Corporate Training Trends 2020 – What’s Really Worth Your Investment?

As the end of 2019 approaches, budgets are being finalized and sales quotas are being established for the new year. Have you accounted for the cost of employee training in your 2020 budget? Some employers may be tempted to push employee training to the side of their business-centric priorities, but you may want to think again…

At Unboxed Training & Technology, our goal is to provide you with any recent corporate training trends with actionable ways to apply these new industry insights to your company or team. A diverse client base gives us a well-rounded view of the L&D space to share what we expect to see as corporate training trends in 2020.

Based on what we’re seeing with our clients, and in the L&D industry overall, we have compiled the top four future trends in training and development that you need to know for the upcoming year. But before we jump into the trends, let’s take a look at the corporate training landscape as a whole.

The Future of Corporate Learning

According to SHRM’s Skills Gap 2019 research, 75% of HR professionals say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. One of the “most effective remedies” mentioned in the report for this growing skills gap is to improve employee retention rates

Research has shown that employee training and development actually reduces employee turnover. The question is, do you believe it?

Take notes from Amazon. Earlier this year, Amazon announced a $700 million investment in employee training programsWe think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves,” said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of HR.

Every year, corporate training trends evolve–but the value of employee training never changes. Use these corporate training trends to guide your training process whether you are onboarding new hires or upskilling current employees. The future of L&D starts inside your organization, today.

 

Top 4 Learning and Development Trends in 2020

Companies like Amazon understand the necessity of employee training and development–not only for new employees–but as an ongoing investment in current employees. Whether you invest $7,000 or $700 million, effective training is always advantageous to the business. A recent study, noted by Spotio, concluded that “every dollar invested in sales training returned $29 in incremental revenues.

Now it’s time to talk about what you don’t know (but should) about workplace learning and employee development.

 

Trend #1: Actionable Coaching

Research has shown that coaching is the number one competency that distinguishes average managers from highly effective managers. Actionable coaching is more than giving advice; it provides employees with constructive feedback, sets actionable goals, and develops a more efficient workforce.

As a manager, it’s not enough to say, “You didn’t do that right. Try again.” Managers must actively engage with employees to identify strong competencies and development gaps. For example, actionable coaching can turn a sales pitch tragedy into a training opportunity by creating a plan of action:

  1. Identify what part of the sales pitch or goal an employee missed.
  2. Explain the correct behavior or action expected and resource them with specific training material.
  3. Form a plan of action moving forward to train in weak areas and fill in knowledge gaps:
    • Brush up on product or service knowledge.
    • Review the messaging strategy.
    • Practice the pitch by role-playing with a colleague or mentor.
    • Set a completion date.

Coaches, how do you currently track your coaching engagements and employee observations?

In response to the need for better coaching tools to make actionable coaching more intuitive and effective, we’ve developed an easy-to-use mobile app that walks coaches through an observation flow and captures key data points. Here’s how it works:

  • Observe behaviors by taking coaches through a guided observation flow.
  • Capture information in the moment to keep coaches focused on the person in front of them.
  • Easily track and record detailed notes.
  • Provide feedback on strengths and opportunities.
  • Assist in creating SMART goals for tangible results.
  • Save documentation time.

If you aren’t observing, you can’t coach. Start tracking performance, skill progression, and providing constructive feedback to empower employees to make actionable changes.

 

Trend #2: 360 Certification

How do you know when your new hires are ready to be customer-facing?

At what point does your onboarding process transition new employees to executing responsibilities on their own?

How do you certify that your sales reps are ready to pitch prospects?

What guardrails can you put in place to ensure the best results?

We’re long past the point of a certification exam or a series of inconsistent classes being enough to guarantee readiness, let alone success. The future of corporate learning lends itself toward a 360 degree view of certification.

360 degree certification is holistic in nature. Begin by identifying a threshold that learners must meet before they are considered “certified.” Be sure to choose inputs that train and test on knowledge, skills, and behavior.

Then, use your Learning Management System (LMS) to create a unique formula of weighted inputs to automate the employee certification process. Inputs might include some or all of the following activities:

  • In-person training event
  • Video roleplay
  • Coaching session or observation
  • Mini knowledge checks
  • Action learning projects

The list could go on, but each input is used in combination with the others to collectively “certify” your rep.

Don’t stop at a one-time certification. Employee training is an ongoing process that continues well after onboarding has completed. Track employee training and recertify reps with refresher courses at various checkpoints in their careers to ensure knowledge retention over time. Reimagine how this will transform what “customer readiness” means for new hires and veteran employees.

