How to create engaging training on dull topics
Let’s face it: Some training topics just aren’t that interesting. Courses on your code of ethics or safe lifting practices aren’t typically edge-of-your-seat content.
But just because your training topic is a little dry and uninspiring doesn’t mean that your training will be, too! With the following tips, you can turn even the dullest of topics into effective learning experiences that entice and engage your learners.
Focus on presentation
While you may not be able to make all of your training topics more exciting, you can change how you present information to your learners. Let’s explore some things that can help:
Include only the content that’s most relevant and useful.
When you’re evaluating which content to include in your training, sort it into two categories: need-to-know and nice-to-know. You can reference or link to nice-to-know content in your training, but it’s the need-to-know information that should be the star of the show!
Write in a way that speaks to your learners.
The quality of your writing can dramatically improve the appeal of even the dullest content. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Shorten and rewrite lengthy text. Some types of training, like compliance training, use source material that’s full of lengthy legalese that can be hard to understand. Lighten your learners’ cognitive load by rephrasing the content in a way that’s easier for them to absorb and apply to their jobs.
- Put learners in control. Instead of using static blocks of text, use different layouts, interactions, and content types that let learners explore content instead of just reading it.
When you use an all-in-one training solution like Rise, you can apply layout options like tabs, accordion blocks, and list blocks to break up content into more manageable chunks. You can even add audio, video, and images to enhance your writing. (We’ll talk more about using visuals to jazz up your training in just a moment!)
- Use a warm and conversational tone. No one wants to slog through content that sounds like it was written by (or for) a robot. Use contractions and address the reader as “you” to keep the tone more casual and personal.
- Add some personality. Don’t be afraid to add a little personality, candor, or even some well-placed humor to drive home key points, when appropriate. People are much more likely to connect with the information you’re sharing—and find it more credible—when you frame it in a way that feels authentic.
Include some interactivity
Imagine for a moment that you’ve been asked to take your company’s code of ethics training, and it’s delivered to you with a PowerPoint deck and a speaker who narrates everything you can see on the screen. Not exactly exciting, is it? The content of that training could be very well-written, but by the end of it, you probably won’t be able to recall much of what you were told because you really weren’t invited to participate in your learning experience. It was passive, and the only thing you’ll likely remember is that you got through it!
The fact is, it takes more than words to engage people’s brains and help them learn. Engaging learners with your writing is a great start. But to really get them thinking, you need to engage them with activity—or, more accurately, interactivity. Interactions that entice and engage are ones that invite your learners to participate in their own learning experience—to discover, explore, and connect with your content in a meaningful way.
Transforming dull content into engaging interactions doesn’t take a lot; mostly, it involves using a little imagination. For instance, turning that droning PowerPoint on ethical violations into a more meaningful, engaging interaction could involve converting some bullet points into thought-provoking scenarios full of realistic characters and dialogue with feedback. Or, you could do something even simpler and ask learners to identify ethical violations by sorting information.
As you’re considering the apps you’ll use for creating online training, keep these types of interactions in mind. Creating things like scenarios or sorting activities should be quick and easy. With an app like Rise, for instance, developing interactive online training is effortless. Just click to add scenario, sorting, and knowledge check blocks to your lessons. Easily customize these interactive block types with your own content and media. With Rise, rich interactive lessons come together in minutes—and without the need for coding skills.
Use eye-catching visuals
Anyone who’s ever watched one of those nifty explainer or recipe videos on social media knows that eye-catching visuals really do grab your attention and keep it.
The same can be said of using visuals for e-learning. The fact is, people prefer a learning experience that’s more visually rich and compelling. Visuals not only grab your learners’ attention but also invite them to engage with the information you’re sharing.
For online training, visuals typically boil down to two things: images, like illustrations or photos, and video. Let’s talk a little more about each.
Images—whether they’re illustrations or photos—are a great way to set the tone for your online training. And the images you use don’t necessarily need to be purchased from a costly stock image website. There are loads of creative ways to get the images you need. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you explore your options:
- Search for an image style and stick with it throughout your course. There are tons of free images available online. Try to stick with either illustrations or photos as you’re searching. Not sure which is a better fit for your course? There are pros and cons to both. Photos tend to be considered more professional, but illustrations are often easier to find and manipulate. Ultimately, the best idea is to let your subject matter be your guide. The more serious the topic, the more you’ll probably lean towards looking for photos.
- Can’t find the image you want? Create your own. Nowadays, we all have pretty sophisticated cameras in our back pockets! The image quality of many smartphone cameras actually rivals that of traditional, stand-alone cameras used by professional photographers. So, if you’re having trouble finding exactly what you need, don’t rule out taking your own images.
- Use royalty-free, attribution-free images. Tired of scouring the internet for freebies? Save yourself a ton of time with an all-in-one training system that includes access to images, icons, and illustrations. For example, Rise includes millions of royalty-free, attribution-free images that let you spice up your courses visually. You don’t even have to leave the app to do it.
It’s hard to beat video for adding engagement to a dull topic. As you probably know, there are many free videos available online from sites like YouTube or Vimeo that can enhance your online training.
With Rise, you can insert embedded video content right into your lessons and interactions. Or, you can search its business content library, which has loads of engaging, ready-made training lessons full of engaging videos on common business topics like ethics, communication skills, leadership skills, and many others. You can drop these prebuilt video lessons into your courses, and they’re ready to go. No searching for the right free video online. No hiring a professional video crew. You can even customize Rise business content by blending it with your own training content and images.
Whichever type of visuals you choose to use, the smartest move is to be consistent. Pick a style and mood and then stick with it throughout your course to give your training a professional, cohesive look and feel.
By following the tips we’ve shared here—using a winning combination of good writing, meaningful interaction, and cohesive visuals—you, and your learners, won’t have to settle for dull online training.