Modern e-learning platforms are extremely simple and intuitive to use, so creating courses or even comprehensive training paths with them is not the slightest problem. However, the challenge is to present the content in such a way that it is as attractive as possible to the participants. Does a boring training topic always translate into a boring training course? What techniques to use in order to create an engaging course?
This article will explain the following:
- How does the training topic affect student engagement?
- Which tools increase student engagement?
- What is important in designing engaging and interesting training courses?
The most interesting training course topics
On-the-job training courses and courses selected by employees from the company training catalog are usually the most interesting. Why? Employees choose topics which are in line with their interests – they allow them to learn how to properly and effectively perform their duties, broaden their horizons, and gain knowledge useful at later stages of their careers.
Less interesting training courses are basically all compulsory training courses which often need to be retaken annually or within a couple of years. These are, for example, occupational health and safety courses, compliance training sessions, or classes aimed at raising awareness about possible risks and threats (e.g., broadly understood cybersecurity). These topics aren’t captivating, even though they are crucial for the proper functioning of the organization. Therefore, it is worth spending some time and making sure that training in those areas is not a waste of time for employees.
Unfortunately, every large company offers lots of boring training courses whose quality and form frequently leave much to be desired. Many designers of e-learning courses assume that a boring topic cannot be presented in an attractive way. Meanwhile, a few simple tricks and an appropriate selection of training forms are enough to significantly increase the level of student engagement.
5 tactics to make boring topics exciting
Many students attending compulsory training wonder about its purpose. What is the reason for retaking the same content? In order to catch the students’ attention at the very beginning and to encourage them to actively participate in the training, it might be useful to open with some interesting information, intriguing questions, or engaging problems whose solution might not be obvious.
By using such tactics, it is easy to captivate the attention of the participants. Not only will we make students aware of the purpose and subject of the training, but it will also force them to actively seek answers to the questions asked or solutions to the problems mentioned at the beginning. It is worth remembering, however, that no doubts should be left unanswered at the end.
Tailor your content to your audience
The form and language of a training course should always be adapted to the recipients. This rule also applies to the content and the scope of the presented material. When conducting training courses for office workers, regulations and safety rules specific to the industrial or transport industries should be ignored. Once the participants’ attention is lost, it cannot be regained.
This rule also works the other way. If the vast majority of participants do not use company computer equipment, there is no point in boring them for an hour with cybersecurity rules or other issues that are completely irrelevant from their point of view.
Use examples and anecdotes from the life of the company
In order to effectively captivate the students, it is worth reaching for examples and anecdotes from the life of the company. During the OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) training, it might be informative to mention accidents from the past and, together with the team, consider their causes or effective ways to protect against their recurrence.
In turn, risk training can be enriched with the presentation of the most common phishing attacks or other cyber-attack methods which may expose the company to any image or financial losses. What if the company history does not provide such examples? The media often report on cases from other companies, sometimes even from the same industry branch.
Use a variety of training materials
Even a carefully thought-out training course and a carefully selected range of materials will not guarantee success if the whole thing is conveyed as a classic presentation and read out in a sad voice by the teacher. In order not to bore the students too quickly, it is worth reaching for various training formats – to use content slides along with graphic slides, photos, short videos, recordings from company cameras, etc.
Thanks to such diversity, the participants of the training course will not only be more involved, but will also learn the material much more effectively. Any important information will be associated with a specific training point, an example, a photo, or a video.
Motivate students and test their knowledge
The use of tests is also an effective way to increase student involvement and motivation. A test is often a compulsory final part of a training course. Checking the acquired knowledge after discussing a specific issue or topic is, however, a much better solution. A test scheduled in such a way draws attention to the most important content and, additionally, counteracts the frequent practice of skipping training and going straight to the test.
Additionally, knowledge can be verified through other means, e.g., asking open questions, conducting surveys, or having students group elements into logically cohesive sets. Modern LMSs (Learning Management Systems) have a lot to offer in this respect, so it is worth taking advantage of these functionalities.
How to design an interesting training course?
Each employee training course has a specific goal. This goal is to equip employees with specific knowledge – related to their positions, to health and safety at work, to specific technology, etc. The aim of the course should always be the first point of concern. The course should be built around it, and then individual content points should be conveyed to the students in the most accessible and engaging way.
It might seem that an attractive presentation of boring content, e.g. applicable laws, is virtually impossible. It is difficult to imagine employee responsibilities or legal paragraphs being presented in an interesting or innovative way. Presenting dry facts or extracts from source documents is the worst method of conducting a course. After a few minutes, the participants will nervously look at the watch or decide to finish it as soon as possible and go straight to the test.
In order to prevent this from happening, several questions should first be answered. Who is the training intended for? What language should be used? What forms of training should be employed? In many cases, the classic form of presentation is perfectly adequate, provided it is enriched with, for example, short video clips. However, in companies employing mainly young people, a much higher level of engagement can be ensured by some healthy competition and the introduction of games.
Modern LMS platforms, including Samelane, are equipped with elements of augmented reality (AR), which takes the educational experience to a completely different level. Thanks to the use of AR, even the most repetitive OHS courses or onboarding sessions can become innovative and will allow students to take a trip to a futuristic world.