How to elevate engagement in skills training
January 2, 2024
In a world where our screens have become our new learning companions, the need for effective remote skills training has never been more apparent. We’ve all attended remote lessons, and most people tend to let the instructor’s voice play in the background while they continue doing work tasks or checking their emails. This jeopardizes the learning process, making it difficult for the course’s message to come across. So, what’s the key to skills training programs that stick?
Making skills training relevant and impactful
Well, it’s engagement and practical application. Participating in discussions, asking questions, and collaborating with peers can turn a one-way lecture into an interactive experience. Since skills training prepares learners to put their knowledge into action, the need for a meaningful online learning experience becomes more imperative. Below, we’ll uncover some strategies, techniques, and other useful insights that can make your remote skills training work wonders.
5 strategies to make skills training activities engaging and memorable
1. Custom-tailored learning journeys
Learners need to feel emotionally invested in their courses, and what better way to achieve this than personalized modules? Custom learning paths tap into learners’ search for interesting and inspiring lessons and put them at the center of their learning experience. Every module in the program is created based on each individual’s preferences, learning styles, and desired outcomes. This encourages learners to be actively involved in shaping their training journey, making the process more meaningful. This sense of ownership sparks an emotional connection to the training program while driving it to success. Fortunately, technology can help you easily create personalized learning paths for every single one of your learners. Whether you utilize diagnostic assessments that will identify their strengths and weaknesses or algorithm-based content recommendations, you will provide your learners with a responsive and engaging experience.
2. Virtual peer interactions and group discussions
Remote learning can often be an isolated experience, but this can easily change by encouraging interactions between learners. Virtual peer interactions bring a sense of fellowship that doesn’t necessarily require physical presence. Video or regular calls and instant messages help learners effortlessly share ideas, ask questions, and discuss concepts with other people in their online classes. However, group discussions make a significant difference in class participation. A discussion over a group chat or a meeting is like a roundtable of diverse minds that all contribute their unique perspectives and take lessons a step further. These discussions create a dynamic environment where engagement is encouraged, and people can construct knowledge together. This makes them active participants in the learning process, thus making them more emotionally connected to the training program.
3. Empathy from instructors
Building a strong connection between learners and instructors is a vital component of successful remote skills training. Specifically, empathetic communication from instructors is powerful in fostering this emotional bond. A training professional who understands the challenges learners face and genuinely cares about their learning journey can really inspire people to engage in their courses. Instructors like these are present in their learners’ lives, understanding unique circumstances like a busy work schedule, personal commitments, and others. This creates an environment where learners feel heard and safe. Incorporating empathetic communication doesn’t have to be grand. It can just be a small personalized message of encouragement, a badge for acknowledging an accomplishment, or a one-on-one meeting for emotional support. When learners feel understood, they’re more likely to be motivated and thus succeed in their skills training.
4. Gamification elements
Gamification offers your learners the opportunity to master their skills while having a blast, thus engaging them in the process and making the learning content more memorable. This approach takes all the fun elements of a video game and adds them to your online courses. So, think about game mechanics and design techniques that make the skills training program more interactive.
Incorporating leaderboards in your lessons, for example, is a great motivation for learners, since they’ll be able to compare their progress to others and strive to get better. On the other hand, badges for completing lessons or in-lesson achievements act like trophies that boost the participants’ confidence. You can even add rewards, like points, which are awarded every time learners reach specific milestones and can be used to unlock features. Interactive quizzes and challenges after a course can also do the trick, since they can be a chance to earn points and climb up the leaderboard. Lastly, don’t forget to spice up your courses by adding narratives and storytelling. Those will make learning memorable and relatable.
5. Learning in the workflow
You can’t expect busy employees to fully engage in their skills training program if you don’t integrate learning into the flow of work. Learning a new skill right at the moment they need it without disrupting their daily tasks can go a long way toward making the process more successful. Learning in the workflow can be achieved through a variety of approaches. Microlearning, for example, has become popular in recent years due to its nature. It delivers learning content in small parts—not more than 15 minutes long—that can be quickly consumed and applied. This allows swamped professionals to have on-demand knowledge that saves their time and fosters continuous learning as well. Just-in-time resources also have the same effect. By providing employees with online guides, tutorials, or forums, they can have access to targeted support precisely when they need it.
Techniques for hands-on experience
Virtual labs and simulations
Hands-on experience may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of remote skills training. However, technology can make that possible. Remote learners can experience what they learn firsthand through a variety of innovative techniques, like virtual labs and simulations. They offer a safe and controlled environment for learners to explore concepts, test, and experiment, no matter what their field of study is. Plus, they encourage mistake-driven learning. Simulations allow learners to make decisions and see the consequences immediately in a risk-free setting. By actively experiencing failure, learners understand the training material more deeply while also enhancing their problem-solving skills and even their confidence. From business simulations to virtual labs for medical training, these technologies immerse learners, allowing them to make informed choices and learn practically.
Case studies and real-life scenarios are dynamic learning tools that bring theory to life, and remote lessons are in need of that element. Similar to simulations, they allow learners to apply their knowledge and make decisions based on the information they have. For example, if your marketing team needs some training on TikTok marketing techniques, you will present them with a relevant case study. Specifically, they will put themselves in the shoes of a company that’s experimented with TikTok. They’ll need to analyze market trends, competitors, and demographics to create the best marketing campaign possible. By mirroring real-life struggles, they will experience real emotions and try to navigate through them realistically. Case studies and real-life scenarios put learners in the driver’s seat. This fosters a sense of relevance and reliability that will stick with them. It will also prepare them for the real deal later on.
Remote access to equipment
There aren’t any geographical limitations standing in the way of people accessing a full training experience anymore. With remote access, learners can get their hands on a variety of resources—virtually, of course. Whether they’re engineers or graphic designers, they can virtually have any type of work-related equipment and tools at their fingertips. All they have to do is wear a VR headset or AR goggles and dive into a virtual workshop, office, or lab. They will have the chance to pick up instruments, use them actively, and witness the results with their own eyes instead of passively learning about them in a lecture, video, or infographic. It’s almost like they have their own private lab, existing virtually.
But is this practical? In fact, it’s more practical than real-life equipment and tools. Virtually, people have the chance to experiment with rare or expensive equipment that they can’t access in the physical world without fear of damaging it. This way, even companies with low budgets can offer their employees a quality training process.
Skills training is ever-evolving, especially with the remote element added. There will always be new trends and approaches that will optimize the learning outcomes and drive your training program to success. You need to be on the lookout for innovative solutions and remember that your goal is to create an immersive experience that captures the hearts and minds of learners. After all, as a professional, you have the support of the community. There are many like-minded people that aim to create memorable and meaningful online learning experiences, so don’t hesitate to ask for their insights.
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