Microlearning and Microtraining Techniques for Success

Microlearning and Microtraining Techniques for Success

Do you need to train your team fast? As in, “my people needed to be client-facing yesterday,” fast? Then microlearning is here to save the day! Learn about microlearning and microtraining techniques for success to take your employee training to the next level.

 

Microlearning Meaning

Microlearning, or “microtraining,” is the process of breaking down employee training into small, bite-sized pieces. The goal is to use short courses that are easy for employees to quickly learn and apply. And when I say short, I don’t mean 30 minutes—I mean 5 minutes or less. No more than one objective is focused on per training course.

In general, corporate training exists to equip employees with practical skills to complete job-related tasks and proactively train them for the future. Microlearning provides employees with applicable knowledge and skills based on their immediate needs. Think of these 5-minute videos as chunks of “micro knowledge.”

If a sales rep is constantly on the move, they may not think to carve out a whole hour, or even half an hour, for training. Using bite sized modules, training sessions are no longer time consuming, but concise.

Let’s talk about why you need to incorporate microtraining into your blended learning program today.

 

Why Microlearning?

Microlearning breaks down complex topics into specific, actionable objectives. We’ve discussed before how, in an age of distraction, the attention span of most people is less than a goldfish. Tragic that we’re losing to a glass-bowl-bound fish, but I digress. We can’t create more time, but we can use the time we do have more efficiently.

If you want to read about some microlearning examples in action, read about our partnership with NextWorth. We helped them develop bite sized training videos and accomplish a double-digit increase in used, electronic trade-in accuracy.

In a previous blog, we listed some of the primary benefits of e learning. Now, it’s time to dive into why microtraining is such an impactful tool by exploring the benefits of microlearning.

Benefits of Microlearning

 

1. Mobile Access

With the digital age comes a wealth of opportunity and modes of communication. Microtraining uses a variety of modalities to communicate new material to employees on different devices. The mobility makes microlearning exceptionally effective. Employees are empowered to access training wherever they are, whenever they can—before a meeting, waiting for the bus, or in between phone calls. Training has never been so accessible and agile.

2. Limited Distractions

Technology is a catch 22—mobility is no doubt a significant strength, but it can also be a major weakness. Smartphones are one of the biggest productivity killers in the workplace according to a study by Careerbuilder. But, we have good news! Since microtraining only takes minutes to complete, there is less time for distraction. Think of all of the notifications you typically receive in 30-minutes vs 5-minutes. Laser-focused microlearning courses keep employees both concentrated and engaged.

3. Higher Engagement

Did you know that 65% of people learn best by watching? Even marketing experts use micro-videos in digital advertisements because they are more engaging. The same reasoning applies to employee training. Guo, Kim, & Rubin’s research shows that shorter videos are statistically more engaging than longer ones. They recommend segmenting longer learning videos into shorter chunks (less than 6 minutes). In fact, the shortest videos (0-3 minutes) resulted in the highest engagement. Sound familiar? That’s microlearning at it’s finest.

4. Just-in-time Learning

One of the primary advantages of microlearning is that learners can complete courses “just-in-time” without a moment’s notice. Employees are able to train on just what they need to know, right when they need it most. The benefits of microlearning for sales training are compelling. The just-in-time training provided by microlearning is particularly beneficial for the busy sales rep. They can easily start a new course and receive comprehensive knowledge minutes before a pitch or call.

5. Actionable Content

Microlearning fosters behavioral changes, as all learning should, with immediate application. Whether an employee faces a challenge in or out of the office, microtraining provides them with the necessary resources they need in a pinch. In addition, microlearning is personalized for a custom learner experience. A unique course path provides a more efficient training, so learners are ready to go, right after they complete it.

In short, start using bite sized learning to better inform and apply employees’ learning and development initiatives at work. Listen to our webinar, 25 training tips in 25 minutes, for a mix of training techniques.

 

Ready, Set, Train

At Unboxed Training and Technology, we developed ReadySet—an off-the-shelf eLearning system for the modern learner. Streamline your employee training by narrowing in on one key skill with microlearning. ReadySet courses are challenging enough to engage employees but short enough to support retention.

Use ReadySet as a just-in-time training for new employees, or equip your current employee with action-oriented course content.  Contact us to learn more about microlearning and microtraining techniques for success—ReadySet Sell, Lead, Secure, or Respect and adopt microlearning today!

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Training Delivery Methods: Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

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

    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

    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.