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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    Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

    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.

    •   Interactive Training Tools (Pitch)
    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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    Introducing ReadySet: Turn-Key Training Solution from Unboxed

    With 10 years of experience creating custom employee training programs under our belt and a name like Unboxed, it’s taken us quite a while to come around to boxed content. Though we’ve always acknowledged that there is a place for boxed content in the industry (i.e. compliance training; no need to reinvent that wheel), we’ve stayed away from creating turn-key training programs ourselves—until now.

    Let us explain.

    Over the past few years, we’ve received an increasing number of requests from clients who need to train their teams fast. Sales organizations especially are desperate for a quick solution, and for good reason. 71% of sales representatives take over six months to ramp, and that means the organization is bleeding money every day, especially if their turnover rate is high. A major contributor to lengthy ramp time is the skill gap: 47% of sales representatives lack fundamental selling skills (and that’s only the fundamentals!).

    So, we asked ourselves, what if we could help? What if we could use our sales training expertise to make it easier and more cost effective for reps to learn foundational selling skills?

     

    Introducing ReadySet

     

     

    ReadySet is our answer to that question. ReadySet is affordable, high-quality, off-the-shelf e-learning that delivers action-oriented content with the same high-levels of engagement and effectiveness as custom-built training. 

    So, how is ReadySet different than other turn-key training courses? We stay true to the traditional Unboxed approach.

    1. ReadySet is modern and engaging. Each course is so design-forward that the user experience feels more like a website than a traditional eLearning module. We pushed our team to make the content as intuitive and engaging as possible.

    2. ReadySet courses are bite-sized. We believe micro-learning principles should apply to off-the-shelf training as well as custom-built. With multiple micro-learning courses that focus on one key skill per course, ReadySet keeps the active seat time short enough to support comprehension and retention.

    3. ReadySet emphasizes application and sustainment. If you’ve shopped around for off-the-shelf training programs, you know much of it consists of talking-head videos without assessment or follow-up. Effective training requires more than that; we need to help learners transfer and apply new skills to real situations. That’s why ReadySet includes a workbook full of practical on-the-job activities to sustain learning past the learning event. On top of that, learners get a baseline and final assessment to accurately measure knowledge acquisition and growth.

     

    ReadySet > Sell

     

    ReadySet-Module-Device2_transparent

    The first curriculum we’re launching under the ReadySet name is ReadySet > Sell. This action-oriented, foundational selling skills content is based on proven best practices we’ve gathered from over a decade of creating custom sales training programs for Fortune 500 companies.

    The 8-week training course includes an introductory video, interactive eLearnings, baseline and final assessments, and a participant workbook with follow-up activities. The content covers key topics like prospecting, analyzing needs, positioning, handling objections, asking for the sale, and more.

    Learn more about ReadySet > Sell

    Not convinced yet? That’s okay, we were skeptical, too.

    Set up a consultation with our team today to see a demo and learn more about how ReadySet > Sell can help you decrease ramp time and up-skill your sales team. And stay tuned for future ReadySet curriculums.

     

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    Evaluating Sales Training Programs

    The success of your company can largely depend on your choice in sales training. Consider this — ATD collected information from over 2500 firms and found companies that offer comprehensive training enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training.

    With so many training options available, how do you weed through it all? It can feel overwhelming, so treat this post as your roadmap to helping your sales team deliver. But before you zero in on new training, consider the following when evaluating sales training programs.

     

    Ease of Access

    Accessibility is key. The more accessible a sales training program is, the more involved your team will be.

    Accomplish this through a modern approach in delivery. Whether it be from their phone or tablet, if a sales rep can access training on the go, they’re more likely to complete it. A study by CLO Magazine reported 70% of employees surveyed felt more motivated to learn when they could access the training on their mobile devices, while 72% reported increased engagement with mobile learning.

    As an added bonus, try putting the sales training in the same tool your employees use to sell to their customers, so they have anytime, anywhere access on a platform they are comfortable with. At Unboxed, we put that into practice through Hub 360. It allows our sales reps to save time by having everything they need right in one place, without switching back and forth between tools or apps.

     

    Micro-learning

    Along with accessibility, look for whether the training program delivers the information in bite-size courses, otherwise known as “micro-learning.”

    The content needs to be crisp and concise to avoid information overload, which can result in a decrease in retention. We’ve found our best results when training courses are kept to 15 minutes or less.

    Reps can also use these shorter courses as quick refresher training before they walk into a pitch. Hello, just-in-time training reinforcement.

    If the training can be accessed on the go AND employees can get the specific content they need when they need it, it’s a win-win.

