Vince Han, founder of Mobile Coach, an Saas-based chatbot authoring platform joined us for a webinar on 1/31/20 to discuss how to reduce learning friction with your training programs.
What is Learning Friction?
Learning Friction is both psychological and logistical. Psychological examples are:
- “I’m not interested in the training”
- “I’m too busy!”
- “Do I really have to?”
Some examples of logistical challenges are:
- “Where do I go?”
- “What’s my password?”
- “Where’s that url?”
All in all, there are all sorts of reasons why people don’t want to do things. The question is how, as trainers, do we manage these challenges.
What’s the Difference Between Active and Passive Training?
There are many different types of training. We separate them into active and passive. Passive consists of: lectures, reading, audio / visual and demonstration. With passive training the learner is a spectator and could be zoning out. Active learning is defined by: discussion / debate, learning-by-doing and teaching others. Knowledge retention increases the more active the learning is and the more immersed your learners are with the content. Game-based training aligns with learning-by-doing and practice which can yield a 75% retention rate. When your learner is playing a game with the training content, they are fully invested and interacting with the material. With active training, they are “getting their hands dirty,” working with the content and thereby really starting to master it. It’s not that all the other types training are not effective. We’re a fan of a blended learning strategy that includes several methods and approaches.
What are Some Solutions to Creating a More Engaging Active Training Program?
Microlearning consists of bite-sized easy to consume training. “This is particularly important in the workplace,” as Vincent Haan explains, “if I can consume learning within my workflow, that provides more context versus being in a long workshop that may take me away from my work environment, sometimes is gets harder to connect the dots.” What if your content is very complex? Stephen Baer explains, “When it’s complex, it’s even more important to do it in a microformat. You can take very detailed information and break it up into bite-sized chunks. With microlearning, there is a better chance that your learners will retain the content.”
Microlearning comes in all shapes and sizes. Some common examples are:
- Videos: Vyond, Powtoon and Moovly are great tools to create fun engaging videos
- Podcasts: 2-5 minute training podcasts are really useful to get some key points and key takeaways to the learners
- Infographics: if you have visual learners, this is a great approach to breakdown complex content into a mix of images and data. We like the tool Visme for creating engaging shareable infographics
- Games: The Training Arcade® is a game-authoring tool that allows you to create microlearning games with your content in minutes.
People are so distracted by all the news and content around us. So breaking up the learning really helps your learners stay focus. It’s really all about making your training into the format of “edutain.” How do you educate and entertain at the same time? The more you can draw your learners in, whether it’s a story, a visual, or an interaction, the more you are going to be able to get the content to stick.
2. Make Training Fun
Fun is not a bad word. If it’s fun and engaging, your employees actually want to do the training. You’ll have less friction. Stories, props, videos, games, activities, competitions, rewards are just some of the tactics you can use to add fun to your training. Often people ask us, how do I build stories into my training? Simply build a story that people can relate to. Props, seemingly silly, are some of the best tool to use. It’s great to get your learner’s hands on the props, act simulations out and really be involved. The audience will remember that training and the content.
Competition is also a key tactic and something that we focus on at The Game Agency. We think about what drives humans to perform better and what motivates them. How do you tap into the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of your learners? How do you tap into the things that people want to better at and what drives them to be the best of themselves? What are the “carrots” you can dangle to make your learners stay with your content whether it’s in an classroom or eLearning environment? Think about ways to use gamification components such as competition, rewards, points, badges, leaderboards to drive your learners along.
An example of weaving storytelling into training is the custom Learning Management System (LMS) we created for with IT Cosmetics, a division of Loreal by leveraging Motivate Cloud and The Training Arcade. We used games and gamification to engage the learners. We used badges to tell a story (eg. stamps on a virtual passport). There are tangible rewards that people can achieve based on how much training they do. It’s all about engaging people on a different level.
Another example is the game we did with CHEST (The American College of Chest Physicians) that is all about the doctor / patient engagement. This project include animated video. But you can include green screen video, stock videos or still photos with text boxes. It’s really about creating that story that pulls people along like a choose-your-own-adventure book. How do you build compelling content that encourages the learners to really think about the best path to choose for the best outcome. This is a great learning tool for soft skills. It’s a great way for your learners to fail and learn in a safe environment. We call this a “practice playground.”
3. Make Training Mobile
Meet you team where they are. We all have our mobile phones with us 24/7. In fact the average person checks their phone 63 times a day. Putting training content on your employee’s phones definitely helps reduce friction. This type of training also helps create human connection with your team. It’s really a must have to any training strategy.
4. Pre and Post Training Activities
Excite your learners up front with a game before a training program starts to get them invested and interested in training and to assess their knowledge. Whether it’s eLearning or Instructional Led Training, it’s important to look at the whole cycle training cycle. Keep them engaged after training with new content to ensure the key points stick. It’s about the learner’s journey.
It’s hard to make things simple, it’s simple to make things hard. It’s about building content that is compelling, making it fun so that the learner’s want to return to the training
How do Training Games Keep Learners Engaged?
With games, learners:
- have more sustained attention and focus on the training
- are naturally competitive and return repeatedly to your training game
- retain more training, resulting in more confidence, higher performance and a better ROI on your training programs
Chatbots Keep the Learner’s Journey Moving
The principal behind a chatbot, from a software perspective, is a conversational user interface. It can be on a mobile device or on a desktop through a chat window. A graphical user interface (more traditional), in contrast, shows menus, images and buttons. These traditional user interfaces usually require a user name, password and oftentimes a learning curve to figure out where everything is. The logistical number of steps just to get to the content is much greater than a chat interface. A chatbot is a great piece of the micro-learning. You can deploy a chatbot with a video or short exercise to keep the learning flowing. A chatbot can have a fun a personality too. Overall, it can be a very compelling way to make learning frictionless.
Here are some of the ways you can use it this integration.
- Push out your game(s) to your team on their phones on any schedule or on-demand. All without any new apps or downloads–just text and web.
- Track user learning trends and provided adaptive learning. “You have answered this question X times, Y times correctly. Learn more here: (link)”
- Encourage based on ranking. “You’re number X right now. Let’s see if we can get you up to number 1!”
- Remind to come back and play again. “Your last session was on January 3. Take a minute and do another quick round today!”
- Badging/rewarding achievements: “You’ve played every day for a week!” “You’ve beaten your own high score 3 times!” “You’ve answered every question right at least once!”
The goal of the integration is that the learner plays the game, learns the content, and the chatbot identifies the strengths and weaknesses and encourages the learners to go back and improve. Watch the video to see a sample of how this works. It’s pretty cool.