inconsistent training. For example, some cultures are less comfortable in online forums than others.
● Use social tools to unify your dispersed team. Videoconferencing, webinars and online forums are simple and practical tools to promote trust and empathy among team members across the country (or around the world).
● Use training to clarify communication: Forums and webinars can be used as a safe place to raise questions and concerns or share experiences.
● Clarify your training objectives clearly from the beginning. All team members need to know exactly what is expected of them during the training and how their learning will be useful to them in their work. Consider setting up a “training agreement” that describes these expectations and ask each learner to sign it as a commitment to the learning process.
Whether you are training 20 or 2,000 learners, it is essential to take into account the learner’s preferences and habits in order to avoid any further training problems.
The current workforce includes at least three generations, all of whom have a radically different relationship with technology. Thus, your training will necessarily be less effective if all employees are expected to have the same technical knowledge or levels of knowledge and learning habits.
● Conduct an in-depth needs analysis that focuses on identifying your audience’s learning preferences (especially in terms of comfort with technology). Use the results to inform the design of your training.
● Choose software with a simple and user-friendly interface (UI). The transparent user experience is good for all learners, not just those struggling with technology. For example, pausing a video or downloading a paper should always be simple and easy.
● Open communication channels (including technical support). Use tools such as discussion forums to make it easier for all learners to ask questions and receive both content and technical advice.
● Incorporate different types of content, such as videos, written notes and graphics, to meet different learning preferences.
Engagement is important at three levels: cognitive, emotional and behavioral. In the absence of these three elements, low knowledge retention, passive learning and lack of engagement contribute to the challenges of training and development.
Moreover, behavior change is impossible without a commitment to learning. In addition, when training does not seem relevant or necessary, most learners mentally and emotionally “check” and resist engagement.
● Include practical learning activities such as case studies, scenarios, role plays and concrete examples in your training. These activities involve learners in active problem solving and contribute to better cognitive engagement.
● Use discussion forums and other informal online spaces to allow learners to interact informally. This encourages learners to engage emotionally with other learners and with the training process.
● Establishing a culture of active learning and making all employees feel part of this culture can stimulate emotional engagement. This emotional investment leads to increased learning.
● Communicate learning outcomes upstream to increase behavioural engagement. More learners are likely to participate in learning activities if they understand the underlying objective.
Many training programs are too generic and not customized enough for specific roles or skills. Unfortunately, generic training can strain learners’ time and patience by forcing them to engage in content that is simply not relevant to them. You can bet that this leads to other training challenges.
● Categorize learning outcomes into essential and enjoyable outcomes for each role during training. Do not make essential training mandatory, but use other methods such as play through rewards, badges, and points to encourage learners to engage with content that is enjoyable to have.
● Take advantage of on-the-job training to update your skills or provide new information when you need it most.
● Use relevant case studies and scenarios to strengthen the relevance of the training program for employee jobs.
● Conduct post-training feedback surveys to find out what learners found most useful and where the training program needs to be refined.
The animation, the equipment, the renting of the premises and the time costs of the collaborators (these hours add up!) make the training an expensive business.
Training budgets are usually modest, while training needs are always high. What contributes even more to the challenges of education and training is the fact that travel and software costs must also be taken into account when budgets are tight.
● Postpone your training online. Online training saves travel and meeting costs and often reduces moderation costs.
● Use a cost-effective and efficient LMS. This will make a big difference that your budget can be extended if you train a large number of employees.
● Optimize your content development by focusing on the best formats for your money. For example, short sections of text interspersed with feedback activities can reduce development costs.
● Use webinars instead of face-to-face seminars as another way to limit travel and time costs.
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