Learning & Development

Are Your Employees ENGAGED in Training?

Trainers need to spend more time thinking about how they are going to teach than what they are going to teach, says Vicki Halsey, Ph.D. (www.vickihalsey.com), author of Brilliance by Design: Creating Learning Experiences That Connect, Inspire, and ENGAGE (Berrett-Koehler, 2011), and vice president of applied learning at The Ken Blanchard Companies.

Trainers tend to spend 70 percent of their time focused on what they’re going to teach and only 30 percent on how they’re going to teach it, but Halsey says that should be the other way around.

In her book, Halsey outlines the ENGAGE Model, a six-step design based on new discoveries in neuroscience that stimulates active learning and increases retention:

E nergize learners. This involves getting learners focused on and excited about training in advance (e.g., having a podcast on the topic, distributing a related book and study guide, etc.). At the start of the session, it also includes thanking learners and getting them involved right away by asking a powerful opening question, conducting an interactive activity, or announcing key training goals.

N avigate content. Using a variety of methods (e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic) to engage different parts of the brain, the trainer alternates between teaching content and reviewing content through role-plays, games, or team activities.


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G enerate meaning. Many trainers stop after the first two steps, but Halsey says it is important to proceed through all six steps. Trainers should help learners understand “what’s in it for them” by directly asking them to explain the value of the new information they learned and how it will help them, she says.

A pply to real world. Learners need opportunities during training to demonstrate their mastery of the new skills (e.g., a learning lab, simulations, or real-world practice).

G auge and celebrate. During this step, learners assess how much they have learned—through a quiz, crossword puzzle, or presentation to others—and celebrate their accomplishment.

E xtend learning to action. Follow-up activities (e.g., email reminders or buddy systems) help ensure that learners act on their intentions to use their new knowledge or skills.


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In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll look at how to apply “lean” principles in training—plus, a popular training resource full of brief, engaging training sessions.