Trainers can demonstrate value by learning from higher education, says Peter Eyre.
What’s the real purpose of training? Doubtless most reading this will say that it helps optimise performance and job satisfaction, it improves employee engagement and leads to happier, more fulfilled staff.
While all these are true, when we strip away all the niceties, in business the ultimate aim of training is to make the company more profitable. So, whether a business invests in in-house trainers and facilities or outsources, the first question they will ask is whether their investment will be repaid by improved productivity, greater innovation, reduced staff churn or in any other way.
Online learning and blended programmes are popular ways to save costs. But although these options can be practical and beneficial alternatives, there are still many more advantages to instructor-led training, whether in a traditional set up, or as part of a flipped classroom model.
But, online courses do have one major advantage; they can be used as a source of data to show student progress and establish levels of competency. Is there any way that training companies and departments can add extra value and to convince clients that its courses are effective and worth the fee?
The answer may lie in applications or platforms used in higher education lecture theatres throughout the country.
A poll can be as versatile as a trainer needs it to be. It can ask for views and subjective opinions or it can check understanding and learning retention.
The trainer can use these to design polls, quizzes, discussions and question and answer sessions, and the class can vote, send questions or comments via their phone. Results can then be sent back to the trainer or a moderator and displayed immediately as part of a PowerPoint presentation.
A poll can be as versatile as a trainer needs it to be. It can ask for views and subjective opinions or it can check understanding and learning retention. Time can be allocated depending on the results, ensuring that training sessions are focused and targeted. Results can be reported to training or HR managers to show how students are progressing and/or highlight the need for further training.
Question and answer sessions enable employees to zone in on issues needing further clarification, with questions asked anonymously if wished. This facility is a valuable one as it makes interaction more inclusive, preventing a session being ‘hijacked’ by one or two individuals eager to demonstrate their knowledge.
Communications are also more honest; not so many pretend they know something when they don’t. A moderator can weed out any inappropriate questions.
This kind of application lends itself to the flipped classroom as polls or quizzes can be used to kick-start discussion and the question and answer facility used to clear up any misunderstandings.
Using a PowerPoint add-in, polls can be created and inserted into the training presentation during the session, so discussions can be dynamic and fluid, enabling the trainer take the session wherever they need to for optimum results.
Many technologies are gradually finding their way into instructor-led training, from the interactive whiteboard to the tablet. But in most cases, these add extra overheads. However, live polling apps can sometimes be downloaded free of charge for the entry-level version with modest subscription thereafter.
One of the important points about these apps – learnt from their increasing use in higher education – is that users find they make sessions more engaging and interactive. This fact alone means that they will add value to a training course.
But going back to the data collected during the sessions – this can be used as valuable business intelligence for the HR team or training department. When presented in report form – this information provides a benchmark of improving knowledge and understanding.
It’s one way of the few ways of demonstrating how effective good training can be – and an excellent way for a training company to differentiate their services from the competition.
About the author
Peter Eyre is co-founder of Vevox.