For training that engages, know your audience

It’s no secret that education programs often get placed on the backburner and, or can be thought of as a hassle for organizations. However, professional development is a vital benefit to the team and often a key differentiator when making job selections. To achieve true engagement when it comes to learners and education, trainers need to have a clear understanding of why they are pushing an education program in the first place. To make it easier, we’ve outlined five questions to ask before you start building a training framework. Let’s dive in!

Question 1: Do You Know Your Audience? (DYKYA)

First thing’s first: DYKYA? Surprisingly, knowing your audience isn’t as simple as it may seem. With your staff working remotely, you may not have the best idea of who exactly your audience is made up of. One question to ask: what generations do your audience members come from? This is important to break down because of the difference in learning-based needs between generations. For example, if your staff is made up of 70% boomers and maturists, a program made up of entirely eLearning will not be effective. In short, your audience dictates the approach that should be followed when creating your program.

Question 2: What is Your Organizational Culture?

Better yet… what is your organization’s learning culture? Prior to contrary belief, training culture and learning culture are not the same. Training culture is based on a “tell me what to do method.” But what works for the trainer may not work for the learner. In learning culture, surprise — the culture is learner-centric. What does this mean? It means that instead of focusing on delivery, learning culture focuses on results. This method steers away from the typical “checking the box” routine, with an end game that should be an impact continued long after the program finishes. Will your learners gain knowledge and grow from this program that will allow them to transform within their role? Without an answer to this key question, employees will prioritize other tasks before training.


Question 3: What Do Learners Bring to the Table?

Adult learners have a portfolio of experience with many years of experience under their belts. Real world experience, new perspectives, and lessons learned over the years are strengths to be utilized to enhance your training program. In fact, leveraging the knowledge of your learners actually makes the trainer’s job easier. Another way to think of it is by channeling the Schema Theory, which describes the pattern for one’s knowledge about people, places, objects, and events. Think about what your learners have done in the past that has built their mental framework — and build your program from there.

Question 4: How Do Your Learners Learn?

There are three styles of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. In any learning environment, it is best to create a program that incorporates all three. This goes back to the Learning Management System available to your organization — how can you create opportunities where learners can absorb information by reading, listening, and getting hands on experience? There are countless ways to be creative and connect with your audience!

Question 5: Is Training Even Necessary?

While this is the fifth question in our list, it’s actually the most important because it incorporates the what, why, and how. What are learners supposed to be doing, how are they doing it …. and why? The “why” is frequently overlooked and, as a result, it creates a huge lack in motivation. A learner will not be motivated to undergo a training session without answers to these three questions. In turn, your training program will be unsuccessful — and may not have even been needed to begin with.

Maybe you already have a clear understanding as to why your organization needs an education training program. Or maybe you’re still figuring it out! Either way — we’re here to provide you with the tools to build a training program that sticks.