The goal is to have employees cross-trained in everything from hard skills to soft skills throughout their career. This full-circle method of certification gives managers and employees a 360 degree view of what they are proficient in and where they need to improve.

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The start of every new year is a chance to revisit training goals and aspirations for the coming 12 months. How do you know what’s worth your investment?

Trend #3: More Innovative Event Management

Are you using your LMS to its full potential by engaging, training, and assessing learners? Stop using your LMS as a repository for training and resources that aren’t being used anymore. An LMS that is being used effectively is an integral part of an employee’s work day.

Leverage your learning platform to pulse engaging pre-work, drive community traffic, and gamify training events with ongoing opportunities to earn points and rewards. Integrate your LMS across the organization to support business objectives and scale up your workforce.

 

Engage with Pre-Work

Pre-work should make a meeting, virtual instructor-led employee training (VILT), or webinar more valuable for both the attendees and the presenter. Take advantage of an LMS, like Spoke® LMS, to manage and engage attendees at your event. Reimagine pre-work as fun, engaging, and effective rather than just busywork:

  • Send out learning expectations and resource guides early to prepare learners.
  • Build assessments for learners to take beforehand to help gauge the audience.
  • Make pre-work visually stimulating with images, graphs, and multimedia.
  • Have some fun by using games to award points or prizes to those who complete pre-work.
  • Schedule email reminders to send out right before the session for optimal attendance.

Encourage learners to come with answers, questions, and comments so they participate in the conversation. Use engaging content that builds interest and promotes interaction among attendees.

Gamify Training Events

Games in training is one of those learning trends that will only get more influential every year. Use games and gamification at events to educate, improve the experience, fight disengagement, as well as create an environment of collaboration and healthy competition.

For example, a pharmaceutical national sales meeting is a great opportunity to implement games and gamification into an event. Use an LMS to award points or badges for various activities in order for participants to win a grand prize:

  • Attending different sessions.
  • Tweeting what they learned using an event branded hashtag.
  • Sharing photos on social media and tagging the company.
  • Networking with other attendees by exchanging business cards.
  • Collecting items from various booths.

Have games and gamification made it into your 2020 event plans?

Disengaged attendees are the bane of any event’s existence, in-person or virtual. Craft a learning culture that motivates and engages employees with the help of an LMS. Think Outside™ the box for your next corporate event!

 

Trend #4: Personalized Learning through AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no stranger to L&D or the world at this point. We talked about AI last year in our 2019 training trends blog, and it’s not going anywhere.

We interact with AI every day to make our lives easier. Google, Facebook, and Instagram all use AI-based algorithms to provide us with relevant information and ads to deliver a better user experience. Yet, in the workplace, AI is still severely underutilized.

AI At Work, a study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace, discovered only 6% of HR professionals are currently using AI at work. Although, HR leaders believe AI will positively impact both L&D (27%) and performance management (26%) over the next two years. Both HR leaders and employees agree that the biggest impact AI will have on organizations is increased productivity.

AI caters to the individual who is handling it, fitting exclusively to the needs of each user. When AI is implemented into an LMS, it creates a personalized learning environment that becomes more intelligent over time. AI can improve employees’ learning experiences in many ways, but here are a few to consider:

  • Identify knowledge gaps in training then recommend the program(s) needed to strengthen that particular area.
  • Create a personalized course path using a blended learning approach and selecting the right modality for training content.
  • Measure training effectiveness through facial recognition to track what is being practically applied on the field as mentioned in our #4 trend for 2019.

The future of AI in the L&D space is limitless. If you don’t start adopting AI technology into your corporate training now, you’ll be limiting the potential of your business and employees later. Don’t get left behind.

 

2020 Training Trends Recap

L&D is constantly evolving with new technology and research used to improve the modern learner’s experience. Let’s recap our 2020 training trends:

  • Actionable coaching for actionable results. Don’t just manage employees. Use tech tools to coach employees with a plan of action that assesses their progress and improves performance.
  • 360 degree certification. Give your sales reps a full-circle onboarding experience using multiple methods of input so they are truly customer ready.
  • Use LMS for more innovative events. Engage employees at events with value-added pre-work and use both games and gamification to encourage participation, as well as collaboration.
  • Adopt AI for personalized learning. Use smart technology to support your training efforts. Start embracing AI in 2020; 93% of employees already say they would trust orders from a robot.

Need help implementing these new corporate training trends? Let our L&D professionals help you prepare for the future of work. Schedule your free training consultation today!

