Don’t Shortcut the Learning Process

Ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius expressed his belief in the importance of learning from interaction when he wrote, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do, and I understand.”

There are no shortcuts when it comes to being successful, just as there are no shortcuts when it comes to gaining knowledge and understanding.

“You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.”
—Stephen Covey

Why We Must Get Training Right

The training you offer can distinguish your firm or agency from others, which in turn can help you attract top talent. This is one area in which you just cannot take shortcuts.

According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, about 8 in 10 millennials say that on-the-job training, continuous professional development, and formal training led by employers will be important to help them perform their best. Employer training and support quite obviously help millennials and the Gen Z cohort perform their jobs, and as their careers progress, the role of the employer as an educator will take on even greater significance.

But young professionals are looking for training that goes beyond technical and sales skills. They are especially seeking help building confidence, interpersonal skills, and — particularly for Gen Z — ethics/integrity aptitude. In their view, businesses are insufficiently focusing on nurturing these and similar soft skills.

How to Engage Participants in Learning

This is why it is so important to have participants in any learning course do more than just sit there and listen to what is being presented. Here are some strategies you can ask your instructor to use in an effort to get your team members more involved in their learning:

1. Require participants to complete pre-work before the training.

2. Before the training, if possible, connect with all the participants, probably via email. Ask them what they hope to learn from the session and if there are any specific questions they would like to get answered. This involves them in the training before it even begins.

3. During the training, present the material in several different formats, such as written bullet points with images, video or audio clips, quiz questions and hands-on exercises.

4. Offer different methods of training. Consider off-site, on-site, online self-study, and online instructor-led programs.

Mistakes to Avoid in Training

In addition to the above tips for engaging learners in their training, here are some common training mistakes for your trainers and instructors to avoid. Often, mistakes boil down to organizations, trainers, and/or participants attempting to take shortcuts in the learning process:

Mistake #1: Offering training as an afterthought — or not at all. To become known as the organization that offers the best and most valuable training, it must be included in your budget. You must devote time, staff, and money to training. Otherwise, it’s no more than an afterthought, or at best, a one-time event. Ongoing training is the hallmark of dynamic organizations that attract the best talent. Plus, when you train your own team members, you are investing in your own company.

Mistake #2: Creating cognitive overload. That occurs when too much information is delivered at once. If participants feel overwhelmed, they will be unable to absorb the concepts you are sharing with them. This is a common occurrence when it comes to new agent/advisor onboarding training, since there is so much information to provide in such a short period of time. Offer classroom training in short segments, and stick with “bite sized” online training courses or modules that offer learners a small bit of vital information at once. This online coursework can be used as an initial presentation of the subject matter or as a training follow-up after a classroom session. Repetition is the key to learning and recall. (This is one of the beneficial features of FSEdNet video training; our hundreds of videos last an average of only 8.5 minutes each.)

Mistake #3: Using outdated materials. Make sure all your training materials are updated, with current statistics and facts. Participants are likely to lose confidence in the credibility of the information if the information is no longer accurate. To read six more critical mistakes to avoid in training, read our white paper – Click Here

Do not allow anyone involved in the training of your team, or the participants, to take or accept shortcuts! It’s human nature to try, but we must form the habit of never accepting any shortcuts in learning or business.