How to Keep Learners Engaged

As discussed in the two previous installments of this series, a new trainer needs to understand the training platform to get the most out of it. Just as imperative as the technology platform is the trainer’s ability to engage learners.

Transitioning from good to great is about filling the the training session with relevant content, using storytelling enhanced by technology. As the University of Groningen states: “Storytelling is one of the oldest and most effective forms of teaching. A well-told story enables the instructor and participants to optimize the learning process by integrating cognition, emotion, and imagination in the didactic process. Good storytelling is an art and a skill.”

Good storytelling is about building a problem and finding a solution.  First, you set the scene by explaining an incident. What is the issue or challenge? Then you have the particpants work through different scenarios of potential solutions with you coaching them and giving them additional information, if needed.    How do the participants think the issue should be attacked and what resolution to they identify?

The instructor then takes the answers and reinforces the best or correct ones and explains why. Prior to that, they engage the participants to discover why they came up with their particular scenario and how they think it will resolve the issue.  Each of these become a teachable moment. According to Harvard Business, “Storytelling also helps with learning because stories are easy to remember. Organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser found that learning which stems from a well-told story is remembered more accurately, and for far longer than learning derived from facts and figures.”

Relevant storytelling can be enhanced through the platform used by the trainer to add visuals and scenarios to the training session. For example, enhancements can add to the level of engagement if a topic is challenging to visualize and help the pacing of a story by giving each distinct moment in the story a relevant process, step, or statistic to remember it.  The use of images, documents and videos highlight different parts of the story.  Using annotations on whiteboards or documents further solidify various critical points.

The key to being an exceptional corporate trainer is being able to take a topic and make it engaging for a listener. Learner engagement can be improved through assessments to gauge knowledge and storytelling to hold interest and help a learner retain information. One platform that has all the aspects a trainer needs to be effective and engaging is Jigsaw Interactive.  Jigsaw’s virtual learning environment enables users to utilize all types of content and methods to get everyone engaged and involved in the learning process.  The technology offers instructors the opportunity to produce a high quality learning session while letting the learners to own their learning experience.  It’s a key to a successful training strategy.