Upping The Ante Of Training

Upping The Ante Of Training

The design of a learning module has a lasting impact on what the users will retain and what they will reject. However, striking the right balance comes about as a pertinent crucible.


The workplace training module is an employee engagement driver that helps employees feel motivated and keep productivity levels high. However, in today’s digital age, lectures are passé. But as every facilitator knows, they cannot be done away with as they anchor a learning experience. It makes sense to allow the lecture to become a dialogue and encourage people to communicate.


Recently, while conversing with a participant of a session I had conducted on developing self-excellence, I was informed that most of the sessions his company organized were nothing more than a digression from work. But he had found this session pleasantly different for its equal mix of discussion and activities. Introducing a short quiz, giving out chocolates for the best answers, injecting humor, or telling stories, reinforce the message of the learning module’s objective.


The art of a good conversation is appreciated by an overwhelming majority, make sure your lectures have a ring of nuanced and crisp language.


Recognize and reward the team with the best solution. The level of involvement in such activities tends to be deep and the spirit becomes competitive. This is more so when the group has experts in the area around which the Case has been built. The level of interest tends to be intense.


We must think of conceptualizing such sessions that connect with the participants and set the stage for an action-oriented and deeply reflective session.


Some pointers to get the brass tacks right:


1. Don’t Lose Sight of the Goal


Nothing gets a group more excited than the chance to step out of the Training Room or at least change seats and participate in an activity. Once, while conducting a game by the name of Balloon Switch, I could not help observing that most participants had become like kindergarten children.


One of the participants could be heard saying, “I don’t remember having so much fun in recent memory.”


In such situations, the Facilitator must ensure that they do not lose sight of the essential learning behind the activity and therefore, while the fun is a positive, the de-brief after the activity must be strong.


2. The Power of Drama


Formally incorporating drama into the module design opens new areas of being and feeling for the participants. Also, it allows them to get into familiar situations. This helps experiential awareness of a situation. Survival problem solving, skits and, confrontational play are some of the role plays which enable participants to get out of their skin and experience a new set of feelings and emotions in a controlled environment – an essential goal of every good learning session.


3. What’s the Case?


While designing content, case studies come in handy. Cases tend to bring in elements of storytelling and problemsolving in one situation. The issues the case revolves around need to be very close to the learning objective being addressed. And to bring in an element of fun, divide the group into two or three units, and then allow them to present their viewpoints one by one.


4. Art of Learning


Art helps take the mind into a new dimension, stimulating the mind in a way where creativity takes a front seat. Creating mind maps as a group activity elicits great excitement. Why not take some of the mind maps ideated by the teams in a learning session and put them up in a spacious area of the office as a symbol of employee creativity?


This is further strengthened if participants are given a chance to develop a contraption during the learning sessions. In a session on Design Thinking, participants are often given props to develop contraptions, which allow participants to come up with a model or prototype of the solution they would propose. The sort of creativity that gets unleashed is exceptional.


The point to emphasize is that the design of the program should be such that participants give vent to thoughts box and let creativity flow unhindered. This results in not only cognitive stimulation but also psychomotor and affective stimulation – which ensures strong retention.


5. Key Factors


Some of the factors which affect module design are:


♦ Content

♦ Research

♦ Alignment of the design to the time available

♦ Sensitivity to the culture of the place and

♦ The expertise of the Facilitator to pull off the theory and activity with complete conviction


Lastly, it is important to capture what ensures good content design. The flow and sequence of the module are primary and need to be logically consistent. Next, variation is a great ingredient in keeping a participant’s interest level high. Alternate between different methods that tingle different parts of our brain, keeping alive interest.


Just as Icebreakers are used to get the Learning going, use ‘Closers’ to bring the module to a logical closure. It is critical from a learning perspective to revise the learning in an interesting way. Guessing games and competitive quizzes help to ensure this is done well. Too often closures are abrupt, which should never be the case. Closures should flow logically and smoothly.


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Dipankar Das is the author of Cracking the CSAT Code at the Call Centre. He has worked in diverse organizations, including Genpact, Concentrix and for the Tatas. He is currently Vice President and Global Head of Skill Development at iSON Xperiences.


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