When we as trainers create training, it’s not enough to just deliver it. If we want to make it stick, we need strategies to cement the content long after the program appears to be over.
One of the most common ways to reinforce key content is to make it available in a bite-sized format that’s easy for participants to review, useful for managers to reinforce, and easy to integrate as pre-work into related programs.
When we at the KLA Group develop a program, we don’t just develop the content. We look at additional strategies to extend the material, reinforce key content and cement participants’ learning.
One approach we use is to create five to 11-minute segments of pivotal content to deliver as refreshers. Here’s how we do it.
First we look at the original training based on the key business objectives to identify what content is critical to achieve them. For example, you might want to cement sales reps’ questioning skills from a program to help increase the company’s average sale size, the original business objective.
Then we break those content areas down further into one idea per training segment, each with its own learning objective. The learning objective makes it easy to condense the material, stay on track and identify an action step for learners to apply at the end of the mini-module.
Refresh, Not Re-Teach
One challenge developers face when creating these modules is feeling like they have to provide a lot of background just to set up the key content. This is a reinforcement to cement learning from a bigger program. Your goal isn’t to reteach, simply to remind participants to use it. We don’t need to repeat everything. Instead provide additional links to more refresher material if the learner wants to brush up in other areas.
We recently took a questioning skills module and created seven five-minute segments, including open and closed-end questioning, the types of questions to ask, and an audio example to name a few.
During the segment, we like to include something thought-provoking. For example, we might include a question related to the topic for them to consider. If we leave them with something to think about, participants are more likely to reflect on how they’d apply what they’re learning to their job. It also gives us the opportunity to engage managers to cement the content. Managers can follow up, asking the same question and coaching to higher levels of performance.
We leave the learner with an action step to apply the information. Because we’ve started with a specific learning objective, this step is obvious.
These refreshers can take many forms including podcasts, videocasts, vodcasts, or even emails or manager team meeting segments. They are integrated into overall programs, becoming a core component just like any instructor-led, web-based or manager coaching component.
Use this approach as reinforcement six to 12 months following a vital training program to remind leaners of key concepts, cement the learning and boost your return on investment.