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This training is boring, so let's rip it up.

Like many people, I would have to imagine that most of us get sick of the same stagnant training approach that has been in place for what feels like forever. We don’t have time to sit behind a computer and select B for this question and C for the next, after watching a 25-minute video on “fall protection.” We don’t want to sit in a conference room to listen to someone teach the same to the same slide deck as last year for our annual refresher training on ethics. Within this dislike of training, there remains a conundrum. If you survey an organization to understand the voice from the shop floor, it is common to see that employees demand more training. So you give more, and yet we want more. I think the issue here is that training is stagnant. It's time for a change.

I don’t have a perfect answer on what works for all organizations. I have just accepted that there will never be a “one size fits all” approach to training. To remain successful with continuous improvement and building a culture hungry for implementing the activity that is taught, the material trained must not be stagnant.

To feed the hunger for training, we must get more creative with our training. There are a variety of training techniques that are differentially different and might pump in a bit of oxygen to invigorate the training flame. Let’s look at a few.


  • Whiteboard animation - This is an engagement mechanism that brings to life a process or the likes of a decision. Consider applications like where there is the impression of a hand on the screen that is correlating drawing the message with cartoons as it is being told. Dynamically, this engaging training tells the story with markers on a whiteboard and takes detours with a visual eraser as if we are seeing watching the story live. Seeing the animation navigate to explain things, like the importance of eliminating texting and driving, can significantly change the ability to land the message. Drawing the story of leaving your house, driving to work, and being distracted by a text shown in a cartoon can enable images to embrace the importance.

  • On-the-Job Training (OJT) - If you complete a course, instead of only testing, give homework to underwrite the training. Consider giving applicable questions that demonstrate competency along with the execution of the training to validate the course. This can be applicable when starting a new job or just completing an apprenticeship course on something like print reading. Leverage the training to require the individual to go out to the location of the application and demonstrate the newly acquired skill.

  • Short video training - Most companies purchase individual Microsoft accounts for their entire team. Part of some of the package includes Microsoft Stream, a video creation software with public and private distribution options along with transcript functionality. Applications for this include quick updates on transformation activities or new tricks to make processes quicker. The goal is is to make them short and sweet.

To succeed in getting your message to break through, deliver one clear, concise message consistently over a long period of time. Consistency is the key to creating credibility with your audiences. - George Stenitzer
  • Bring on the Apps - There are plenty of them out there. Most come at a cost, but many have free versions that are just enough to get an assignment done or tease you enough to purchase a paid subscription. Consider which is an online collaboration tool to bring a wall of post-it notes into a virtual world. Or consider an engaging survey tool like which forces all of the attendees to use their phones during training to engage in activity versus scrolling through their social media accounts.

  • Storytelling learning - In the early 20th century, inside all of the industrial mills were hundreds of cartoons that showed the importance of training. The simplistic characters with key messages on the importance of safety are engrained into the minds of individuals every time they pass them. Fast forward almost 100 years, and that same type of training exists in the digital world. Companies like Root Integrated Learning have reinvented this training technique to take a message or a process and bring it to life with a storyboard.

Visually arresting and narratively engrossing, they deliver measurable impact with every pixel. Root Integrated Learning. - Rootinc

The goal is to absorb training and demonstrate competency. Too often we invest in training, and halfway out the door, 80% of the attendees just forgot 80% of what they were supposed to learn. It isn’t the fault of the trainee, it is that we need to increase retention and demonstration by reinvigorating training by making it organic. Do something like even a crossword puzzle, just stop doing the same boring stuff.


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