Training Delivery Methods: Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

Content is a huge focus in the training world, though it’s really only one part of the learning equation. The magic happens, though, when strong content is shared through the most effective training delivery methods, enabling the message to be absorbed, retained, and implemented by learners.

Whether your aim is to impart knowledge, sharpen skills, or adjust behaviors, there are a lot of different methods of training delivery to choose from. But there’s no silver bullet. In fact, data continues to prove a blended approach, incorporating more than one modality to deliver your content, increases retention by up to 60%.

So, how do you determine the most effective training delivery methods for your needs? Start by considering the options available and how they align with your goals, audience, and content.

Below is a list of our recommendations.

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Training Delivery Methods for Building Knowledge

When we speak about training for knowledge, we’re referring to helping learners understand the what and the why of a concept. To tackle these topics, the training delivery methods we recommend hinge greatly on well-organized information and storytelling. These include:

  • Podcasts
    Borrowing from the popular media format, Podcasts are an excellent way to educate team members, allowing them to absorb information at their own pace in a familiar style.
  • Infographics
    Visual tools help to reinforce concepts, and the Infographic remains a popular delivery method as it clearly outlines vital data and information in a memorable and engaging way.
  • Animations
    Another popular visual option, Animations are a great way to educate learners. By imparting critical information in an entertaining way, you can increase both retention and engagement.
  • Group Discussions
    Part team-building, part training, Guided Group Discussions are a great way to build relationships among team members while educating them on key concepts.
  • Boost
    These interactive modules from Unboxed’s Training Technology team organize key concepts in an interactive, data-based tool, making it effective for knowledge acquisition and knowledge sustainment (refresher training).

Training Delivery Methods for Improving Knowledge & Skills

Building on those, there are several modalities that bridge both knowledge and skills, helping learners to understand the how behind the what and the why. This category of modalities includes:

  • Instructor-Led Trainings (in-person or virtual)
    Instructor Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) allows you to build upon learned knowledge by giving learners a chance to put knowledge and skills into practice through classroom activities.The bonus of vILT is it allows you to reach learners near and far with training that’s as equally engaging, interactive, and effective as in-person training — without the pricey travel costs.
  • Interactive Learning Guides
    Self-paced and fully interactive, our Interactive Learning Guides (ILG) keep learners engaged at every step. With a modern, web-like interface, video, animation, gamification, and interactive exercises, ILGs create an engaging experience for learners, making them effective for both knowledge and skills training.
  • Videos
    Taking cues from what many learners engage in on their own time, training videos are an incredibly popular choice to help learners improve their skills in addition to reinforcing their knowledge.

Training Delivery Methods for Sharpening Skills & Behaviors

Moving further into training for skills, the delivery methods below allow you to focus more deeply on the tactical responsibilities of your team. These modalities also lend themselves to training for behaviors, educating learners on the action taken, and include:

  • Group Participation, Hands-On Activities, Role Plays, On-the-Floor Training, Mentor Shadowing
    Each of these training delivery methods differs in their approach but share the same goal: to allow team members to improve their skills in settings and situations where they actually use them.

Training Delivery Methods for Shaping Behaviors

Behavior-specific training goes one step further, allowing you to work with team members to help them make changes in their interactions, approaches, and performance with direct feedback. There are two modalities that are ideal for this type of training, these are:

  • Huddles
    Combining the benefits of group participation, hands-on activities, and role play along with direct coaching, Huddles are an excellent training method to help shape and improve behaviors.
  • Video Simulations
    Offering the same advantages of a Huddle, Video Simulations allow geographically dispersed teams the opportunity to observe team member behavior and coach them to be more effective in their approach.

Need Help?

We recognize there are a lot of options out there, but choosing a training method doesn’t need to be a chore. We can help you analyze and understand both your goals and content to select the best option for your needs. Reach out to schedule some time with our Training Content Strategists to learn more.

Want to know more about choosing a training method? Download our free guide!

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Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

There’s no way around it: choosing a learning management system, whether it’s your first LMS or you’re making the switch, is tricky. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of unhelpful information out there claiming to be your complete guide to selecting an LMS. Here’s the truth: a one-size-fits-all LMS requirements checklist doesn’t exist, because no one knows the unique needs of your business except for you.

With that in mind, the Unboxed team sat down and thought: why not empower training leaders to explore their training needs and create an LMS requirements checklist that meets those needs?

 

Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

 

So, instead of producing another half-baked LMS checklist, we decided to create a powerful tool you can actually use:

A step-by-step LMS buyers guide that teaches you how to identify your unique LMS requirements and establish a simple process for choosing your first LMS or switching your current LMS.

