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How to Create an Effective Learning Program


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How to Create an Effective Learning Program

Written on Nov 1, 2016 4:49:36 PM, by Ilie Ghiciuc

Employees are essential to a thriving business. Without well-trained employees, the business risks lower profits and productivity and high turnover rates.

In order to provide proper training, companies need to have effective learning programs. These programs need to be able to meet the needs of all employees, including those of leaders and managers.

Starting the Process

When first starting the process of creating a learning program, managers and leaders need to ask themselves some key questions about the program.

  • What are the goals of the program?
  • Who will use the program?
  • What is the budget for the project?
  • How much time do employees have for training?
  • What resources and materials are already in use?

After answering these questions, companies can start to create the program with their goals and resources in mind. This is essential for making a program that is relevant to employees and effective.

Also read: How to Create an In-House Training Plan for Your Team

The Steps to Creating an Effective Learning Program

After assessing the company's resources and  goals, an effective program develops along a certain course.

1. Needs

Start by defining your company’s specific needs. What are some weak areas? What kinds of soft and hard skills do your employees need?

2. Goals

While it’s good to have a general goal, it’s important to also set more targeted goals. Managers and leaders need to establish measurable goals that they can track in the short term and long term. They could relate to things like productivity, engagement, or customer relations.

3. Development

Either using external or internal resources, start developing the training modules. In this phase of the planning process, try to connect modules in a cohesive learning experience that will help meet the goals you’ve set.

4. Individualization

Create training modules with individuals or groups in mind. Some training will be given to everyone in the company, while others may only need to be given to certain groups of employees.

5. Tracking

As the training program begins to take shape, managers need to have a way to track who has taken what training and when.

6. Schedule

Decide what kind of schedule the training will have. What employees have more free time and when? What elements of training can be done at any time and what elements have to be done during company hours?

7. Essentials

When implementing the program start with what is more important to employees.

8. Expertise

In order to create effective trainings, make sure that experts in the field are a part of the process. They may give an in-person training, create a video, or write training materials, but their input is invaluable.

9. Communication

Whether a learning program is new, being updated, or has been in place for a long time, communication is vital for its success. Employees need to know what is happening and why it is happening. They need to be a part of the process and need a reason to help the company to reach its goals.

10. Tools

Make sure to keep it interactive. This may include using technology, videos, social networks, gamification, quizzes, competition, games, and many other strategies to keep employees involved.

11. Feedback

Employee feedback is very important for creating an effective program. If something is not working, then you need to change it or the program will not have the desired impact.  

12. Culture

Through continuous learning and leader investment, learning will become a part of the culture of an organization. Take the pulse of your company periodically through engagement surveys and culture assessments.

Also read:
The Future Of Your Organization Is In Its Culture Of Learning

Effective Employee Training Program Techniques

Every company has different needs and resources. Some companies will have to use more traditional approaches, while others may use more modern approaches, but no matter what a company uses, there are ways to make it the most effective it can be.

Classroom and Instructor training

Even with many advancements in learning and training technology, there are times when an in-person classroom style training is the way to go. Many of these training sessions use whiteboards, projectors, presentations, videos, and stories to communicate information.

This type of training should get people to interact and share ideas. Take advantage of having everyone in the room together at the same time.

Interactive training

This type of training is less about listening to a speaker and more about, as the name suggests, interacting.

Interactive training relies on group discussions, brainstorming, demonstrations, role playing, quizzes, case studies, and summarizing in order to help employees absorb and retain employees by making them more interested and active in the material and presentation.

Hands-on training

Hands-on, or experiential, training uses coaching, drills, apprenticeships, and cross-training to give employees minute-by-minute experiences and training directly related to the job they will be doing. It helps employees apply what they are learning before they are expected to do it individually.

In a 2013 survey of 1,000 office workers, 33% stated that they like to learn by doing and experiencing what they are learning about.

Computer-based training

As technology becomes cheaper and more easily accessible by many people and companies, computer-based training is becoming more prevalent. Text-only documents, multimedia materials, and virtual reality are all effective methods of training employees using computers.

E-learning and online training

This method of training has become very popular as materials, presentations, and people can be almost anywhere and everywhere at once with the internet.

Online-based training, webinars, MOOCs, online colleges programs, collaborative sharing platforms, email, video conferencing, cloud-based learning, and online learning management systems are increasingly becoming the standard.

These types of platforms also allow for more self-paced learning, reflection, and information sharing. A 2015 Harvard Business School study showed that when people are able to stop and reflect on a task, they perform it better than people who practiced without reflection.

Also read: Taking Learning To The Next Level With Gamification

Mobile learning

Similar to online learning, mobile learning is done through the internet, but on mobile devices instead of through desktop computers. This model of learning can be done at any time and from anywhere.

Employees can check an app or log into a platform on their phones or tablets and begin learning, especially as mobile learning and micro-learning grow together.

Blended training

Because there are benefits to both in-person and online training, many companies have tried to blend learning. Blended training uses approaches from any of the training styles to create a program that best fits the needs of the organization and employees.

In recent surveys ,50% of employees feel they that retained information better with in-person training while 48% stated they still wanted to be able to review information at a later time.

Blended learning has also been shown to reduce the cost of training by 50% and improve results by 10% when compared to more traditional approaches. Blended learning can be a great way to give every employee a bit of what they are looking for.

With proper planning, companies can create effective employee learning programs that fit the needs of everyone. They are one of the best ways to encourage success at the employee level and at the organization level.

Start planning today and find the system that works for you. Increased profits, higher productivity, and a better company culture are just some of the benefits that come with a learning-oriented workforce. 

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Ilie Ghiciuc
I've been an entrepreneur for the past 10+ years building great software companies together with fantastic teams. I like to spend most of my free time reading :)