If there is one thing all professionals can agree on it’s that there is simply never enough time in the day. We recently conducted a survey focusing on the pain points of training leaders and found that the majority of our respondents seriously struggle with not having enough time. So, how can trainers continue to develop an impactful training program while still making it home in time for dinner?
While there is no cut-and-dried answer to this question, we have created a list of tips that are designed to address this problem. From honing in on training objectives early on to strategically repurposing content, these tricks for creating effective training materials in a time-efficient manner can help ensure you are producing impactful work without burning the midnight oil.
“Think of your training objectives as a ‘North Star’ that guides your content.”
Understand Your Objectives
One of the most important time-saving steps when it comes to creating training materials occurs before creation even begins. Clearly defining and thoroughly understanding your learning objectives can save a lot of confusion down the road. When your training program is created with a clear set of goals in mind, the material will inherently be more directed and much cleaner.
Convergence Training suggested thinking of your training objectives as a “North Star” fixed guide, and everything you do should point toward these end goals. By defining and understanding your objectives early on you will ensure that you never create materials that don’t support your end goal.
Time Your Content
When you focus on saving your audience’s time you inherently save yourself time. Good training content should often be short and sweet. As such, trainers should pay careful attention to how long each training segment runs.
Grovo suggested keeping all lesson content under the 2-minute mark in order to land on the coveted middle ground between short and complete. Admittedly, some content will need to run longer than this. In those instances, ask yourself how you can make the material in front of you sufficiently thorough, but trimmed to the point where it remains engaging.
“Make your material in-depth enough to be thorough but short enough to stay engaging.”
Keep the Testing Minimal
A lot of trainers include testing at various points during their training. It’s a great way to track what your trainees are learning and to keep them engaged with your content. However, according to LearnDash, an effective way to cut down time on your end is to limit the quizzes to an end-of-course refresher.
This will not only save you time in terms of creation but will free up time in the course itself that would typically be dedicated to going over right or wrong answers. LearnDash also noted that trainers in a real time crunch should stick to multiple choice questions as opposed to other forms, as they are the quickest to create and correct.
Maintain an Adult Learner Framework
Convergence Training furthers its “North Star” training guidance by providing a list of distinct principles that apply specifically to adult learners.Trainers who create materials with these principles in mind will save time by making their materials more direct.
In essence, these principles can help content creators cut down on the fluff and really hit the core of what makes training most effective for adult professionals. They state that adult students typically have the following attributes or requirements:
- Desire Respect
- Want Task-Oriented Training
- Need All Content to be Relevant
- Arrive with a Considerable Base of Knowledge
- Generally Self-Directed
- Need to Clearly See the “Why”
When trainers create their content with these points in mind, they save time by improving the effectiveness of their training. By working inside the adult learner framework, you ensure your training materials have a higher chance of reaching your audience in a meaningful way – potentially eliminating the need for refresher courses or add-on sessions.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
You worked hard to create your training material. It hits all the marks. It is concise, thorough, focused and effective. When it comes to training materials, L&D leaders should channel a “reduce, reuse, recycle” mindset. Grovo suggested creating all your content in an evergreen fashion.
“Create all your content in an evergreen fashion.”
There is no reason why your content for your training program should be used once and then thrown to the side. Think of creative ways to reuse past materials or recycle the same framework for all your training and work to fill in the blanks for subject matter. There is nothing wrong with recycling old material if it was effective in the past, giving you back much needed time.
Ask for Help
Sometimes the best thing you can do to cut down time is simply asking your team for help. Whether this means reaching out to fellow trainers or asking other departments for insight to cut down your research time – use your team when you can.
Your colleagues function as subject matter experts in terms of their individual departments and experiences, so ask them what they think you could cut down on in training, what they wish they had learned more of, or what aspects of their departments are crucial to highlight. Asking for help can be a major time saver and ultimately improve the quality of your materials.
Effective and continuous training is a critical component of a successful business. Trainers are tasked with the difficult job of creating materials that are not only engaging but thorough and time-sensitive. While this is an extremely important responsibility, there is no reason content creation should require constantly result in staying up late at the office. Keeping these tips in mind can help trainers cut down on the time it takes to produce training materials while still retaining all the most important elements.