If you’re looking for a proven method to determine your company’s training needs—and a step-by-step guide to get you through LMS implementation—then download Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide.

 

Want to know more about what’s included in the guide? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for an in-depth preview of what’s inside.

 

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR A GREAT LMS & GREAT TRAINING

A learning management system is simply software that delivers training content, hosts resources (like PDFs, digital learning guides, and links to online content), and tracks each user’s progress over time.

It’s worth noting that while most companies use their LMS to deliver onboarding, sales and compliance training, recent data on talent acquisition and development has prompted a deeper desire to think more about the effectiveness of that training content, and how and when it is delivered.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • The 5 classifications of LMSs everyone should know
  • What Millennials are really looking for in the workplace
  • Recent data on how to retain and nurture high performing employees
  • How to boost your company’s revenue with a great LMS and custom training

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR NEW LMS THE RIGHT WAY

RULE #1: DON’T START WITH FEATURES

Crawling and walking, horses and carts. It’s always the same mistake: we want to skip to the end instead of beginning at the, well, beginning. Before you can start creating a list of LMS requirements, you have to understand your users, the content they want to engage with, and how, when, and why they want to engage with it.

Jumping right to the end and picking LMS features isn’t like spoiling the ending of your favorite novel. It’s more like wasting your department’s budget by implementing a training system that your colleagues will never use. It’s a sure-fire way to instantly kill any organic desire for a culture of learning at your company.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • How to assemble a diverse stakeholder team
  • How to identify user roles to understand your company’s diverse needs
  • How to write user stories that map out your company’s training goals
  • How to separate LMS must-haves from nice-to-haves

CHOOSING A NEW LMS OR MAKING THE SWITCH

If you’re new to learning management systems, there is one thing you must focus on before anything else: quality training content. Even the best LMS isn’t worth a penny without great content, so work at adopting a smart, company-wide training content strategy first, and don’t get bogged down by starting with LMS features.

If you’re switching to a new LMS, you most likely have a training content strategy already in place. But, you still need to build a list of clearly-articulated pain points about what’s missing in your current LMS and what you need in your new one. Then, you need to work with your LMS provider to build an implementation plan that address your specific data migration needs.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • Some notes on the importance of great training content and a training strategy
  • A few quick insights on data migration and your pain points

VETTING YOUR LMS PARTNER: WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ASKING

It should be simple, so what makes choosing the right LMS so complicated?

Not only do you have to show your stakeholder team the business case for LMS adoption, you also have to marry great training content with the right list of LMS features that are best for your company.

And on top of that, if you’re not asking your future LMS provider the right questions up front, it’s hard to know whether you’re simply getting a vendor (who just wants to land your account) or a true business partner (who is deeply invested in your success).

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • 5 questions to ask every LMS provider

THE LMS Requirements CHECKLIST

Throughout the process of choosing a new LMS, we know you’ll want to stay organized. So, we’ve also included a simple checklist that keeps everything in one place and helps you track your progress.

It’s basically your cheat-sheet. And, we’re here to help in any way we can.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • A two-page checklist you can use throughout your LMS implementation process, from building your stakeholder team to hyping your launch

SPOKE® AND UNBOXED TRAINING: YOUR PERFECT PAIR

C’mon; we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t at least take one opportunity to tell you about our world-class LMS, Spoke®, and Unboxed Training, our custom training design team.

After you’ve downloaded the LMS requirements checklist, make sure to visit our Spoke page to check it out for yourself. While you’re there, you can also sign up for a personalized demo.

Training Video Production, Humanized

Training Video Production Humanized - the Director of Photography on set

As a kid I wanted to be Alfred Hitchcock. As a graduate student I won a screenwriting award. Today, as the Director of Content Strategy at Unboxed, I’ve had the honor of being part of a team that’s produced hundreds of microlearning videos for our clients.

You’ll often hear me say, “Use as much video as possible!” However, over the years I’ve observed how corporate training video production intimidates most people in the market for it. They have justifiable concerns about production costs, timelines, actors, branding, and quality.

In an effort to make the production process a little more human-friendly, we created the Training Video Production, Humanized guide. The guide covers enough video terminology to make you dangerous, plus what you can expect during pre-production, production, and post-production.

 

Video Works

Before you read any further, you need to know why training videos work—and why it’s such a worthwhile investment of your time and money. Here are a few helpful stats:

  • At least 65% of people learn by seeing.
  • As we discuss in the article Employee Training Videos—What Style is Right for YouCisco projects 82% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021; An estimated 75% of the workforce will be Millennials by 2025and Millennials are some of the heaviest consumers of video as a medium.
  • Entering the workforce on the heels of Millennials is Gen Z, and 70% of Gen Zers watch more than two hours of YouTube each day.
  • Video-based training programs can deliver impressive results—like 70% completion rates for training considered optional. (I mean, who takes optional training?! People who like videos, that’s who.)

