Wise managers want training to be practical. They expect employees to learn ways to solve problems—immediately. They don’t want to wait for months and years. They want to solve problems now. They want to grasp opportunities today.
So they send supervisors to leadership training to learn effective leadership. They offer customer service training, hoping that everyone serves the customer better. They train salesmen to learn the sales process.
In most of these training programs, they offer ideas, concepts, and theories. It is as if you can learn everything in a textbook in a day or two. You can find most of these kinds of training in public seminars. Because they can’t customize training for the general public.
The content is independent of context. Most of them are bound to be forgotten. Why? Because they will never be used. These training programs do not provide practical value. And what you cannot practice cannot transform you. It cannot transform the world around you.
Many providers sell training based on extensive content. They think that people are after the many lessons for each module. They hope that one lesson among dozens will get your attention.
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Practical Learning Strategies
You can make training impactful, immediately useful, and practical. You can do this by paying more attention to the learners, rather than the trainers. You can do this by making course objectives serve corporate goals.
You can shake things up. Get real, get practical.
Think of it like cooking a great meal – you need the right ingredients, a good recipe, and a willingness to experiment.
Here are examples of learning strategies we use to make training practical.
“Hands-On” is the Magic Word
Forget sitting back and listening. Let learners roll up their sleeves. Imagine a training where you’re not just hearing about how to do things, but actually doing them. It’s like learning to ride a bike. You can’t learn it from a book. You have to get on the bike. Training should be the same.
For example, talking about customer touchpoints is great. But doing customer journey mapping is better. Challenging participants to find ways to create moments of magic is even better.
Make Mistakes on Purpose
Here’s a secret: mistakes are your friends. In a world where everyone is scared to fail, be the one who isn’t. Create a training space where it’s safe to trip up. Think of it like playing a video game. You don’t win without losing a few times first.
Participants are more likely to get a perfect score in a written assessment. When we train, we don’t pat ourselves on the back for having a perfect evaluation. Since we use role plays and demonstrations, we are always on the lookout for mistakes.
Why? Because finding mistakes during the workshop is a lot better than finding them in front of a customer. We mine mistakes. And we encourage our learners to find their mistakes too. We want them to learn from mistakes too.
The Real World as a Classroom
Why learn in a bubble? Bring the real world into the learning experience. If you’re teaching customer service, let’s talk to real customers. If it’s about sales, let’s make some actual sales calls. It’s like learning to swim. You can’t do it on land. You need to be in the water.
Another way is to make the learning experience a project. Let them apply the principles they’ve learned experientially. Then, let them validate learning in the real world.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Long training sessions? No, thank you. We’re busy. We’re tired. Make it short. Make it snappy. Think of it like a TED talk, not a long lecture. Bite-sized learning is easier to digest.
Sure, we still do three-day training programs. Some of our clients insist.
But you can always design micro-courses. At times, tiny learning isn’t about learning less. It is about learning the most important things faster. Instead of studying 99 nice-to-know ideas, we focus on one solution that will make a difference.
And since our training extends from the classroom to the real world, we can always make it short and sweet.
Most of us know that the old model isn’t effective, but it is the only model most people know. Practical learning is short, sweet, and sustainable.
Feedback in Real-Time
Feedback shouldn’t wait for the end. It should be like texting, not like snail mail. Instant, helpful, and continuous. If you did something great, you should know now. If you need to improve, you should know that too.
That’s why short sessions work. You don’t have to memorize 100 things when you only need to master 1 thing.
For example, you don’t need to lecture participants on the 7 (or 12) steps of delegation skills. Most managers know how to delegate. But there are steps which they don’t usually get right. Often, it is step #1. Focus on number 1 to see great improvement. If it is #7, make a quick review of the steps one to six, then help them master the last step.
We often provide scenarios. The way learners make decisions and solve problems needs real-time feedback. And when we extend learning into the workplace, we recommend immediate feedback too.
Is this time-consuming? Not really. You don’t need a day to provide feedback. Spending fifteen minutes to correct what is wrong or to affirm what’s right is all the time you need.
Feedback makes learning practical.
One size doesn’t fit all. Tailor your training. Make the learning experience serve the purpose of the learner. Make each learner’s purpose serve business goals.
Like a chef tweaks a recipe, tweak your training for the people in the room. Different teams, different needs. Recognize that.
Our method is simple. If you are familiar with the 4 levels of evaluation, we start our design by identifying level 4: ROI. Then, we move to 3 (behavior), 2 (learning), and 1 (reaction). In customizing your programs, we begin with the end in mind.
Because we use immersive, experiential, and playful learning experiences, we are confident that we’ll get positive reactions. But we want you to feel a positive impact.
Our goal is not to get paid for our training’s worth. We are not selling a commodity.
For example, you don’t get 300,000 pesos worth of training by paying us 300,000 pesos. That seems like a fair exchange if we are talking about commodities.
But we are your strategic consultants. We customize each learning experience so it can multiply your existing results.
A small mindset switch can make the trajectory of your company go north. Customized training may help accelerate growth.
Storytelling, Not Lecturing
Stories stick. Lectures don’t. When we train, we tell stories. Stories of success, stories of failure. It’s like sitting around a campfire, not in a classroom.
But we don’t just tell ordinary stories. We make stories immersive. We want you to become part of the story we are creating.
And in our workshops, we help you create new stories for your organization.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Repetition is the mother of skill. Don’t just do something once. Do it again. And again. It’s like learning a song. You don’t listen to it once. You play it over and over until you can sing it in your sleep.
In short, we help you master skills by practicing vital behaviors. You will form habits through repetition. But our aim for repetition is more than habit building. We want you to build discipline.
You will be deliberate. You will be consistent.
Challenge the Status Quo
Ask ‘why?’ a lot. Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better way? Encourage rebellion against the ‘usual’ ways. Innovation doesn’t come from following the crowd. It comes from thinking differently.
It is practical when it moves x to y. We may not always be able to move from good to great, but we always aim to move from good to better. And even when you are already the first in your category, we understand that there’s always room for the “better” way.
Our passion to challenge the status quo pushes us to make every training program much better.
Make It Fun
It is practical to have fun and learn through serious play. Learning doesn’t have to be dead serious to be effective. It can be fully alive serious. The topic may be serious, but learning can always be fun.
Add a dash of fun. Games, challenges, laughter. It’s like adding seasoning to a meal. It just makes everything better.
Less Yawn, More Aha!
Boredom is the enemy of learning. Our sessions are alive with energy and interaction. Think less lecture, more conversation. Less yawning, more ‘aha!’ moments.
What we want is for leaders to capture ‘aha!’ moments. And we want them to create them for themselves when they are learning with us.
Today’s Learning for Tomorrow’s Challenges.
The world’s not standing still, and neither should your learning. Our programs evolve as fast as the world does, preparing you not just for today’s challenges but for tomorrow’s as well.
We are not enamored by the testing tools of the past, especially those created 20 years ago. You can solve today’s problems and be ahead of tomorrow’s possibilities. Though we cannot predict the future, we can always prepare for it.
These are the practical ways to train employees.
So, let’s get practical. Let’s make training and learning something we look forward to, not something we have to endure.
Let’s make it real, relevant, and a little bit rebellious. After all, the best learning happens when we’re not afraid to shake things up.