A certain company recently conducted a survey of its employees. One question asked was what the company could do to improve company performance.

Most of the workers wanted training to be eliminated. The remarks as a whole showed that the training was ineffective, dull, unnecessary, repetitive and was simply a waste of time when workers were drawn away from the work they were supposed to be doing.

Another company shared its experience on conducting an e-learning compliance program. The program used a modern and interactive method of training. The workers happily and enthusiastically discussed the training outside the training room – even though the training session was over!

For the past 20 years of creating e-learning programs, I often get this question from training experts and business leaders: What distinguishes impactful e-learning from those that have little – if any – value.

Although there’s no secret test when creating or buying e-learning, there’s one critical test that usually applies: If you are the one to design, develop and deliver a training program for your company, think how you would like to be a trainee in the training you’re creating for others.

Is the training interesting? Relevant? Up-to-date? Practical? Simple to understand? Personalized?

If you answer YES to these questions, then — Bravo!

There is always room for improvement. You may want to think about these three tips to make e-learning effective:

Tell a “sticky” story

Thousands of years ago people used cave paintings to share their messages. We remember stories simply because they touch our feelings — worries, sympathies, rage, enjoyment, etc. Plato wrote, “All learning has an emotional base.”

A story is simply a narration of cause and effect. That’s just how people think. Stories are capable of making a lesson “sticky”. Everybody can remember a story told long ago.

Make learning interactive

Let your students be active during the training. Give them opportunities to make decisions in practical circumstances relevant to their work. Show the effects of the different decisions they make. Get the learners’ interest and create fascination as to how different the outcome would have been if they have taken another route.

Strengthen good decisions, remedy bad ones and give opportunities to test different outcomes. Remember, just letting them click the “Next” button is not really interactive. Mindless clicking to display the next text on the screen is not very effective in influencing conduct.

Use the power of video

People are super-attracted to video. When we dream, it’s like watching a special “movie” in our minds while asleep. Particularly in today’s generation, movies are everywhere. People watch YouTube videos and Hollywood movies on their phones and gadgets. As increasingly discerning customers of information, we are attracted to what is visual and we need to really see the various nuances of what’s happening.

We also need quality videos. Using phone for recording movies is fine. It’s fun to take videos of a birthday celebration or special moments with friends. However when producing training videos, it’s better to make use of professional actors, directors, writers, and editors who understand the art of creating video-based training programs.

As a training professional, you know how important it is to increase the ROI of training programs. In order to make the most of these training programs, not to mention the time and money you put into it, picture yourself in the learners’ shoes as you prepare their training.

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