 

Training Video Production: Things to Know Up Front

So, let’s go ahead and assume we’re creating microlearning training videos, not feature-length films. This has positive implications when it comes to your training video production costs. For training to be considered microlearning, it should be 5 minutes or fewer (we usually target 2-3 minutes) and focus on a single topic. Your microlearning video could be live action, animation, or a combination of both.

To feel comfortable throughout the training video production process, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a little bit of terminology. Let’s start with the people you’ll meet.

People You’ll Meet

In most cases, the higher the fidelity and complexity of the video, the more team members are involved. Higher-fidelity training videos often involve sophisticated lighting setups, professional actors, additional sound and camera equipment, and extra crew. In our frequent participation in the 48 Hour Film Project, we’ve seen how the absence of the right equipment—particularly lighting and sound—can significantly reduce the impact of your content. Sometimes an iPhone just won’t cut it.

The Training Video Production, Humanized guide outlines the roles involved in a typical Unboxed training video shoot. Some of our corporate training video productions require more hands on deck, while some require less.

Here’s a sample of the people you’ll meet. Download the guide to meet the whole team.

Training Video Production Humanized - People you'll meet on set

 

What to Expect During Pre-Production

We can break training video production down into three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. In a nutshell, pre-production includes all of the up-front scripting, storyboarding, casting, and planning. Your Content Strategist and Producer will handle most of the heavy lifting during this phase, and they’ll be asking for your feedback and approval along the way.

 

Pre-Production FAQs

Will we get to see what the actors look like to make sure they reflect the diversity and tone of our organization? Yes! We’ll work closely with you to understand the right demographics and find talented actors that represent your company well.

What if I can’t afford professional actors? In our experience, professional actors deliver the best result and keep your content evergreen. However, if you’d prefer to use your own employees, we can share some best practices with you to set them up for success.

Will we get to recommend locations? Absolutely! In addition to that, we’ll also let you know if we can achieve the right look near our Richmond headquarters. If our crew doesn’t travel far, we can save you money.

Who should plan to be there on shoot day? We’d love to invite at least one subject-matter-expert (SME) on set with us. This person can be a great resource on shoot day and help ensure scenes are true-to-life.

 

What to Expect During Production

If you’ve never been on set during a training video production, you’re in for a treat. It’s exciting to see all of the scripting, casting, and planning come together. It’s also busy—the Unboxed team is efficient and works hard to capture a lot of footage in a day. Wear comfortable shoes!

You’ll enjoy watching our Directors in action as they coach talent and keep things moving from one scene to the next. They’ll check in with you often and make sure you’re satisfied with what’s being captured.

Production FAQs

What should I wear to the shoot? We recommend wearing something casual or business casual. You want to make sure you’re comfortable. Pay special attention to footwear! Flats typically work best.

What is my role on set? We love having clients on set because you can make sure each scene is a realistic portrayal of your organization. You’ll have the opportunity to consult with our directors to make sure they’re giving the talent the right direction according to your brand and subject matter expertise. Keep us honest and confirm we’re doing a great job.

Training Video Production Humanized - On set

Other Terms You’ll Hear

MOS. Lower thirds. Slate. Camera speed.

There are plenty of other video production terms where these came from. While you’re on set, the Unboxed team will be more than happy to go over any questions you have about what something means or why we’re capturing footage a certain way.

 

 

What to Expect During Post-Production

In the post-production phase, we create your final training video. Our Director of Photography sits in a dark room for three straight days, wearing headphones and moving pixels around. He only breaks for lunch.

Just kidding. Post-production can actually be very collaborative, as our Content Strategist, DP, and Producer work together to agree on the best shots, make smart editing decisions, and keep the project on budget. By the time you see the first cut, it’s already been through at least one round of internal review.

Post-Production FAQs

What’s my role during post-production review? We’ll send you the first cut of the video and ask for your feedback or approval. At this stage in the production process, we can still edit music, transitions, and text on screen, and if necessary, we can also look into alternate takes and shots.

How many rounds of review do I get? Your training video production budget includes one first cut review. Once we get your feedback on the first cut, our editor makes any changes you requested and delivers your final, polished video.

I have late feedback from an important stakeholder. What should I do? Talk to us! It happens, and our goal is to deliver training you’re happy with. Help us understand the request, and let us come back with a recommendation in case it impacts scope and timeline.


