Job Skills: Easier Employee Training Using Visual Aids
Visual aids are not used as often as they could be in the workplace, and yet they can make training employees markedly easier. Here’s how to implement them in your next training class or seminar.
Use Slide Presentations
Using slide presentations is an easy way to incorporate more visuals into your presentation. It’s easy and, depending on the images, it can make the presentation fun.
Make sure that the images, graphs, and animations are relevant to the discussion topic, however, as this can also impact the effectiveness of the presentation.
Animations that are cute might get a few laughs, but they won’t have the kind of impact that relevant images do.
For example, if you’re giving a presentation about productivity in the workplace, flashy images of attractive females might make the men in the crowd whistle, but it has little to do with the topic.
On the other hand, using a pie chart animation that shows the effect of making small changes in workflow and how that impacts productivity can be both dramatic and engaging.
Using memos in the office seems very “1980s”, but it’s still an effective way to communicate ideas – especially if you go digital.
Digital memos can convey complex ideas or processes using simple images, graphs, and animations. When a company wants to introduce a new product, for example, it can send out a memo first, followed by other, more extensive information.
Updates to the company’s financial status, or department-specific information, can be communicated using memos.
Video is a great way to introduce upper management to new hires, a new product line, or training that needs to be consistent across all departments.
Video can also be used for department-specific training. And, because video is recorded, it can be used as a way to standardize information. For example, if you need to perform a particular kind of training according to strict state or federal guidelines, a video ensures that everyone gets the same exact training.
Videos can be shown in a conference room, with a large audience or they can be uploaded to the Internet so that users can watch them at their leisure. The latter is more flexible and is becoming the preferred method by employees.
Videos that are on the local Intranet can be password protected to prevent unauthorized viewing, while at the same time logging user activity to ensure compliance across all departments.
A note about videos: the video should be oriented around no more than 2 to 3 main ideas or concepts. If videos exceed 1 hour in length, regular breaks should be given.
There are times when hand-on training is the most effective. For those times, use displays. It adds a kinesthetic element, and many individuals work and learn well when the training is “hands on.”
Tactile and visual feedback, inherent interactivity, and trial-and-error processes all enhance the learning process.
Use Online Training
Online training programs, like simplilearn, make it easy to train employees in an online environment. IT-centric courses, for example, allow your employees to focus in on what needs to be done to enhance performance at work.
No vocational schools. No additional tuition bills and lengthy college course loads. More importantly, no more student loans.
Online training can be done in groups and individually, at home, if the employee wants. This is possibly the greatest advantage to this type of training: it’s incredibly flexible.
Online training also allows the employee to pace himself based on his comprehension level and natural learning style. The employee is in control, not an instructor.
A lot of employees and employers are embracing this type of training because of the flexibility and freedom it gives employees. It also produces better results than many other types of training.
Use Handouts and Worksheets
Handouts and worksheets make the training experience interactive. While most handouts won’t get read on their own, a worksheet will. And, if you incorporate testing or quizzes as part of the training, employees will be more likely to study the handouts you give them.
Handouts that are relevant to the employee’s job are also more likely to enhance employee adoption.
Finally, to make the handouts interactive, incorporate tear-out sheets that employees need to hand in for credit, along with lots of images and captions, diagrams, and graphs. Make sure that answers matter by grading exams or quizzes in the handout, and give feedback. Incorporate a reward system for performance on the handout too.
Lewis H. Parker works as a human resources manager. He loves sharing his business insights online. Look for his posts mainly on career and business blog sites.