     

    Time to Launch

    When evaluating sales training programs, there are two primary types: off-the-shelf and custom-built.

    Many foundational sales techniques such as overcoming objections and negotiation can be taught and reinforced through off-the-shelf sales training programs. Because of this, off-the-shelf programs can get you results fast and keep costs down.

    However, if you’re willing to invest in custom sales training, you’ll get the advantage of training that’s contextual and on-brand, while tackling learning objectives relevant to your team. That relevance is amplified when the training ties the objectives to real-life scenarios. If that’s not convincing enough, a custom program typically has a shelf life three times longer than off-the-shelf sales training.

     

    Sustainment & Reinforcement

    One-and-done sales training kickoffs are a thing of the past. Sales training should be viewed as an ongoing process, with an emphasis on what will happen after. As investments in sales training continue to exceed $2 billion annually, the importance of retaining that investment cannot be overstated.
    Consider gamification when evaluating sales training programs. According to Scientific American Magazine, 80% of learners say they would be more productive learning through a game.
    Technology is also a major factor in sustained behavior change. Mobile gamification solutions help combat memory loss and increase retention as much as 24% within five days of the learner taking the course.

     

    Social Knowledge

    Your peers are your natural motivators. Depending on your relationship, you compete, learn, and thrive off one another. The ability to share knowledge with peers is critical when evaluating sales training programs.

    The 70-20-10 model corresponds to a proportional breakdown of how people learn effectively, with 70% of their knowledge coming from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal educational events.
    So, when choosing a program for your team, check for that 20% option, whether that be through a social learning platform, or the chance to practice their skills with one another in a game format.

     

    Practice & Coaching

    On a similar note, how effective will the training be if sales reps don’t have a safe place to practice what they’re learning? Manager and peer feedback is an integral part of any training, as it reinforces the learning for both the peer doing the action and the peer giving feedback.

    In sales, being comfortable with delivery is half the battle. As part of your sustainment training, try scheduling one-on-one sessions with your manager where you can practice mock sales calls, or ask them about a time when they learned a valuable lesson during a pitch. It’s up to you to take advantage of their experience, and that’s something you want your sales training program to encourage.

     

    Expertise & Results

    You’ve checked for accessibility. You appreciate the convenience of splitting the content into short bursts. You’re excited by the gamification and social engagement opportunities. And you see the value in ongoing sustainment and reinforcement. But do the training providers you’re exploring have experience, expertise, and proven results in your industry?

    Perhaps the most important factor to consider when evaluating sales training programs is looking for success stories and testimonials from companies similar to yours, specifically those who showed an increase in training completion rates, learner engagement, and of course bottom line ROI.

     

    Stop Evaluating Sales Training Programs…

    …and meet Unboxed.

    At Unboxed, we check all of those boxes. Your products, services, and sales process are unique. Your sales training should be, too. That’s why our customized sales training programs deliver short bursts of engaging content that reps can access on demand.

    So, when you’re evaluating sales training programs, consider what Unboxed can bring to your team — a conversational tone, modern design, and innovative technology. Sales training your team will actually love and want to complete. And of course, results that drive straight to the bottom line.
    We’d love to connect with you and learn more about your business to see how our sales training programs can help. Leave a comment below or reach out to say hello.

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    4 Virtual Instructor Led Training Best Practices for Max Engagement

    As technologies evolve and people become increasingly comfortable connecting virtually, companies are looking for ways to take their existing training content into the digital space. That’s where virtual instructor-led training (vILT) comes in. But what exactly is vILT, what are the benefits, what is its #1 challenge, and what virtual instructor led training best practices can you follow to maximize engagement?

    Let’s take a look.

    Around-The-World

    VILT Benefits

    The benefits to business are obvious. By moving existing training content to online or app-based platforms, your company can:

    • Connect learners globally,
    • Reduce training costs, and
    • Complement your blended learning strategy.

    Plus, unlike self-paced e-courses, instructors can still interact with learners in real time, facilitating discussions and answering participant questions.

    But let’s take a step back. What exactly does a vILT look like?

     

    Three parts of a vILT

    The three main components of a vILT are:

    1. The platform
    2. The training content
    3. The people

    Three-Components-of-vILT-best-practices

    The platform

    Two software platforms commonly used for vILT are the Cisco Webex Training Center and Adobe Connect. Both platforms create an online space where instructors and learners can interact and offer tools to increase engagement, including: virtual whiteboards, polling, “raise hand” and chat functions, and breakout rooms for smaller discussions and activities.

    The-Platform-vILT

    The content

    Then you have your course materials which consist of the audio and visual content the instructor uses to teach the course, including: videos, text, audio clips, and images. Those materials are often contained in a PowerPoint presentation as a convenient way for instructors to organize and share information.