Training Video Production Humanized - Reviewing the final footage

 

 

Lights, Camera, Action!

When it comes to corporate training video production, gone are the days of talking heads. With so many training video styles available, video is one of the best ways to engage your learners. Sure, production planning takes work, but it’s exciting and fun, and in the end you’ll have training you’re proud to show off. With the right team in place, shooting video doesn’t need to be intimidating—or a hassle.

And now that you know what to expect during the corporate training video production process, find the right partner who can help you decide which type of video treatment is right for you, estimate costs, and deliver better results. We’d love to tell you more about our custom training solutions.

The Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist

There’s a big difference between onboarding and orientation. Yes, they both start with an “O” and are crucial to new hires, but they’re different.

Orientation is a company-centric checklist completed in your new hire’s first week. Onboarding is a job-specific process that creates a confident, engaged and valuable contributor over many months.

So, the question is, does your current onboarding program go beyond the basics of orientation and cover everything your new hires need to get up to speed and productive quickly? To find out, download the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist. For each checklist item ask yourself, “Is my current onboarding training great, does it need work, or is it non-existent?”

Employee Onboarding Checklist: The Essential Topics for new hire and onboarding training

Topics Included

In the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist, we cover everything from organizational basics (i.e. company history, vision, and goals) and meeting your new team (because face-to-face time is so critical) to one-to-one checkpoints (yes, that includes mentors and managers) and measuring the effectiveness of your onboarding program.

With 40+ topics, this checklist will inspire you to look at onboarding in a whole new light. Gone are the days of sink or swim for your new hires. Hello, awesome onboarding.

So, What’s Next

After reviewing the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist and understanding how your current program measures up, you have a few options:

  1. Check out our list of onboarding best practices to help you create or improve your new-hire training on your own,
  2. Learn how we can help your employees reach their A-game faster with a custom onboarding program built just for you, or
  3. Do nothing (warning: not recommended unless your existing onboarding training is already awesome).

Download the Checklist

Remember, orientation isn’t onboarding. Download the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist to learn what goes into a great onboarding program. Then reach out and let us know how we can help.

50+ Sales Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

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No matter what sales methodology you use—The Sandler Selling System, The Challenger Sale, SNAP Selling, Conceptual Selling, CustomerCentric Selling, or another—there are critical sales training topics your program should include. If you’re the person responsible for sales training, and you’ve wondered how you can make your team more effective, don’t be afraid to give your current program a quick checkup.

 According to Frank Cespedes and Daniel Weinfurter of the Harvard Business Review, “More than 50% of US college graduates, regardless of their majors, are likely to work in sales at some point. But of the over 4,000 colleges in this country, less than 100 have sales programs or even sales courses, and of the more than 170,000 students who earn MBAs annually, only a tiny fraction learn anything about sales.”

That means what we think it means: organizations can’t take sales skills for granted as they onboard new sales professionals. Effective onboarding and on-the-job training are must-haves. It also means even the strongest sales methodology program may still have gaps.

Our Essential Sales Training Topics Checklist will help you identify areas of strength and opportunity so you can ultimately build or supplement an amazing sales training program.

 

Sales Training Topics

Chuck Cohn neatly outlines differences between B2B and B2C sales in his Forbes post. B2B sales pursuits involve a longer decision process, more stakeholders, lengthier relationships, a smaller lead pool, and a different type of product knowledge than B2C pursuits.

These differences necessitate training tailored to each type of sales pursuit, so we’ve compiled a B2B and a B2C checklist. Use the appropriate checklist to help you answer the question: Where do my sales professionals need to build their skills?

Download the checklist that’s right for you:

sales training topics - essential checklist of 50+ topics

MODALITY MATTERS

It can be difficult to take a sales team out of the field for days or weeks of facilitated training. With this in mind, sales training program managers should consider re-packaging content into modalities that work well for busy, on-the-go sales professionals.

Geoffrey James explains in his Selling Power post Blended Sales Training:

“While most sales managers realize there’s an ever-growing need for better skills and product knowledge among the sales team, few firms can afford to send sales reps to several weeks of classroom training, even once, let alone every year. Fortunately, it’s now possible to combine classroom instruction, online learning, and Web conferencing to simultaneously reduce training costs and increase retention. This can result in sales training programs that are far more effective than ever before.”

The Association for Talent Development’s 2016 State of Sales Training report shares the following recommendations (and we wholeheartedly agree):

  • Content should be short and easily accessible.
  • Training should be tailored to the individual salesperson.
  • Learning should be engaging.

