The problem of how to make training fun, especially for adults, isn’t just specific to the recruitment industry — workplace learnings biggest pain point is training engagement. This is what we class as an employees positive or negative emotional attachment to their training and this profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work.
Amongst other considerations, highly engaged employees can achieve a financial performance four times greater than companies with poor engagement. So if you’re failing to engage, you will be engaging for failure with your organisational development.
One of the elements involved in making training engaging is making it an enjoyable experience. I’ve actually heard managers in organisations tell new employees how painful their induction will be in the first few days! Not the best way to set an expectation and demonstrate support in the importance of inducting and training new staff. Process, policy and procedures are critical to cover but does it really have to be a “painful” experience – wading through an induction book as big as a White Pages, watching endless ‘dry’ online modules that might have your new starter falling asleep at the desk on their 3rd day? In short, absolutely not!
If we look at the psychology behind making training enjoyable, our brain is 68% more active when we are doing something we like and with this amount of brain activity we are more capable of absorbing 84% more information.
So how do you make training enjoyable, fun, engaging and in addition strike the balance with information retention, competency and skill development?
Here are 5 top tips for how to make training fun
This has become a very popular training technique recently, as creating a little competition around anything usually makes people more inclined to get involved. A great example of gamification is a leader board type setup for staff when they complete training sessions.
Tracking training like this is very useful with online training — such as videos which staff members can complete in their own time — as it’s a great was to keep track of everyone’s learning, as well as making the whole thing into a bit of game. It’s also a great way to see who is perhaps not engaging with the training at all, and not taking the time to complete it, so you know who might need additional help to complete their learning.
2. Micro learning
Training doesn’t have to be full days, half days or even an hour long. Micro learning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts. Get straight to the point in 15 mins or less – the key here is regularity and consistency.
3. Video based training
Incorporating videos into your training will increase memory retention because we retain 50% of what we see and hear but only 10% of text and 30% of images. If we also keep front of mind that by 2025 millennials alone will make up that 75 percent of the workforce and 70 percent of them visit YouTube monthly. They simply prefer video over other mediums.
4. Social learning
From a neuroscience perspective, a growing body of research is showing that our need to connect socially with other people is as basic as any other survival need. A Harvard study has found that sharing triggers the reward centres in our brain and can even trigger the release of dopamine. Sharing drives engagement, so create a learning culture where people can collaborate and share their knowledge with each other.
5. Make training more interactive
A good example of this sort of technique could be getting people to complete something in a team during a group training session. Choose activities like this to encourage people to work together and to put into practise the things they have already learnt. Breaking up the training session this way should mean people aren’t overwhelmed with information, and being able to remember an interactive task will help people recall the information they have learnt at a later date.
While using the techniques listed above can be a fun and interesting way of delivering training content, the most important outcome from a training session is that your staff are more knowledgeable and skilled on a particular topic, so make sure you use enjoyable activities in tandem with specific learning outcomes.