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Difference Between Employee Training and Management Development

Companies are very aware of the return on their investments—and for good reason. Tracking ROI helps determine what initiatives are moving the needle and creating a profit. But before receiving a positive return on employee training and development, companies must first invest.

Employers are generally hesitant to invest in employees because they are afraid of turnover. As a result, companies tend to simply train for the job and avoid the additional cost of development.

But what if employees stayed?

 

What if investing in your employees’ potential resulted in overall company growth?

 

What if you started developing employees to become impactful leaders who will manage the company’s future?

The companies of tomorrow are taking action by embracing a culture of learning and prioritize employee development to prevent turnover. “When employees are consistently learning, they are happy,” says David Clark, senior vice president and chief learning officer at American Express.

 

Employee Training vs. Management Development

Employee training and development go hand in hand. The terms are usually tied together in corporate conversation, but they have very separate definitions. Both training and development are completely necessary to invest in, but knowing their differences is important.

Training
Development
Short term (business benefit) Long term (mutual benefit)
Job-related tasks Open-ended goals
Fulfills present needs Future-focused
Company growth Personal growth
Enhances hard skills (job-specific) Enhances soft skills

The difference between training and development has to do with the purpose and end-goal of each:

Employee training impacts a company’s immediate needs by teaching new hires how to do job-related tasks. The more technical work that can be carried out, the more bandwidth a company has to sell their services.

Employee development serves as a long term growth tool to enhance employees’ skillset, thereby creating a more valuable workforce. Well developed employees who are trained to lead will support the company culture and impact future goals.

 

Employee Training

Employee training is the process of educating and equipping new employees with technical knowledge and skills to perform job duties. Job training is a necessary component of successful onboarding to produce a high-performing workforce. But before employees can do their jobs well, they need to be empowered with the right tools of the trade.

Training is content-centric: company policies, procedures, product or service knowledge, unique value proposition, CRM software, etc. The content learned in training supports employees as they figure out the rhythm of their new jobs and workplace norms.

The modalities for training have drastically evolved with the ever-changing digital workplace. Today, eLearning is a popular and increasingly effective way to train. Modern learners are on hyperdrive and prefer to learn on-the-go, which provides them with more mobility. Companies are shifting from physical to virtual classrooms for employee training, but that’s a conversation we’ve already had…

So if employee training related to the technical aspects of a job, what is employee development?

 

Employee Development

Employee development is a deciding factor for prospective hires. A comprehensive new employee onboarding process includes career development and goal-setting because new employees expect it. 87% of millennialsreported they value and care about receiving professional development and career growth from employers.

Once a new employee joins the team, keeping them engaged (and retained) requires a whole new strategy. A healthy employee development program promotes employee retention and job satisfaction. Harvard Business Review explains that losing top talent is more costly than investing in employee development in the long run:

Dissatisfaction with some employee development efforts appears to fuel many early exits…Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching—things they also value highly.

In comparison to training, development is people-centric, focusing more on the learner than the content being learned. Development refines employees’ soft skills, encourages personal growth, plans out career goals, and more. Ongoing employee development supports company goals because it enhances team member performance.

 

Benefits of Employee Training and Development Programs

Everyone has heard of “mobile-first” at this point, but now it’s time to think “people-first.” Companies are profitable because of the people behind the screens. If employee training and development are not priorities, don’t expect the workforce to improve.

Investing in employees, professionally and personally, will ultimately benefit the bottom line. In the same way software requires updates, employees need—and want—to advance in their careers. Employers need to start thinking about the ROI of both training and management development (starting Day 1).

Remember, the leaders of tomorrow are developed today.

 

Employee Retention

Companies need to focus on programs that will retain employees and make them assets instead of liabilities. If employees are unhappy, it’s probably safe to assume customer satisfaction is not at an all-time high. 94% of employees say they would stay with a company longer if it invested in their career development.

Employee learning and development in the workplace keeps employees active and committed to their jobs. Technical skills give employees confidence in their work, while personal development serves as a catalyst for growth.

 

Higher Employee Engagement

Highly engaged employees find value in their jobs and feel valued themselves, resulting in a mutual benefit. According to Gallup, employee engagement drives company growth. Employees who are more engaged at work double their odds of success compared to those who are disengaged.

When employees succeed, the business succeeds. Different methods of training can be used to increase employee engagement. Learn more about how a learning management system like Spoke® LMS can fast-track employee engagement.

 

Well Developed Leaders

With the increase of tech-savvy hires, the soft-skills gap is becoming more noticeable:

Soft skills—which are needed to effectively communicate, problem solve, collaborate and organize—are becoming more important for success as the workplace evolves socially and technologically.SHRM

Employee development is a way to refine high-demand soft-skills to form influential leaders. Internal employee development also helps foster a consistent company culture. A healthy company culture provides motivation and camaraderie for employees.

