Training workers is effective only if attendees are engaged enough to retain the information. There are many ways that you can break up training sessions and keep trainees attentive and involved. Here are nine of them:
- Quizzes. For long, complicated training, stop periodically to administer brief quizzes on information presented to that point. You can also begin sessions with a prequiz and let participants know there will also be a follow-up quiz. Trainees will stay engaged in order to improve their prequiz scores on the final quiz. Further motivate participants by offering awards to the highest scorers or the most improved scores.
- Small group discussions. Break the participants down into small groups and give them case studies or work situations to discuss or solve. This is a good way for knowledgeable veteran employees to pass on their experience to newer employees.
- Case studies. Adults tend to bring a problem-oriented way of thinking to workplace training. Case studies are an excellent way to capitalize on this type of adult learning. By analyzing real job-related situations, employees can learn how to handle similar situations. They can also see how various elements of a job work together to create problems as well as solutions.
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- Active summaries. Create small groups and have them choose a leader. Ask them to summarize the lecture’s major points and have each team leader present the summaries to the class. Read aloud a prewritten summary and compare this with participants’ impressions.
- Q&A sessions. Informal question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions are most effective with small groups and for updating skills rather than for teaching new skills. For example, some changes in departmental procedure might easily be handled by a short explanation by the supervisor, followed by a Q&A period and a discussion period.
- Question cards. During the lecture, ask participants to write questions on the subject matter. Collect them and conduct a quiz/review session.
- Role-playing. By assuming roles and acting out situations that might occur in the workplace, employees learn how to handle various situations before they face them on the job. Role-playing is an excellent training technique for many interpersonal skills, such as customer service, interviewing, and supervising.
- Participant control. Create a subject menu of what will be covered. Ask participants to review it and pick items they want to know more about. Call on a participant to identify his or her choice. Cover that topic and move on to the next participant.
- Demonstrations. Whenever possible, bring tools or equipment that are part of the training topic and demonstrate the steps being taught or the processes being adopted.
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Here are a few more ideas that are used less often and may be best only in very specific situations:
- Create a personal action plan.
- Raise arguments to issues in the lecture.
- Paraphrase important or complex points in the lecture.
Advantages of Interactive Training
There are several advantages, including:
- Interactive sessions keep trainees engaged in the training, which make them more receptive to the new information.
- They make training more enjoyable.
- They provide ways for veteran employees to pass on knowledge and experience to newer employees.
- They can provide in-session feedback to trainers on how well trainees are learning.
Some disadvantages include:
- Interactive sessions can take longer because activities, such as taking quizzes or breaking into small groups, are time-consuming.
- Some methods, such as participant control, can be less structured, and trainers will need to make sure that all necessary information is covered.
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