One of the more common requests we receive is from clients asking for help with an existing course they describe as dull and boring training. When I look back at the history of these scenarios there is a pattern of the courses being technical training. The training is teaching how to use a software application or how to follow a standard operating procedure (SOP).
Boring Training – The Trainer
The first question I ask is about the trainer. In many situations, the trainer is the subject matter expert and teaching is not their primary job. This question is intended to uncover information about the teaching skills and experience of the trainer. Weak trainer skills will reduce the learning results even for a well-designed course. Improving the skills of the trainer or instructor is the quickest and easiest way to improve the learning outcome.
It is common for technical courses the person teaching is doing it because of their subject expertise. Not everyone is a natural trainer and many technical experts lack basic teaching skills.
There are a variety of train-the-trainer courses available and by utilizing them to improve the delivery skills of the trainer you improve the learning outcomes of all the courses they teach.
Boring Training – The Course
The second question I ask is about the course itself, particularly about how it was designed. A very common response is they were under pressure to get the training ready for the roll-out of the new software application or operating procedure. The focus was on the content and not on the instructional design. If you start with a weak course design, you will get reduced learning outcomes. The good news is a strong instructor can improve the learning.
Improving the Design of Boring Training Courses
After ensuring the trainers have the proper skills, the focus shifts to improving the design of the course. The first step to improving the course design is to assess its current state. You can do a formal assessment and there are tools to help with that. Check out my 2-part post “Assessing the Design of a Learning Program“.
Overcome boring training with strong course design and instructor skills by measuring ALP, PAF and VIVE:
- respect for Adult Learning Principles (ALP)
- a Systematic Learning Process that includes Presentation, Application, and Feedback (PAF)
- VIVE, variety-interaction-visuals-examples
You do not need to start over and re-design the entire course. What you do need to do is improve the existing design by adding instructional elements to support ALPs, PAF, and VIVE.
Overcome Boring Training and Maximize Learning
To get the best possible learning outcome you need to improve both the teaching skills of your trainers and instructional design of the courses they teach. Check out FKA’s workshop Maximizing Adult Learning.
VP Research and Product Development