Develop managers and leaders who will inspire, support the company culture, drive growth, and engage others in the process.

 

Employee Training, Management, and Leadership Programs

Are you ready to invest in the future of your company? The potential of your employees is waiting to be developed. At Unboxed Training & Technology, we provide award-winning industry expertise to help you train, develop, sell, and succeed. Contact us today to learn more about employee training or custom management and leadership training programs.

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Comprehensive New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Creating an employee onboarding program is no small task. Finding the right employee, to begin with, is only half the battle. Once a new hire joins the team, it’s all hands on deck. Onboarding sets the tone for new employees as they start their new careers at your company. To properly equip employees for various job functions, a comprehensive onboarding process needs to be in place prior to the hire.

The Onboarding Process

Effective onboarding is the key to long term employee retention. Those first few days and months on the job determine how engaged, educated, and confident new employees are in their new positions. Studies have shown that up to 20% of new employees quit within their first 45 days on the job. The real cost of employee turnover can be up to 150% of an annual salary, so investing in a comprehensive onboarding program is worth its weight in gold.

The onboarding process is more than administrative paperwork; it’s a personal handshake from the organization to a new hire. Onboarding is a useful tool to assimilate new employees into the organization by providing a big-picture overview, down to the small details of day-to-day expectations.

New employees need an introduction to the company culture, history, mission, values, strategic goals, while also getting role-specific training. All things considered, when new employee onboarding does its job, the result benefits both the employee experience and the organization overall.

Employee Onboarding Software

As noted in the ADP 2016 Employee Engagement Study, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees. Streamline the onboarding process to ensure your employees are well-equipped for the work ahead with a robust, employee onboarding software.

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we customize onboarding programs to mirror your company culture and increase retention by using real-life scenarios for practical application. Effective onboarding uses the right blend of eLearning, interactive workbooks, classroom training, and reinforcement to turn new hires into high performers, no matter their learning style.

Employee onboarding programs directly affect employee experience being an initial touchpoint for new hires of the organization. Is your employee onboarding software getting the job done? A word to the wise: Health check your onboarding before a new hire tries to learn their job on a subpar program…

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Does your onboarding start with the basics and keep building? Evaluate your current employee onboarding to see how it measures up. The Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist provides a comprehensive overview of 40+ topics to make sure your new employees are set up for success. We’ve listed five of the main sections below to give you a sneak peek of the content:

employee onboarding training checklist ipad

Organizational Basics

Being basic isn’t always bad. Some information will be standard across the board for all employees to learn; we call this the “Organizational Basics.” New employees usually have little to no context on the company history and need to be informed on the foundational pieces of the business (i.e., mission, vision, company structure, unique value proposition, etc.).

Are you laying a solid foundation for employees at the beginning of the onboarding process before they jump into the more technical aspects of their job?

Human Resources

Time for the company policies. Human resources (HR) help employees grow with the organization by managing expectations, offering career development opportunities, and relaying the company culture in an engaging, inclusive way. Set goals at the beginning with HR to track progress, overall performance, and future promotions.

Is your onboarding program set up to help your employees thrive within the organization?

Meet the Team

Your onboarding program should be personal and involve humans. Onboarding should encourage each employee as a vital, valued player on the company team. As a new player on the team, new hires need to know what position they are playing, what responsibilities they have, and how their role supports organizational goals.

Have you built in face-to-face time in your onboarding process for new hires to socialize cross-functionality?

Role Specific Training

You don’t know what you don’t know. Give new employees the tools and training they need to perform their jobs with excellence. Role-specific training is a mixture of on-the-job learning experience and company provided knowledge bases. Personalize onboarding training to prepare new employees for their specific position in an efficient manner to make them valuable contributors.

Are you providing new employees with everything they need to succeed in their new role?

Measure the Effectiveness of Onboarding

If you don’t measure your onboarding, how do you know it’s working? According to the SHRM 2017 Human Capital Benchmarking Report, the average employee turnover rate was 18% in 2016. When an employee’s job description and on-the-job duties are significantly different, a 2-week notice is likely ready to send in their drafts folder.

Assess employees’ experience with your onboarding process at regular intervals in the same way you would schedule an employee performance review (30, 60, 90 days, etc.). Stay proactive and continually refine your onboarding process with the insight you gain from employee feedback.

How effective is your new employee onboarding program?