    In addition, a facilitator’s guide outlining timing, talking points, discussion prompts, and activities can be very useful in keeping your session on track. Job aids, infographics, and other supplementary materials can be used as takeaways to reinforce learnings.

    The-Content-virtual-ILT

    The people

    You have your learners, of course, and your instructor/facilitator who is teaching the material and/or facilitating discussions and activities.

    You may also want a producer—someone who is tech savvy and has in-depth knowledge of the platform you’re using to launch tools, move participants into breakout rooms and help monitor the time.

    The-People-live-session-training

    So, what is the biggest challenge with vILTs?

    The big challenge

    The greatest challenge with vILTs is also the greatest challenge with ILTs—keeping learners engaged. But with vILTs it is especially easy for participants to hide in the back of the virtual classroom where no one can see or hear them. Plus, instructors must compete with all the distractions at learners’ fingertips like email, texting, and Internet browsing.

    Distracted-Learner-vILT

    Which leads us to…

    Virtual Instructor Led Training Best Practices

    Follow these 4 virtual instructor led training best practices to keep learners focused and engaged.

    1. Make your training part of a larger blended learning journey. One of the advantages of the vILT format is that learners can complete self-paced training and review materials before and after the live session. You don’t need to cram everything into marathon in-person sessions. Micro-learning has been proven to be 50% more engaging and makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient. Break your content into smaller bite-sized pieces and focus your vILT on interactive discussions and activities
    2. Develop a set of rules and expectations up front. This may include asking participants to close email and browsers and refrain from using their phones. Let them know ahead of time how they are expected to communicate, for example chatting in questions or using the “raise hand” function.
    3. Make sure you utilize platform tools to their greatest advantage. For example, polls can be used as a quick and easy way to keep learners engaged while gathering valuable feedback. Breakout rooms are extremely useful with large groups to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. But don’t make the mistake of using tools just because they’re there. Make sure all aspects of your training are thoughtful and intentional. That’s because.
    4. No technology can replace an enthusiastic, engaging instructor who cares. Think back to school. What were your favorite classes? Most likely they were taught by teachers who kept the content entertaining and expressed a genuine interest in their students. The same goes for virtual classes. The best instructors use storytelling and compelling audio-visual content and, when possible, establish one-on-one relationships with their learners. This can be challenging with large groups, but whether it’s a quick phone call, email, or post on an intranet message board—try to find the time to connect with participants.

    “vILTs really benefit from instructors and L&D departments who think outside the box and find ways to connect with participants outside of the live session.”

     

    A vILT can be a great, cost-effective addition to your L&D department’s offerings. Participants love the convenience and business loves its low impact to the bottom line. And by following these vILT best practices, you can overcome its greatest challenge—learner engagement—to see positive, measurable results with your training.

    To learn more about how to think strategically in this digital space and develop custom, design-forward, and engaging content, take a look at our custom vILT solutions and give us a shout! We’re happy to walk you through our process.

    Employee Training Videos: What Style Is Right For You?

    So, you’re considering video for your next training project? Excellent choice! For years, employee training videos have been gaining popularity, and for good reason. As a modality, videos are engaging, memorable, and easily digestible. In the span of a few minutes, learners can visualize new or abstract information in a concrete and meaningful way. Video drives content retention, makes learning a bit more fun, and is readily accessible later as refresher training.

    With more and more video being consumed every day, people are becoming increasingly comfortable with it as a medium. Every day they watch videos to get the news, weather, recipes, entertainment, and more. It’s a natural next step to use video as an e-learning modality. Why not use what’s great about video to make learning more engaging?

    Video Is Here to Stay

    By 2025, it’s anticipated that 75% of the workforce will be Millennials – some of the heaviest consumers of video as a medium. All those cooking and cat videos on the web? They’re the folks who love it most. In fact, Cisco projects that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. So what does that mean for you? Video is here to stay. Embrace it!

    The Challenge

    Picking the best style for your employee training videos can seem a little daunting. How do you decide between a screencast, an animation, or a live-action video? You have a lot of choices, and that’s great! Part of the beauty of video is how much you can do with it.

    And while we know it can seem a little overwhelming with all the options out there, it doesn’t have to be. Based on our experience, we recommend the following three types of employee training videos: screencasts, animations, and live action. But how do you know which of those three options to use?

    When deciding which style is right for your content, we’ve found it’s best to start by thinking about what it is you want to teach. Are you transferring knowledge, teaching a skill, or modeling a behavior? While any type of video can teach knowledge, some video styles work best for demonstrating skills and behaviors. Let’s break it down.

