Use Training Technology to More Effectively Engage Participants

Man in training session looking at his cell phone unengaged in the course.

Dave & Les Jacobs / Cultura / Getty Images

Corporate training and development professionals face many challenges today. These hurdles come from flat HR budgets, changing audience expectations, and increasing training requirements due to new regulations and evolving technologies,

Regardless of individual business circumstances, the central challenge for training professionals remains to find a way to ​engage employees and increase knowledge retention. Using the right approach and technology tools, this is a challenge that training professionals can tackle with confidence.

Virtually all training professionals understand that getting their audience to participate in a training session is essential to engaging employees. But trainers are frequently tasked with instructing large groups under strict time constraints, which makes it difficult for individual audience members to directly participate in the conversation. That’s where technology can make a difference.

Use Response Technology for Training

Response technology, that allows trainers to embed questions into presentations and empower audience members to respond via a remote device or smartphone, can help training professionals measurably improve results. Here are five ways technology can help:

Training Technology Can Improve Engagement

Training is more effective when learners actively participate in a discussion rather than listening to a top-down lecture. Trainers can use technology tools to make training a two-way conversation, embedding questions into presentations, enabling audience members to respond via remotes and smartphones, and displaying aggregate results directly in slides. When their voices are heard, training session participants pay more attention.

Deliver Real-Time Metrics

Sometimes it’s difficult for trainers to gauge their audience’s grasp of the material during presentations. Technology can provide a way to administer real-time quizzes and instantly view aggregate results so trainers know whether they can move on or if they need to spend more time covering a specific topic. This makes the training session more efficient since trainers can focus on the right topics.

Increase Course Review Response Rates

Many instructors hand out course review cards after training classes to solicit feedback on the instructor and material. But the participation rate of session attendees is typically dismal.
Allowing students to respond to questions or rate their experience using remotes or mobile devices can bring participation rates up to 100%. The faster the instructors can process the feedback, the quicker they can incorporate changes to ensure that they are delivering the most effective presentation.

Polling Software Expands Audience Participation

Some training course participants are reluctant to speak up in a group setting. This can mean that instructors who ask for input must rely on a handful of extroverts.
Polling software that enables anonymous audience responses to preset questions can broaden the pool of active session participants. That means even audience members who are generally too shy to participate in a traditional classroom discussion contribute their responses – and become more engaged as active participants in the virtual conversation.

Unlock the Power of Peer Learning

The concept of peer instruction, pioneered by Harvard Professor Eric Mazur, can improve corporate training sessions through the power of crowdsourcing.
In this scenario, instructors can embed open-ended questions in presentations using response technology and facilitate discussions between learners. This allows them to leverage their collective wisdom to arrive at the correct answer rather than providing the solution.

Training is Essential

Employee training remains an essential component of the HR function, but as training demands increase, audience expectations shift and competitive pressures accelerate. In this environment, training and development professionals must find new ways to engage participants and improve retention.

Training technology can give instructors the tools they need to measurably improve employee engagement and results. By following these tips, trainers can use technology to enhance their efforts to create an informed, engaged and knowledgeable workforce, and give their company an unbeatable competitive advantage.