A blended approach that pairs synchronous learning (real-time activities like classroom practice and videoconferencing) and asynchronous learning (self-paced activities with individualized reflection and collaboration time) may fit the bill. A well-designed blended sales training program incorporates the benefits of classroom training and self-paced training, and streamlines content with the sales team’s workflow as much as possible.

 

ESPECIALLY FOR SALES MANAGERS

Training for sales leadership matters too. The ATD’s 2016 report mentioned above shares 50% of respondents believe the top barrier to effective sales training is salespeople are not being held accountable to applying skills learned in training. Sales managers have a critical role when it comes to setting expectations with their teams and providing supportive coaching.

With that in mind, our Sales Training Topics Checklist includes a brief section for sales managers. For a more thorough overview of leadership training topics, download our Leadership Training Topics Checklist.

 

Next Steps

One way to update your current sales training program is to incorporate microlearning. Microlearning is the practice of delivering training in smaller, bite-sized chunks that learners can digest and even re-watch quickly and easily. James states:

“Blended sales training relies upon an important aspect of human memory—the power of repetition…Blended sales training takes this concept to the next level. In this case, classroom instruction, interactive online learning, and Web conferencing are all called into service in order to present the material from a variety of different angles. Because the message is repeated in several different ways, retention goes up and sales reps are far more likely to integrate what’s being taught and incorporate it into their day-to-day behavior.”

If courses are easy to access and high-quality, microlearning for sales training offers proven benefits and can complement older, otherwise effective program content.

Whether you support B2B or B2C sales teams, use the checklist that’s right for you and make sure you’re on the road to world-class sales training.

What is Guided Selling? (White Paper)

what is guided selling
According to Gartner, 89% of businesses plan to compete on the basis of customer experience by 2016. If you find yourself in that 89%, what is your plan to improve your customer experience and use it as a differentiator? Guided selling can help.

So, what is guided selling? This post is an excerpt from our white paper, Deliver a Better Customer Experience with Guided Selling. Download the full white paper to learn more.

 

The Problem With Sales

It’s no secret, sales reps are missing the mark. Whether it’s a lack of training, poor engagement, or high turnover, they don’t always know how to deliver the best customer experience.

Sales reps are missing the mark and guided selling can help

In short, reps are failing to meet buyers’ needs. And without trust, sales don’t happen. People don’t buy from reps pushing product to meet a quota. People buy from trusted advisors who listen to their needs, educate them on their options, and help them make the best decision for them, not just your bottom line.

To earn trust and inspire confidence, your sales team needs to be able to deliver a high-quality customer experience and recommend needs-based solutions every time. Typical sales enablement tools like CRMs, content management systems, and marketing automation won’t close that gap for you. Those tools are primarily rep-focused, not customer-focused.

What Is Guided Selling?

So what is guided selling, and how can it help? Guided selling uses consistent, personalized needs-based assessments to right-fit your customers with the best product or service for them. It’s the art of asking smart questions and using customer responses to drive the best product or solution recommendation. Customer experience for the win!

With guided selling, reps can:

  • Deliver a high quality, personalized, consistent sales experience every time.
  • Guide customers to the best solution for their needs.
  • Generate the trust and confidence your customers need to make a purchase.

Guided selling builds trust by delivering an experience customers want.

Customers want consistency, knowledgeable sales reps, seamless, up-to-date information, personalization, control. Learn more about each of these in the full white paper.

 

Guided Selling Gets Results

The big question is, does guided selling get results? Both B2B and B2C enterprise sales teams using our guided selling tools have experienced results like these:

  • 14-60% improvement in YOY sales.
  • 40% increase in sales rep productivity.
  • 9% increase in return visits from customers.

In addition to great sales results, both your reps and your customers will enjoy these benefits:

  • Reps are more confident when engaging with customers.
  • Reps get up to speed faster and start selling sooner.
  • Customer satisfaction and engagement increase.
  • Customers make more confident purchase decisions.

Guided Selling Technology

Needs-based selling is not new, but the technology that simplifies it is. Our guided selling technology, Unboxed Advisor, pairs a smart recommendation engine with interactive education in a simple-to-use interface. Advisor’s powerful reporting engine captures everything from customer interactions and gives you access to data your CRM and other sales tools simply don’t have.
In the end, it’s all about helping your reps create a better customer experience.

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward toward the technology—not the other way around.” – Steve Jobs

Download the White Paper

Still looking for an answer to the question, “What is guided selling?” Download the full white paper, Deliver a Better Customer Experience with Guided Selling, and see how adding guided selling to your sales enablement toolkit can help your reps deliver an experience your customers want and your competition will try to mimic.

 

DOWNLOAD THE WHITE PAPER