Having organized many Train The Trainers sessions, I saw that most trainers share the common question of how to engage their learners and diversify their training sessions, to make the session more animated, engaging, enjoyable and fun.
In addition to that, the innovation that EdTechs (education technology companies) brings to enrich the training sessions and blend them using different learning media & tools is an incredible opportunity for trainers to create memorable sessions, improving learner’s journey. Of course there is also no need to mention that with the digitalization of learning, the face to face sessions needs to be optimized to bring the most value to learners in a limited time, whether they are done in class or online (virtual classroom).
This leads us to the question we will discuss in this post which is: how is possible to make a face to face training session more engaging ? What are the tools that a trainer can use and how can he benefits from the learning tech that are available ?
1- Use social learning to engage your community of learners before / during and after the session
The first interesting elements we can bring is that social media and social learning tools, such as Yammer, slack and even tools like LinkedIn or whatsapp, gives you the possibility to create and share contents with your learner before, during and after the training session. This means that you can give them the opportunity to share, know themselves, assess their knowledges and even pre-learn before the face to face session that you will run. And after the session, you can continue to share feedback with them, and animate your alumni / trainees network. This actually takes time but really bring value to their learning journey.
2- Use animation tools / app to provide new gamified activities, such as live polls, serious games during the face to face
The objective of this article is not to promote all tools available on the market but now many learning tools allow to create live quizzes, survey and even games directly during the session, making it personnalized to your learners. This is a great opportunity to make the training unique and is possible for both face to face and virtual classroom without issue (for example with virtual whiteboard).
3- Use immersive technologies to make your learners live the experience
I am personally convinced that immersive learning is already the next innovation in learning and that it has a strong value to make the learner “live” and “experiment” virtually a scenario and better fix learnings in his long term memory. I have seen great use case for sales representatives for example, for which you can simulate the environment of a shop or a client and the interactions that goes with it and display it on a VR headset. This technology will probably get more mainstream as some providers will start to develop solutions that will allow trainers to develop their own contents, and it is also a new way of diversifying the learning experience.
4- Use group work to galvanize the training session
It is very clear that the time of the boring PPT training is over, and still it is good to remind that a good, well organized group activity is a way to enrich a training session, especially if it follow three points:
- Clear rules: make sure the learners knows what to do
- Clear output: make sure the learners know what to produce
- Clear feedback: make sure they get a precise feedback, factual, on which they can build their learning
Group works are also a good way for ice breaker at the beginning of the training, being virtual or face to face
5- Enrich your session with practical business case
Last but not least (and this list is not exhaustive), the best value of a face to face session is the opportunity to work on: real business cases!
This is typically where the standard off the shelves content can’t go. As a trainer, providing a personnalized business case to your learner is a way to stand out of the classical content, to make them reflect on what really matters to them, a situation they face, a challenge they have.
Surely the choice of the business case is important, but you can decide it in accordance with the company challenges to make sure it fits both the learners needs and the company evolution. And of course, if you have used a social learning tool at the beginning of the session, you can send a short survey to your learners when you prepare your session to know which business they would like to work on. Doing so, you have much more chance to get them motivated for the training session.
As a conclusion, I would say that the way to enrich a face to face session are numerous and as a trainer you can start pilot testing some of them to get feedbacks and make your trainings at the same time more efficient, engaging and memorable.