How to Track Employee Training

Human capital is by far the most valuable asset to most any business. Although an intangible asset, people are a critical component to a business functioning at optimum capacity. People are part of the profit equation, and to make money, you have to spend money. Employees impact customer satisfaction, sales goals, ongoing innovation, company culture, etc. But, in most cases, employees are only as good as they are trained to be. Employee training is an opportunity for businesses to increase the value of their human capital. An employee training tracker is a key component to the training equation because it helps you identify if your employee training is directly increasing employee performance.

Furthermore, investing in employee training is important for the long term growth and success of a healthy business. So you’re probably thinking, “I agree, but how do I know if what I’m investing in is paying off?” We see where you’re coming from. Implementing an employee training plan usually starts with a learning management system (LMS).

Let’s talk about how an LMS transforms and tracks employee training today…

Employee Training Tracking Software

Training employees and tracking their progress is essential to properly evaluate what’s working, what information is not being retained, and what may need to change. To put things in perspective, up to 40% of employees who don’t receive adequate job training quit within the first year. Onboarding is no cheap investment, so when a new hire is made, that employee needs to be set up for success with well-defined job training.

Spoke® LMS

 

Spoke logo

Time for practical advice: The best way to track employee training is with an LMS.  Employee training tracking software, provided by an LMS, helps you collect, deliver, and track your company’s training content. Spoke® LMS is an award-winning, social LMS for the mobile workforce utilizing gamification to engage employees in training.

 

Assessment Builder

To understand the ROI of training, it needs to be accurately tracked. Tests, quizzes, and assessments are all ways for administrators and employees to identify areas for improvement. Spoke’s Assessment Builder is a useful, employee training tracker for both learners and admins to evaluate knowledge retention. 

Easily create assessments, track progress, and note trends to refine your training over time. Additionally, employees have the ability to test out of courses they have mastered to spend more time training on topics they don’t know as well. Gain insights on how effective your training is by retrieving granular data on specific questions or administer surveys for a broader view.

spoke assessment example questions

Assessments are fully customizable and can be required before or after a training. A pre-assessment is a good way to draw a baseline for comparing employees’ results, post-training. Using a tool like Assessment Builder as an employee training tracker is a great way to start evaluating your internal training efforts. The more you measure, the more you know.

Spoke® Reports

Keep track of your team’s overall results or review individual learner data with Spoke® Reports. Robust reporting helps you identify coaching opportunities for learners who have skill gaps and empower teams that need additional training resources. Filter reports by team, region, job code, and organizational hierarchy.

Spoke LMS reporting features

Dial in on course completions, user activity, and course activities. Practical, performance evaluations have never been so easy. Measure ROI with visual, interactive reports and go beyond the basics to discover metrics like social participation and learner engagement.

To grow your business you have to know your business. Access real-time, interactive dashboards, stunning user transcripts, and optional, business intelligence reports. Spoke is completely customizable to fit your business’ branding too, so you get all the credit for employee training satisfaction (don’t worry, we won’t Unbox your secret).

 

The Kirkpatrick Model

Dig a bit deeper into tracking employee training with the Kirkpatrick Model, which identifies four levels of learning evaluation:

kirkpatrick model four levels learning

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we use the Kirkpatrick Model to evaluate the effectiveness of employee training. Tracking employee training can be an elusive topic, but the four levels of learning can be used as guidelines to evaluate employees with some help from Spoke® LMS.

Reaction: Spoke® Surveys

The first level, “Reaction,” is meant to measure the learner’s experience with the training after they have completed a course. Practically speaking, this would look like administering a survey at the end of a training to gauge the employee’s experience. Some example questions could be:

  • How did you like the training? 
  • What did you like about it?
  • Did you enjoy the learning experience?
  • How do you feel post-training?
  • Were you satisfied with the virtual instructor?

Learning: Spoke® Assessments

The second level, “Learning,” tests the employee’s new knowledge to determine the retention of what was learned. A pre-assessment and post-assessment should be administered to properly gauge the level of comprehension.

  • Pre-assessment: ask questions related to the training topic.
  • Post-assessment: ask topical or scenario-based questions directly after the training to test knowledge retention.
    • What new topics did they learn?
    • How well did they acquire this new knowledge?
    • Are they confident in their abilities to execute the job’s task.
  • Compare results.

