Use Visuals to Add a Spark of Interest to Your Training Materials

It’s an exciting world full of bling-bling, right? There’s a lot of stuff that catches our attention, grabs our focus, and compels us to stay engaged.

Sadly, that’s often not the case with workplace training. Even now, training materials often lean on text-heavy PowerPoint presentations. But you can change that by adding well-designed visuals to your training materials.

Want to know more? Check out the post we just wrote at OpenSesame’s blog. It focuses on different techniques for adding a “spark” of interest to your training–using emotions, using visuals to help tell stories, using visual metaphors, and using unexpected and/or humorous visual elements.

Not only that, the post includes some cool examples from the Convergence Training retail training course libraries. Go check it out now!

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Blended Learning Best Practices for Job Training

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“Blended learning” is one of the hot buzz phrases in learning circles these days. The concept means nothing more than delivering training using multiple instructional methods (instructor-led training, elearning, written materials, field-based training, etc.). Most commonly, it’s used specifically to refer to mixing both instructor-led and online training, although we feel that’s an unnecessarily limited way to look at it.

The idea’s been around a long time, but it’s gained momentum over the past decade as online learning has become more accessible and easier to pair with more traditional instructor-led courses, OJT, and other forms of training.

There are many learning management systems (LMSs) on the market designed specifically for workforce training and most of them offer blended learning support – delivering online training while also allowing you to assign, track, and report on other forms of training, including face-to-face/instructor-led training. And blended learning solutions are becoming even easier to track and report on with the advent of the Experience API (xAPI).

But what are we really talking about when we’re talking about blended learning for job training, and how is it supposed to benefit you? Let’s take a closer look.

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Using Visuals In Training Materials to Reduce Complexity

Today’s workers have to learn many complex things. The visuals in your training materials can help level the odds and make it easier to learn all those complexities.

Want to know more? Check out the post we just wrote at OpenSesame’s blog.

The post gives some great tips for using visuals this way. Plus, it includes some cool examples from the Convergence Training retail training course libraries. Brilliant!

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6 Must-Have LMS Features That Make Workforce Training a Breeze

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If you’re currently using, or considering using a learning management system to help deliver and administer your workforce training, you’ve probably come across applications so stuffed full of features that you can’t possibly imagine using them all. In this post we’ll cut out all the fluff and focus on the six LMS features we feel are essential for effective workforce training.

If you’re looking for a system that will actually save you time and help you do your job better, make sure it’s capable of performing the following functions.

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Is an LMS Only Good for Online Learning Courses? Quick Answer: Nope.

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People who are new to learning management systems (LMSs) sometimes assume that an LMS can only be used to deliver, track, and report on online training. You know, things like computer-based training courses–or maybe you call them CTBs, online courses, or e-learning courses.

But that’s not true. At least it’s not true with the Convergence LMS.

We believe that the best training programs take advantage of a blended learning solution that incorporates different types of training: instructor-led training, OJT task-based training, written policies, procedures, documents, social learning, self-guided learning, and more. Which is why we’ve incorporated many different training formats within our various LMSs.

For a little more information, read on.

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How To Create an Effective Training Program: 8 Steps to Success

Nearly everyone recognizes the value and benefits of workforce training. When done properly, training can make workers more efficient — increasing production, revenue, and profits while decreasing costs, waste, and inefficiencies. Effective training can lead to increased compliance with regulations. It can even lead to a happier, more satisfied and engaged workforce, which in turn reduces turnover and costly new employee onboarding. So the benefits are many.

But creating effective training isn’t easy. Some common problems include creating training that doesn’t support a true business goal, or that’s intended to solve a problem that training can’t fix, or without first identifying the true purpose of the training, or that includes too much information. Or maybe all of those things.

So, how does one create effective workforce training materials? Below is an eight-step road map to help you create more effective training materials. Entire books have been written about each of these steps, so there’s far more to say than what’s written below. But this article should serve as an effective getting-started guide in your quest to create workforce training materials that actually work.

Beyond that, we’ve added some notes in the conclusion of this blog to get you thinking in a “what’s next?” manner. Because the neat thing about designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating training is that you’ll never know everything and you’ll be best-served by being a lifelong learner yourself.

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Teaching Attitudes: The Affective Domain of Learning and Learning Objectives

Instructional Design Basics

[This is the eighth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

As we mentioned in a previous post, there are three different kinds of learning: learning about things you can “know,” learning about things you can “do,” and learning about things you “feel.” We will refer to these as knowledge, skills, and attitudes, or “KSAs” for short.

