5 Ways to Utilize E-Learning Games in Employee Training

In the ever-changing world of technology, the race to stay up to date is an exhausting feat. Modern learners are bombarded with texts, emails, phone calls, push notifications, and all kinds of digital distractions throughout the day. Simplifying the training experience is pinnacle to both effective learning and knowledge retention. Integrating eLearning games into your training increases training interactions by 3x, improves knowledge from beginning to end by 64%, and boosts employee engagement (who doesn’t love a good competition?).

Gamification in Business

Gamification is a buzzword these days as one of the most popular learning styles for both learners and educators. Gamification is the application of game mechanics in non-gaming contexts, such as employee training, to increase engagement. Examples of game mechanics include badges, points, levels, and leaderboards. 

corporate university meister learning retention triangle data

Statistically speaking, people only retain about 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear/see. Corporate Universities author, Jeanne Meister, notes compelling evidence for incorporating gamification in business today:

“Interactive learning games can increase long-term retention rates by up to 10 times.”

5 eLearning Games

In a previous blog, we talked about some questions to consider before introducing games in training. The question isn’t if your organization should introduce games, but how. To understand how you can start utilizing eLearning games in employee training, consider the following.

1. Jeopardy!®

Documenting all of the ins and outs of company products, policies, and best practices could quickly fill a 50-page manual; thankfully, those are long gone! Use the traditional Jeopardy!® format to train employees and reinforce specific topics, relevant to various job descriptions. Assess both hard skills and soft skills with customizable categories to fit your company’s needs.

Jeopardy!® for training includes all of the same rules as the top-rated quiz show on TV with wagers, Double Jeopardy!®, Final Jeopardy!®, and “Daily Doubles.” For cybersecurity training, the categories might be “Passwords,” “Don’t Do This,” and “Crack The Code.” The possibilities are endless and employees will most likely be familiar with the game rules making adoption easy.

2. Recall

Everyone learns differently, so using a mix of training games supports a range of employee learning styles. Recall uses visual learning to test employees’ ability to memorize using videos and images. 

For instance, the game will display a picture, such as a work environment, without giving the player any hint as to what they need to remember. The player is then challenged to recall specific details about what they just saw during a series of questions testing memorization and retention.

3. Trivia

Not a good test taker? No problem. Trivia transforms the negative sentiments around assessments into an exciting, competitive game using points, timers, and leaderboards. Employees are more engaged when tests are gamified into trivia questions. 

Trivia helps learners make the right decisions, faster. Use Trivia to test product knowledge, terminology, encourage asymmetrical thinking (i.e. Think Outside™ the box) and improve retention.

4. Scenarios

Product knowledge and negotiations can be difficult to practice when there is no application for on-the-job instances. Virtual scenarios provide employees the opportunity to learn in a fail-safe setting before being in the “real world.” 

Scenarios are a great training type for customer service representatives, salespeople, and management. Gamified scenarios allow employees to step into the shoes of a virtual character and engage in different conversation paths to test soft skills. Realistic, contextual simulations also help to assess cause and effect decision making.

5. Scramble

New job, new everything. A new employee can feel like they just walked into a foreign country as they begin integrating into the workplace. Colleagues may seem to be speaking another language if new hires are not well prepared with training. Onboarding is an important process to effectively equip new hires, but it doesn’t have to be all mundane.

Scramble is a great resource for terminology and can be played in two ways: Word Scramble and Sentence Scramble. Sentences are either written with a word missing or laid out in a word bank where players are challenged to correctly reorganize them. Learners are tested on knowledge retention whether they are new or seasoned employees.

Game On

Gamified learning management systems (LMS) motivate learners to excel, progress, and achieve final outcomes with anticipation. Each game is easily tracked for robust reporting on an individual or team data. Identify knowledge gaps, improve retention, and empower employees with more effective training experiences. 

When gamification is implemented into eLearning, companies increase employee engagement by 60% and improve productivity by 50% (eLearning Learning). Who’s ready for a performance review now? At Unboxed Training & Technology, we offer a full list of customizable employee training games. Learn more about how to level up your training with eLearning games by watching our Beyond Gamification webinar!

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Humanizing the Virtual Classroom: Using Tools to Drive Real-Time Connection

Every day more companies make the switch to virtual classrooms to save time and money on things like airfare, lodging, and meals. While the shift to virtual eliminates these expenses, some worry it comes at the cost of face-to-face, real-time human connection, but it doesn’t have to.

You can have a similar level of interaction in a virtual classroom using software like Adobe Connect or WebEx Training Center, but you have to use them wisely for your training to be effective. According to ATD, 80 percent of online presenters use fewer than 25% of the interactive features available in these type of platforms. This somewhat disconcerting statistic is how virtual classrooms got the reputation of being less human. Because let’s face it, learners don’t like to be talked at, they like to be engaged.

 

Tools to Use in a Virtual Classroom

Here are the tools you can use to create a sense of human connection and boost engagement in your virtual classroom.

