Effective Training Techniques: tell me, show me, and now have me do it!

Written By: Josh Behl

from March 28, 2012

So, you have implemented your form customizations, migrated your data, and from a technical perspective, you have crossed the proverbial t’s and dotted the i’s; however, how do you plan on getting people to use it?!  While Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a certainly a very flexible and functional application; it is aesthetically interesting; and one may say pleasing to the eye, it is certainly not the Field of Dreams. In other words, just because you build it, they are not necessarily going to come and use it.  (For those of you born after 1989 or a bit before, you may have totally lost that movie reference) so, what are you to do?  Well, a well thought out training plan is a place to start.  However, all too often this is a thought that comes up in the latter parts of a project and unfortunately becomes more of a demo than “training”.  The purpose of my article is not to espouse to you a prescribed training plan or to tout this training organization or that one.  My purpose is to call out some techniques that may make even the most haphazardly presented training more effective.

Having trained hundreds of people over the years (dare I say nearly 1000 or more? …I lost track), I have found that when training people the most effective approach is this:

     1.       Tell them what you are going to train them on (Auditory)

     2.       Show them what  you are going to train them on (Visual)

     3.       Have them try it on their own (Hands On/Touch)

The most effective training and trainers combine all three of these. Think of your most vivid memories.  As we look back we remember what we saw, what we smelled, what we tasted, what we touched and what we heard.  Invoking multiple senses when experiencing something better enables that experience or the information to sink in and be recalled at a later time.

Learning technology is the same! While it is most effective to engage, sight, sound, and touch in our training it is often difficult or not possible to incorporate taste and smell. Thank goodness.  Although I have seen some training centers try to leverage smell and taste into the whole experience by peddling fresh baked cookies and such. Now, if I can only get a training center to cook bacon and fresh bread while I train my classes…..we would be in like Flynn!