In this post, we’re going to consider the “attitudes” domain more closely. The information below is based on the theories of Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia (1973), and it relies greatly on explanations of those theories that appear Don Clark’s well known “Big Dog Little Dog” instructional design blog. Check out Clark’s material on learning domains to read more about this and to learn about alternate versions of this hierarchy and other learning hierarchies.

You can use this information to create a more effective workforce training program.

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Making Sure Your Training is Effective-Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation

Instructional Design Basics

Companies pour a lot of money into training. And of course, they hope that money is well spent.

That would mean that the training worked, in casual terms. Or, to be more specific, that employees learned things, developed new skills, and changed their behaviors at work, and those changed behaviors ultimately contributed to progress toward a business goal, such as increased workplace safety, higher production efficiency, increased sales revenue, lower total costs, the roll-out of a new product, or similar goals.

But exactly how do you know if your training was effective?

To figure this out, Donald Kirkpatrick came up with something now called Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation. There are other methods to do this, but Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels are a widely used method. They became very popular after he published his book Evaluating Training Programs in 1994.

We’ll learn more about the four-level Kirkpatrick evaluation in this article.

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Teaching Skills: The Psychomotor Domain of Learning and Learning Objectives

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[This is the the seventh in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Bloom believed there are three different kinds of learning: learning about things you can “know,” learning about things you can “do,” and learning about things you “feel.” We will refer to these as knowledge, skills, and attitudes, or “KSAs” for short.

In this post, we’re going to consider the “skills” domain more closely, looking at six different levels of skill. The information below is based on the theories of R.H. Dave (1975), and draws from explanations of those theories that appear at Don Clark’s well-known “Big Dog Little Dog” instructional design blog. Check out Clark’s material on learning domains to read more about this hierarchy and to learn about alternate versions of this hierarchy by Simpson and Harrow if you’re interested. I’ve written about Dave’s hierarchy because it’s the one that seems most useful to me, but the others are also popular, well-known, and well-regarded.

This information can help you create a more effective workforce training program.

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How Video Can Help Us Learn: A Fun Example

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Every so often, when we see some effective training material during our daily lives outside the office, or when we see something that explains things nicely, we like to share it here.

Some years ago, we found the video below from a story on the National Public Radio (NPR) website about an informational video that explained a physical process. The video was created by a college student named Dan Quinn. Mr. Quinn has a YouTube channel where he publishes videos he creates, and one is a really interesting piece on why wine “cries” in a glass.

We decided to write more about that video for our “things from everyday life that related to job training” series below.

For more articles in this series, check out this article on visual design and airline tickets and this article on humor in pre-flight safety videos.

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Benjamin Bloom’s Learning Objectives Taxonomy: Cognitive (Knowledge), Psychomotor (Skills), and Affective (Attitudes)

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[This is the fifth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

If you search the Internet for “learning objectives,” you’ll run into the name Benjamin Bloom quickly enough.

That’s because Bloom gave us a handy way to think of different kinds of learning and the learning objectives to write for each. It’s not the only way, and it’s been revised by his followers since he developed it originally, but it’s a help when you’re writing your objectives.

Before we begin explaining his theories to you (over the next four blog posts), take a moment and think of learning. Is all learning alike, or do we sometimes learn different “kinds” of things? For example, consider learning how materials flow through a machine, learning how to weld a metal seam, and learning why it’s important to follow safety rules. Are these the same kinds of learning, or are they different?

If you agree that we learn different types of things, you’re halfway to understanding Bloom’s three “domains” of learning and learning objectives.

Once you’ve read all this stuff on Bloom’s learning objectives for different types of learning, you may also find our Different Types of Training for Different Types of Learning article interesting.

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Creating Visuals for Training Materials: Connie Malamed’s Book “Visual Language for Designers”

Not that long ago, we recommended the book “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen. Now we’ve got another book recommendation for you—Connie Malamed’s “Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand.”

First, an admission. We’re HUGE Connie Malamed fans. She’s got a great instructional design blog and a second blog for visual design. She’s got a neat instructional design app. She’s pleasant, sociable, and informative in social media circles. And yes, she’s got a really great book, too.

This article is a general overview/review of Malamed’s book. To see the ideas in her book “put into action,” check out this article: 25 Graphic Design Tips for e-Learning.

Which brings us back to the book recommendation.

Convergence Training provides learning management systems and e-learning courses, primarily for industrial and manufacture ring companies. Contact us if you have questions.

And feel free to download any of the free guides below while you’re here:

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