Behavior: Practical Application

The third level, “Behavior,” is where the post-training application is played out. Interviews and scenario-based assessments are helpful tools when analyzing the effectiveness of training 3-6 months later. Tests and quizzes are not as effective at this level because behavior changes don’t play out on paper. Changes in behavior occur at different times for everyone and typically requires a personal follow up at a later date. 

Results: Key Performance Indicators

Positive results are the goal of any employee training initiative. The success of a training is seen over time by measuring company sales goals, team efficiency, individual task completion, customer satisfaction, product quality, faster turnaround times, etc. Identify specific, key performance indicators (KPI) to track, measure, and evaluate. Use those KPI’s to determine how successful the training proved to be over a particular time frame. Review the results at an appointed time or during the employee’s end-of-year evaluation.

 

Tell Me More About Spoke® LMS

Every business is unique, but so is every employee. Training should be custom fit to meet the needs of your business and the learning needs of employees. Do you have an employee training tracker to measure results? Is your training doing the job? Are you ready to start making employee training trackable and more impactful? Request a demo of Spoke® or attend an upcoming Spoke® webinar. Our Spokes-people are on standby to show you how Spoke® can help you train better teams today.

Sources: Kurt, S. “Kirkpatrick Model: Four Levels of Learning Evaluation,” in Educational Technology, October 24, 2016. Retrieved from https://educationaltechnology.net/kirkpatrick-model-four-levels-learning-evaluation/

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Humanizing the Virtual Classroom: Using Tools to Drive Real-Time Connection

Every day more companies make the switch to virtual classrooms to save time and money on things like airfare, lodging, and meals. While the shift to virtual eliminates these expenses, some worry it comes at the cost of face-to-face, real-time human connection, but it doesn’t have to.

You can have a similar level of interaction in a virtual classroom using software like Adobe Connect or WebEx Training Center, but you have to use them wisely for your training to be effective. According to ATD, 80 percent of online presenters use fewer than 25% of the interactive features available in these type of platforms. This somewhat disconcerting statistic is how virtual classrooms got the reputation of being less human. Because let’s face it, learners don’t like to be talked at, they like to be engaged.

 

Tools to Use in a Virtual Classroom

Here are the tools you can use to create a sense of human connection and boost engagement in your virtual classroom.

Foster Personal Connections with Webcams

To help boost that face-to-face connection, have the facilitator use their webcam to introduce themselves at the beginning of the session. To boost credibility, start out with who they are, an explanation of their role, and how long they’ve been with the company. Then, dive into something more fun. Have them share a joke, their greatest success, or an anecdote about the training topic.

Using the webcam functionality builds trust, drives connection, and humanizes the facilitator.

Then, take it to the next level by asking any guest presenters, or even learners, to use their webcams too. If it’s a smaller training session, you could use the webcams for the duration. If it’s a larger group, use it strategically when someone needs to share something with everyone in attendance.

 

Encourage Groupwork in Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow you to divide participants into smaller groups and give them their own private virtual space to collaborate on an assigned activity. The word private here is key. Think about an in-person session where there are multiple groups in a classroom. Each group can hear the chatter from the others and may be inclined to copy their answers rather than come up with their own.

The independent thinking that virtual group work requires boosts participation, engagement, and retention.

In a virtual classroom, the option to copy other groups disappears, pushing your learners to come up with their own unique answers. Once the activity’s time is up, just pull everyone back in the main room and have each group share what they discussed. You’ll be surprised by what each group is able to come up with.

 

Garner Participation with Polls

Polls are a great way to build human connection. Just send out a question, set a timer, and wait for the responses to start pouring in. As you close a poll, it’ll generate group-wide results you can share with your learners. From there, invite the group to discuss their reaction to the results. This open conversation helps learners forge connections with each other, but also form a sense of belonging in the larger group.

You can ask all sorts of questions with this functionality. One of our favorites is using the polls to gauge comfort level with some of the training topics. Use the poll to check comprehension of a topic you just taught or start the session by sending out a poll to gauge how much learners know about a topic upfront. That way you know what content to review and what you can skim over if everyone’s already got it down.

