Can technical training be energizing, interactive and stimulating? Absolutely.
As a management consultant focused on Organizational Change Management, I have conducted countless training sessions in order to equip those undergoing a change with the tools necessary to be productive in their newly changed environment. Often times, the change being faced is a technical one. Whether it's a new manufacturing system application, a new time and attendance software, a new mortgage origination website or a new claims processing tool, below are a few tips for ensuring your training is stimulating and interactive while utilizing best practices for adult learning.
Get up and move
Adult learners should get up and move every 75 minutes. Movement stimulates blood flow and reenergizes the participants. Personally, I like to give purpose to the movement and will often times reassign groups and have training participants move to their new group location several times throughout the training course.
Limit number of slides
I try to limit the number of slides I use to a maximum of 7 slides per hour of instruction. This is one of the harder rules to follow when doing technical training. Most assume that when you are training on a system or application, you must use slides to show how an end user will utilize the new system. But, do you? No, you do not. In order to break up my delivery methods, I will often times open the course with 1-2 slides that overview the change, how the change will impact the participants and the objectives for the training course. I will then break the remainder of the course into demonstrations and hands-on activities (including both group and individual activities).
Tell, Show, Do
Similar to most audiences, adult learners need repetition in order to grasp a new technology. In order to provide repetition without sounding like a ‘broken record', I first tell the participants what it is I'm trying to teach. I then show them, usually via a live demonstration using the new technology. Finally, I ask them to apply this teaching and perform a pre-planned task using the new technology.
Engage the audience
Audience engagement is key to learning. After participating in technical training myself, I realize that many instructors are unsure of how best to engage an audience, especially when training on a new technology. Below are just a couple tips and tricks for audience engagement.
- Pull from participant's experiences and knowledge and apply their input to the new system. This shows the participants that you value their knowledge and also helps them see how their knowledge will assist them in transitioning to the new state.
- Plan ahead and create hands-on activities for participants to complete in groups and alone.