    Which Video Style is right for you?

    Screencast


    What is it?
    A screencast shows a learner how to effectively use a tool or system. Think of it as a digital demonstration, walking learners through a tool or system with step-by-step navigation, narration, interactive elements, and more.

    What’s it for?
    Screencasts are great for teaching both knowledge and skills. Consider a screencast for e-learnings like systems training, app tutorials, or other UI/UX or navigational instruction. It answers questions like: How do I access the reporting tool? What information can I find there?

    What’s it look like?
    Screencast can range from low to medium fidelity. Low-fidelity screencasts primarily highlight tool functionality and navigation and include text-on-screen. The high-fidelity option can incorporate professional voiceover, interactivity, and custom animations to liven things up and further demonstrate concepts or best practices.

    Animation


    What is it?
    Animations are dynamic, custom-built, and loads of fun. An animator creates art from scratch and uses your brand identity to bring everyday training topics to life. It can include everything from custom graphics, icons, and characters to dynamic text-on-screen, 3D renders, lip-syncing, and more.

    What’s it for?
    Animations have a wide range of uses. They’re great for teaching basic skills and knowledge. With animations, you’ll want to avoid covering anything too detailed that may require a lot of assets and visuals. Some of the best animations cover one quick topic and are used in conjunction with other training. It’s best to keep it simple, clean, and captivating.

    What’s it look like?
    Of the various types of employee training videos available, animations have the broadest range of fidelity options.

    A low-fidelity animation primarily uses text-on-screen, music, and a few simple visuals (like icons—think infographic style). Medium-fidelity can include kinetic text, professional voiceover, and more detailed visuals like character silhouettes. High-fidelity animation incorporates everything from lip-syncing the characters to the voiceover, 3D visuals, multiple voiceover tracks, and more.

    Live Action


    What is it?
    Depending on the content, live action video footage may be scripted or unscripted, and can be shot locally or on location. You’ll see a cast on set delivering their lines, interacting with props and each other, and a production crew working with lighting and sound.

    What’s it for?
    Live action video is a powerful tool for teaching skills and behaviors. It helps humanize behaviors and depict skills in action. Need to model how to interact with a customer? Want to showcase a best-in-class sales presentation? Live action employee training videos are a great option.

    What’s it look like?
    Live action videos tend to be medium to high fidelity and can incorporate everything from testimonials and scenarios, to simulations and more. Even low-fidelity options like video shot on a phone can be engaging, but it’s important to remember that, regardless of fidelity, it still has to be high-quality content in order to be a successful training tool.

    Hype Videos

    When you think of the word hype, you think of an excited tone and an upbeat, engaging style. Basically hype videos are a bit like mini movie trailers; they act as teasers of great things to come by getting learners excited about new ideas, initiatives, or products that are coming soon.

    Testimonials

    Testimonial videos are ideal for sharing messaging from your leadership team with your audience. Have a new corporate responsibility initiative you want to get your employees excited about? Have key members of your organization like the CEO share their point of view on why the new program is exciting and how it’ll impact the company and its employees. Testimonials can also include quotes from managers, customers, and other company figures.

    Scenario-based

    Use a scenario-based video when you want to depict a good behavior for your employees. Seeing a behavior acted out on screen serves as a powerful model and helps learners visualize what the behavior would look like in a real-life situation. Want to show them how to deal with a unsatisfied customer? Use a scenario video to showcase the right way of interacting with the consumer to resolve their issue.

    Simulations

    A simulation takes scenario-based training to the next level by putting the learner in control of the outcome. In this type of video, learners see a situation unfold and practice how they’d react given the scenario. This option is ideal for allowing a learner to practice a behavior in a controlled way. It allows them to select what they’d do next and see how that choice would play out.

    So, How do You Choose?

    In the end, it all boils down to what you want to teach and the best way to visually present that information. When it comes to employee training videos, there are a lot of options, but that just means you have even more opportunities to make something extra “sticky” and truly unique.

    We know what you’re thinking…unique sounds expensive. If your budget dictates your project plan, don’t worry! We can work with you. There are lots of options in terms of style and fidelity, so we can tailor what you need to fit your budget and goals. It is a lot to juggle, but you’re not alone. Having the right partner to walk you through the options and help you decide what’s right for you can make the process a lot more seamless and a lot less intimidating.

    If you need to liven up your training or just want to help learners visualize a difficult concept, video may be the perfect way to go. It’s a highly effective and extremely fun training tool. With so many style choices and with different fidelity options, the sky really is the limit.

    We know that’s a lot to take in. If you have any questions, we’re here for you. Give us a call or send us an email.