 

Gauge Emotion with Emojis

We use emojis on our phones every day to show people how we feel. Maybe we’re sending the cry-laughing face in response to a joke or a heart to someone we love. The same principle applies here, but it has powerful learning implications.

At the beginning of a session, give a few emojis a designated purpose. For example, in WebEx you can use the green check and the red “X” for a variety of purposes. It could be how they respond when you pose a True/False question (check for “true”, “x” for “false”), based on comprehension (check means they understand, “x” means they don’t), and so much more. Emojis provide powerful, yet fun, visual cues for how people are feeling.

 

Facilitate Conversation Through Chat

Use the chat functionality to send a message to individuals, all participants, or just the session leader. Again, this comes in handy when someone has a question or needs help, but learners can also use it to submit responses.

Say you want your sales leaders in attendance to share the greatest opportunity for their respective sales teams – why not ask them to send in their responses via chat? If a response comes in and you want to hear more about it, just call on that learner, unmute their line, and ask them to tell you more. By engaging with the responses you see, you’re bridging the gap and forming a human connection by acknowledging someone’s point of view.

When you’re building out instruction for a virtual classroom, keep all of these tools in mind and do your best to use as many of these interactions as possible. Whether it’s chat, webcams, polls, or emojis, these little touch points go a long way to making your virtual classroom feel more authentic, and most importantly, more human.

 

Need help?

If you need a hand with the writing or strategy piece of your virtual training, reach out to us. We geek out over this sort of stuff and would love to partner with you.

 

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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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    LMS vs. LXP: How and Why They’re Different

    Learning and Development (L&D) is an industry that loves acronyms – for learning platforms alone we’ve got LMS, LXP, IOL, SEP….the list, like the Energizer Bunny, goes on and on. For a lot of folks, the distinction between them is a bit hazy, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Experience Platform (LXP or LEP), the difference is simple – it boils down to who controls the content and the learning journey.

    Let’s break down the key differences and why they matter.

     

    The Basics: Defining Key Terms

    Learning Management System (LMS) is a common industry term. It’s what most people think of when they think of a training platform. The traditional approach, an LMS is the software where you house, deliver, and track your training content.

    Learning Experience Platform (LXP or LEP) is a newer term by comparison. It’s a platform where content is both curated and aggregated for personalized learner experience.

    Everything you need, nothing you don't

    The Spoke® learning platform provides a seamless experience between formal and informal learning. The results are 5.5x increase in training completion rates and 4x more user engagement.

    Who Controls the Content

    In an LMS, the LMS administrator controls the content.  That could be someone in HR, someone on the leadership team, or a trainer. This individual uploads courses into the LMS and makes them available to learners.

    This person is typically also in charge of approving any user-generated posts that would appear within the system. If a learner asks a question, the admin must approve it before it appears for the general population. Think of this admin as the dam. They control the volume and flow of the content and hold back anything that isn’t essential. In an LMS, the admin has complete power over the content.

    Meanwhile, in an LXP, everyone helps curate the content. That means someone in HR may post something, but so could your field sales rep or front-desk team member. That’s because LXPs are built to be content aggregators; basically, the platform is a catchall for any content your team decides is valuable.

    With LXPs, the content is less curated than an LMS. It’s more like an open frontier.

    Since anyone in the system can add content, LXPs typically contain internal training, external resources, and loads of user-generated content. In that way, LXPs house much more diverse content and can foster more interaction between learners. For example, one learner may leave a comment on a training they found helpful or post a link to a URL that taught them something new. When another learner logs in, they see the comment or URL and are more willing to engage with it – that’s because it came from their peer in the same role, so it’s validated by someone else who does the same job and has the same needs.

    Considering that roughly 70-90% of learning happens informally (peer-to-peer or on-the-job), it’s no real surprise that the social engagement that comes so naturally in an LXP is helping this type of platform gain traction.

     

    Who Controls the Journey

    As you can probably imagine, the content and the journey are closely related. In an LMS, just like the content, the learning journey is created by someone else – everything the learner experiences is carefully curated by someone else (the admin).

