Our Thinking


Ideas to Shake Up Your Training

Jennifer Kerwin

I had the pleasure of facilitating the July Learning Event: Creative Thinking Cap – Ideas to Shake up Your Training, hosted by the Central PA Association for Talent Development at JPL.

We focused the session on idea generation and the use of creativity and creative writing for learning. Making online and instructor led training solutions creative, while following adult learning theory, will engage learners and ensure that knowledge is transferred into performance on the job.

The dynamic group of professionals represented diverse industries – from corporations, to healthcare to higher education. Although our content focus varied, we all experienced similar challenges.

How do we engage the learner?

The session participants shared that making technical training and other types of content engaging requires creativity. Here are some concepts we shared to approach dry content in a new way:

  • Utilize survey questions that ask learners to rate their skills at the beginning of a course. Then present how the course will meet and elevate their knowledge to help them reflect on what they will get out of the training.
  • Present statistics or testimonials that create an emotional connection to the learner to reinforce the “what’s in it for me?”
  • Demonstrate the consequences of actions (for example if a process or a system is not used properly) to provide more context to the learner.

One tool we explored was formal and informal brainstorming. Brainstorming one-on-one or with a larger group enables training and development professionals to branch out creatively and collaborate with others to craft themes, build interactivity and engagement and ultimately create training that makes a connection with the learner that is useful and memorable.

We are all looking for “new ideas” to engage the learner. Every attendee in our group shared experiences and left with new ideas to incorporate into their organization’s learning environment. I appreciate the great value of meeting face-to-face with people in the learning industry and encourage you to do the same to help keep your courses innovative and engaging.

What techniques do you use to shake up your training?

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