Create The Best Employee Onboarding Experiences

Onboarding doesn’t stop once the employee sits at their desk and watches a few videos. New hires will only be “new” for a short period, but onboarding is an ongoing process. Some onboarding programs can take up to two years, depending on the position. The best employee onboarding keeps investing time and resources into new employees until they are productive, valuable assets to the organization.

Are you ready to health check your employee onboarding program? For each checklist item, ask yourself, “How does my current onboarding training stack up?” Then, let us know how you scored so we can help your employees reach their A-game faster!

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5 Ways to Utilize E-Learning Games in Employee Training

In the ever-changing world of technology, the race to stay up to date is an exhausting feat. Modern learners are bombarded with texts, emails, phone calls, push notifications, and all kinds of digital distractions throughout the day. Simplifying the training experience is pinnacle to both effective learning and knowledge retention. Integrating eLearning games into your training increases training interactions by 3x, improves knowledge from beginning to end by 64%, and boosts employee engagement (who doesn’t love a good competition?).

Gamification in Business

Gamification is a buzzword these days as one of the most popular learning styles for both learners and educators. Gamification is the application of game mechanics in non-gaming contexts, such as employee training, to increase engagement. Examples of game mechanics include badges, points, levels, and leaderboards. 

corporate university meister learning retention triangle data

Statistically speaking, people only retain about 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear/see. Corporate Universities author, Jeanne Meister, notes compelling evidence for incorporating gamification in business today:

“Interactive learning games can increase long-term retention rates by up to 10 times.”

5 eLearning Games

In a previous blog, we talked about some questions to consider before introducing games in training. The question isn’t if your organization should introduce games, but how. To understand how you can start utilizing eLearning games in employee training, consider the following.

1. Jeopardy!®

Documenting all of the ins and outs of company products, policies, and best practices could quickly fill a 50-page manual; thankfully, those are long gone! Use the traditional Jeopardy!® format to train employees and reinforce specific topics, relevant to various job descriptions. Assess both hard skills and soft skills with customizable categories to fit your company’s needs.

Jeopardy!® for training includes all of the same rules as the top-rated quiz show on TV with wagers, Double Jeopardy!®, Final Jeopardy!®, and “Daily Doubles.” For cybersecurity training, the categories might be “Passwords,” “Don’t Do This,” and “Crack The Code.” The possibilities are endless and employees will most likely be familiar with the game rules making adoption easy.

2. Recall

Everyone learns differently, so using a mix of training games supports a range of employee learning styles. Recall uses visual learning to test employees’ ability to memorize using videos and images. 

For instance, the game will display a picture, such as a work environment, without giving the player any hint as to what they need to remember. The player is then challenged to recall specific details about what they just saw during a series of questions testing memorization and retention.

3. Trivia

Not a good test taker? No problem. Trivia transforms the negative sentiments around assessments into an exciting, competitive game using points, timers, and leaderboards. Employees are more engaged when tests are gamified into trivia questions. 

Trivia helps learners make the right decisions, faster. Use Trivia to test product knowledge, terminology, encourage asymmetrical thinking (i.e. Think Outside™ the box) and improve retention.

4. Scenarios

Product knowledge and negotiations can be difficult to practice when there is no application for on-the-job instances. Virtual scenarios provide employees the opportunity to learn in a fail-safe setting before being in the “real world.” 

Scenarios are a great training type for customer service representatives, salespeople, and management. Gamified scenarios allow employees to step into the shoes of a virtual character and engage in different conversation paths to test soft skills. Realistic, contextual simulations also help to assess cause and effect decision making.

5. Scramble

New job, new everything. A new employee can feel like they just walked into a foreign country as they begin integrating into the workplace. Colleagues may seem to be speaking another language if new hires are not well prepared with training. Onboarding is an important process to effectively equip new hires, but it doesn’t have to be all mundane.

Scramble is a great resource for terminology and can be played in two ways: Word Scramble and Sentence Scramble. Sentences are either written with a word missing or laid out in a word bank where players are challenged to correctly reorganize them. Learners are tested on knowledge retention whether they are new or seasoned employees.

Game On

Gamified learning management systems (LMS) motivate learners to excel, progress, and achieve final outcomes with anticipation. Each game is easily tracked for robust reporting on an individual or team data. Identify knowledge gaps, improve retention, and empower employees with more effective training experiences. 

When gamification is implemented into eLearning, companies increase employee engagement by 60% and improve productivity by 50% (eLearning Learning). Who’s ready for a performance review now? At Unboxed Training & Technology, we offer a full list of customizable employee training games. Learn more about how to level up your training with eLearning games by watching our Beyond Gamification webinar!

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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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