Foster Personal Connections with Webcams

To help boost that face-to-face connection, have the facilitator use their webcam to introduce themselves at the beginning of the session. To boost credibility, start out with who they are, an explanation of their role, and how long they’ve been with the company. Then, dive into something more fun. Have them share a joke, their greatest success, or an anecdote about the training topic.

Using the webcam functionality builds trust, drives connection, and humanizes the facilitator.

Then, take it to the next level by asking any guest presenters, or even learners, to use their webcams too. If it’s a smaller training session, you could use the webcams for the duration. If it’s a larger group, use it strategically when someone needs to share something with everyone in attendance.

 

Encourage Groupwork in Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow you to divide participants into smaller groups and give them their own private virtual space to collaborate on an assigned activity. The word private here is key. Think about an in-person session where there are multiple groups in a classroom. Each group can hear the chatter from the others and may be inclined to copy their answers rather than come up with their own.

The independent thinking that virtual group work requires boosts participation, engagement, and retention.

In a virtual classroom, the option to copy other groups disappears, pushing your learners to come up with their own unique answers. Once the activity’s time is up, just pull everyone back in the main room and have each group share what they discussed. You’ll be surprised by what each group is able to come up with.

 

Garner Participation with Polls

Polls are a great way to build human connection. Just send out a question, set a timer, and wait for the responses to start pouring in. As you close a poll, it’ll generate group-wide results you can share with your learners. From there, invite the group to discuss their reaction to the results. This open conversation helps learners forge connections with each other, but also form a sense of belonging in the larger group.

You can ask all sorts of questions with this functionality. One of our favorites is using the polls to gauge comfort level with some of the training topics. Use the poll to check comprehension of a topic you just taught or start the session by sending out a poll to gauge how much learners know about a topic upfront. That way you know what content to review and what you can skim over if everyone’s already got it down.

 

Gauge Emotion with Emojis

We use emojis on our phones every day to show people how we feel. Maybe we’re sending the cry-laughing face in response to a joke or a heart to someone we love. The same principle applies here, but it has powerful learning implications.

At the beginning of a session, give a few emojis a designated purpose. For example, in WebEx you can use the green check and the red “X” for a variety of purposes. It could be how they respond when you pose a True/False question (check for “true”, “x” for “false”), based on comprehension (check means they understand, “x” means they don’t), and so much more. Emojis provide powerful, yet fun, visual cues for how people are feeling.

 

Facilitate Conversation Through Chat

Use the chat functionality to send a message to individuals, all participants, or just the session leader. Again, this comes in handy when someone has a question or needs help, but learners can also use it to submit responses.

Say you want your sales leaders in attendance to share the greatest opportunity for their respective sales teams – why not ask them to send in their responses via chat? If a response comes in and you want to hear more about it, just call on that learner, unmute their line, and ask them to tell you more. By engaging with the responses you see, you’re bridging the gap and forming a human connection by acknowledging someone’s point of view.

When you’re building out instruction for a virtual classroom, keep all of these tools in mind and do your best to use as many of these interactions as possible. Whether it’s chat, webcams, polls, or emojis, these little touch points go a long way to making your virtual classroom feel more authentic, and most importantly, more human.

 

Need help?

If you need a hand with the writing or strategy piece of your virtual training, reach out to us. We geek out over this sort of stuff and would love to partner with you.

 

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Training Delivery Methods: Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

Content is a huge focus in the training world, though it’s really only one part of the learning equation. The magic happens, though, when strong content is shared through the most effective training delivery methods, enabling the message to be absorbed, retained, and implemented by learners.

Whether your aim is to impart knowledge, sharpen skills, or adjust behaviors, there are a lot of different methods of training delivery to choose from. But there’s no silver bullet. In fact, data continues to prove a blended approach, incorporating more than one modality to deliver your content, increases retention by up to 60%.

So, how do you determine the most effective training delivery methods for your needs? Start by considering the options available and how they align with your goals, audience, and content.

Below is a list of our recommendations.

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    Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

    Training Delivery Methods for Building Knowledge

    When we speak about training for knowledge, we’re referring to helping learners understand the what and the why of a concept. To tackle these topics, the training delivery methods we recommend hinge greatly on well-organized information and storytelling. These include:

    •  Podcasts
    Borrowing from the popular media format, Podcasts are an excellent way to educate team members, allowing them to absorb information at their own pace in a familiar style.

    •  Infographics
    Visual tools help to reinforce concepts, and the Infographic remains a popular delivery method as it clearly outlines vital data and information in a memorable and engaging way.

    •   Animations
    Another popular visual option, Animations are a great way to educate learners. By imparting critical information in an entertaining way, you can increase both retention and engagement.

    •   Group Discussions
    Part team-building, part training, Guided Group Discussions are a great way to build relationships among team members while educating them on key concepts.

    •   Interactive Training Tools (Pitch)
    These interactive modules from Unboxed’s Training Technology team organize key concepts in an interactive, data-based tool, making it effective for knowledge acquisition and knowledge sustainment (refresher training).