    That means that, in an LMS, learners follow what is essentially a map of exactly what they’re expected to take and when. For example, in Q1 they have to take security training and in Q2 harassment training. Their path is laid out before them and they just need to complete each gated milestone to get to the finish line. The upside here is that learners know exactly what their next steps are and when they need to complete them. In terms of compliance, it’s easy to see if a learner has or has not completed the required training – that way if anyone isn’t compliant, it’s easy for you to see and address.

    By contrast, the LXP lacks that clear delineation and focuses instead on the learning process itself – that’s because, in an LXP, discovering yourself, your skills, and your passions is what the journey is all about. LXPs allow for greater freedom for the learner to pursue their areas of interest. In this way, LXPs are much more focused on personalization (a growing trend in the industry).

    For example, LXPs enable learners to navigate through all of the content that’s available and pick what they want to learn about. This self-directed learning is what personalization is all about! The benefit of this personalization is that learners will be more engaged with the content because it’s things they actually WANT to learn, not just things they have to.

    Basically, LMSs are better suited for mandatory training, like compliance, because learners must complete specific, predetermined steps to be successful. In an LXP, the learner steers the ship and instead focuses on seeking out their own personal interests and professional development. That’s why LXPs are considered more experience-driven, whereas LMSs are more about compliance and checking those mandatory boxes.

    In a nutshell, the LMS puts the power in the hands of the administrator while the LXP gives it to the learner.

    So why’s it matter? Truth is, in today’s market, learners are used to having a wealth of information at their fingertips. In their personal lives, they seek out podcasts that align with their interests, influencers who share their hobbies, and news that gets to the heart of what they care about. While compliance training will never go away, the rise of personalized content is impossible to ignore.

     

    So how do you decide what’s right for you?

    Since learning platforms aren’t one-size-fits-all, it’s important for your individual organization to let your needs steer the type of learning platform you pursue. In general, most companies have to have mandatory trainings (i.e. compliance), but also want learners to have self-directed access to materials that align with their learners’ professional curiosity and development – if this sounds like you, you’ll want to consider having both platforms available to your learners.

    If you’re still stuck trying to figure out what you need, contact us or attend one of our weekly webinars to see Spoke LMS in action.

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    The Rise of Training Podcasts in a Blended Learning Program

    Blended learning is not just a trend— technology is being integrated into learning in all sorts of innovative ways, and that includes training podcasts.

    Podcasts – digital audio series that users can download or stream – are great at distilling complex topics into digestible pieces, because their informal nature relaxes listeners. People can tune in during their commute, lunch break, or even over the weekend.

    Podcasts have proven to be a wildly successful medium to interview creative experts, listen to fictional stories, learn new skills, and more. Training podcasts can be leveraged as part of a larger blended learning program to increase retention and reflection.

    Let’s take a look at a few ways to incorporate them.

    1. Leadership Training/Soft Skills
    Training podcasts are a great way to build leadership skills and emotional intelligence because they push learners to personal reflection more than most training modalities. For instance, leaders can discuss strategies they’ve used to develop skills by giving examples of areas where those skills play a key role. Once the podcast is over, an eLearning course can prompt learns to reflect on the discussions they’ve heard and continue to grow their personal leadership toolkit.

    2. Sustainment
    Podcasts can also be an excellent resource for sustainment training. After completing a training program, learners’ workbooks can include prompts at 30, 60, and 90 days (or different lengths of time), so they can deep dive on key aspects of the training. At each checkpoint, learners can listen to a podcast, answer prompts to reflect on what they’ve heard, and then have a 1:1 meeting with their manager to discuss what they learned. Training podcasts are a great way to bring back key topics and dig deeper into them, so learners are reminded to incorporate key themes into everyday work.

    3. Increase engagement and understanding
    When added as part of a blended pre-learning program before a live instructor-led course, podcasts help get early buy-in from participants. Before a course starts, learners gain insight into the topic at hand, and then apply it once the course begins. When facilitators and company leaders get involved within the podcast, as interviewers or interviewees, it can add weight to key topics and get learners to focus even more.

    Podcasts are a popular creative tool, and it’s exciting to see their applications in learning and development, since they deliver such a dynamic experience. As trends change and companies innovate, you’ll see that the organizations that embrace new tools and methods of storytelling will start to implement training podcasts as a way to make learning more creative and objective.

    Need help navigating these new trends? Let us help. Schedule a free training consultation with one of our training content experts to learn how!

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