We are all a part of the single most distracted, distractible and distracting generations of workforce we’ve ever encountered as a human race. Never have we been so hedonistic, never have we been more attracted to the next shiny thing and never have we been more obsessed with that next hit or rush of entertainment.
If something doesn’t have our attention within five seconds, it’s likely we’ve moved on already – and unless it’s geared to excite and entertain us, it’s unlikely to tick that ever-so-elusive box.
This need for engagement shows up in nearly every area of our lives in the modern world, but one area it undoubtedly shows up more frequently than others is in the realm of training and development.
Because of this, educational information in the business world has never been more readily available to companies, yet engagement with training has never been lower. The perfect cocktail of distraction, irritability and boredom tastes ever so sour for HR leaders looking to find training that will make developing their team ‘worth it and more’.
If it already weren’t tough enough for those in charge of finding good quality training for their team members, it can be predicted that this trend will only get stronger as time goes on. As the millennial percentage of the entire workforce edges towards 50 per cent (and is projected to be 75 per cent by 2030), the traditional classroom and seminar-style of company training is only set to become less and less effective, dare we say to the point of useless? Before too long, we’ll be safely throwing it in the pile of reached use-by-dates with telephone books, cassette tapes and the soon-to-be taxi industry.
So what’s the solution to such an engagement epidemic? If the current training paradigm means the problem will only become larger as time goes on, what’s the saviour to be in a corporate world that has never been more in need of it?
The answer is multi-faceted, but when the right recipe is followed, the quality of training produced is one a company will always look to as a benchmark experience.
Provide feedback that’s unique to each individual
Throwing a blanket over every attendee in the room means only about 25 per cent of them resonate with the learnings delivered. The most engaging training room is the one that allows each individual in the room to experience their own unique learnings, for them, and where they are specifically at on their own journey.
Ensure the feedback is implemented in the training room
By the time it comes to actually implementing what’s been taught in the training room, so much of the content has left the brain and been lost. To truly solidify a learning, it must be experientially put to practice right there in the room. This means more than just a ‘role play’, this means facing and overcoming the thing that makes the learner most uncomfortable in the supportive comfort of a training room so they can win the game of business out there starting immediately.
Be challenging and fun
We learn naturally through fun. It helps us form emotional connections and memories to the learnings we’re having, and it immediately makes the training something we want to be involved in (Hint: PowerPoints aren’t fun in 2019, just so we are all up to speed).
Show the attendee how the learnings connect to the bigger picture
It can be said that with a big enough ‘why’ we can handle any ‘how’. When it comes to business training, when a student can clearly see how what they’re learning connects to the wider perspective of who they are in life and where they want to go within the company, their eagerness to dive right into the learnings significantly rises.
So, how on earth are we meant to offer such an empowering and impactful training to the world? How are all those boxes meant to be even ticked?
The answer, as many innovative and forward-thinking companies are finding, is the use of carefully created and highly strategic ‘games’ in the training room. Gamification is the word of the day, for those of you playing at home. This is a style of education that’s rapidly rising in popularity, because, games:
Provide instant feedback: There’s no running from the feedback a game gives us. Either the strategy we used got us the result that we desired, or it didn’t – and then it up to us to make the change accordingly. Those that continue to use the same strategy, will continue to get the same result.
Reflect how we play life: Games show us who we are under pressure, who we are when we’re on top of the world and who we are when we’re at the mercy of it. When there’s an outcome to be achieved, and achieving it is of utmost importance, the true version of ourselves often comes to the fore and it’s up to us to decide whether we’re happy with what we find looking back in the mirror. If we’re not, it’s time to change.
Are fun and engaging: There are very few people in the world who can resist a well-designed game. People love to have fun when given the opportunity, and when the contrast they have is a lecture-style training room that’s purely ‘information’ for them to try and remember, students are often rapidly and eagerly attracted to the idea of a more engaging training room.
How are you incorporating an engaging, entertaining and fun learning environment for your team members? And how would the use of games solve the distractibility and boredom problem within your training room? If your team members are failing to legitimately grow and change through the training you’ve previously implemented, it might be time to give gamification a try