Addressing the learner’s needs
To develop an internal training programme that delivers enhanced performance, it is important to start with establishing the strategic priorities of the team – not just what the team needs to know, but what they need to be able to DO. This can be achieved by gathering robust data on baseline levels of knowledge, competencies and confidence. The initial stage of scoping and analysis distils the specific requirements for an internal training programme and allows you to implement a blended programme that directly meets the needs of the learner.
We know that better results are achieved by building programmes that are practice and outcomes focused, whilst putting learners at the centre. Your team are already highly educated and skilled – therefore, they are much more likely to embrace and apply training opportunities if they are able to self-direct their learning plan.
Digital technologies give us fantastic opportunities to deliver learning in exciting and effective new formats and also measure impact like never before (more on this below). However, it is important to keep in mind that digital is never the full solution to any training challenge and there should always be a blend of different strategies to create an effective learning environment. Certainly, for competency-based aspects and for improving someone’s confidence, face-to-face training remains powerful. This is best used alongside digital tools and platforms which offer a brilliant opportunity for bite-sized, dynamic learning and visual mapping and tracking of learner progress.
Improving adoption and engagement
Regardless of shiny, digital technology, there are always times when a team doesn’t engage with available training. To tackle this, we first need to identify the barriers to engagement. It might be the format of the training is not appropriate; therefore, how can you make sure the programme is being delivered in the right way? Could you offer more digital formats to make the learning bite-sized, or do you need to go back to face-to-face training? It could be that the content is not addressing the learner’s needs; it may have been designed based on the latest data but if it doesn’t reflect the strategic imperatives, they won’t find the content valuable and relevant.
Additionally, the platform might not be intuitive, which can very quickly lead to frustration and low usage. Once the challenges are understand, we can then look at the solutions to get the platform right, whilst ensuring the content is relevant. Spanning across this, I have found that the most important factor is to explicitly communicate learning outcomes. If we show people why learning activities will directly benefit them, then the engagement and impact follows.
Insight into the behaviours of a team can be provided by digital tools and this can be useful to assess their baseline performance before designing new training and reviewing change post-training. One of the most powerful tools is to ask five questions per day and monitor confidence levels alongside the responses — this is not only valuable for the learner, but gives clear metrics to use for further programme development.
Crucially for long-term success, programmes should be actively monitored using a range of measures beyond participation rates; if people feel they are getting value for the training they will keep coming back for more. However, it is important to maintain a balance of quantitative and qualitative measures – stats shouldn’t replace ongoing dialogue with the team about their training and development needs.