    Training Delivery Methods for Improving Knowledge & Skills

    Building on those, there are several modalities that bridge both knowledge and skills, helping learners to understand the how behind the what and the why. This category of modalities includes:

    •   Instructor-Led Trainings (in-person or virtual)
    Instructor Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) allows you to build upon learned knowledge by giving learners a chance to put knowledge and skills into practice through classroom activities.The bonus of vILT is it allows you to reach learners near and far with training that’s as equally engaging, interactive, and effective as in-person training — without the pricey travel costs.

    •   Interactive Learning Guides
    Self-paced and fully interactive, our Interactive Learning Guides (ILG) keep learners engaged at every step. With a modern, web-like interface, video, animation, gamification, and interactive exercises, ILGs create an engaging experience for learners, making them effective for both knowledge and skills training.

    •   Videos
    Taking cues from what many learners engage in on their own time, training videos are an incredibly popular choice to help learners improve their skills in addition to reinforcing their knowledge.

     

    Training Delivery Methods for Sharpening Skills & Behaviors

    Moving further into training for skills, the delivery methods below allow you to focus more deeply on the tactical responsibilities of your team. These modalities also lend themselves to training for behaviors, educating learners on the action taken, and include:

    •   Group Participation, Hands-On Activities, Role Plays, On-the-Floor Training, Mentor Shadowing
    Each of these training delivery methods differs in their approach but share the same goal: to allow team members to improve their skills in settings and situations where they actually use them.

     

    Training Delivery Methods for Shaping Behaviors

    Behavior-specific training goes one step further, allowing you to work with team members to help them make changes in their interactions, approaches, and performance with direct feedback. There are two modalities that are ideal for this type of training, these are:

    •   Huddles
    Combining the benefits of group participation, hands-on activities, and role play along with direct coaching, Huddles are an excellent training method to help shape and improve behaviors.

    •   Video Simulations
    Offering the same advantages of a Huddle, Video Simulations allow geographically dispersed teams the opportunity to observe team member behavior and coach them to be more effective in their approach.

     

    Need Help?

    We recognize there are a lot of options out there, but choosing a training method doesn’t need to be a chore. We can help you analyze and understand both your goals and content to select the best option for your needs. Reach out to schedule some time with our Training Content Strategists to learn more.

    Want to know more about choosing a training method? Download our free guide!

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    LMS vs. LXP: How and Why They’re Different

    Learning and Development (L&D) is an industry that loves acronyms – for learning platforms alone we’ve got LMS, LXP, IOL, SEP….the list, like the Energizer Bunny, goes on and on. For a lot of folks, the distinction between them is a bit hazy, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Experience Platform (LXP or LEP), the difference is simple – it boils down to who controls the content and the learning journey.

    Let’s break down the key differences and why they matter.

     

    The Basics: Defining Key Terms

    Learning Management System (LMS) is a common industry term. It’s what most people think of when they think of a training platform. The traditional approach, an LMS is the software where you house, deliver, and track your training content.

    Learning Experience Platform (LXP or LEP) is a newer term by comparison. It’s a platform where content is both curated and aggregated for personalized learner experience.

    Everything you need, nothing you don't

    The Spoke® learning platform provides a seamless experience between formal and informal learning. The results are 5.5x increase in training completion rates and 4x more user engagement.

    Who Controls the Content

    In an LMS, the LMS administrator controls the content.  That could be someone in HR, someone on the leadership team, or a trainer. This individual uploads courses into the LMS and makes them available to learners.

    This person is typically also in charge of approving any user-generated posts that would appear within the system. If a learner asks a question, the admin must approve it before it appears for the general population. Think of this admin as the dam. They control the volume and flow of the content and hold back anything that isn’t essential. In an LMS, the admin has complete power over the content.

    Meanwhile, in an LXP, everyone helps curate the content. That means someone in HR may post something, but so could your field sales rep or front-desk team member. That’s because LXPs are built to be content aggregators; basically, the platform is a catchall for any content your team decides is valuable.

    With LXPs, the content is less curated than an LMS. It’s more like an open frontier.

    Since anyone in the system can add content, LXPs typically contain internal training, external resources, and loads of user-generated content. In that way, LXPs house much more diverse content and can foster more interaction between learners. For example, one learner may leave a comment on a training they found helpful or post a link to a URL that taught them something new. When another learner logs in, they see the comment or URL and are more willing to engage with it – that’s because it came from their peer in the same role, so it’s validated by someone else who does the same job and has the same needs.

    Considering that roughly 70-90% of learning happens informally (peer-to-peer or on-the-job), it’s no real surprise that the social engagement that comes so naturally in an LXP is helping this type of platform gain traction.

     

    Who Controls the Journey

    As you can probably imagine, the content and the journey are closely related. In an LMS, just like the content, the learning journey is created by someone else – everything the learner experiences is carefully curated by someone else (the admin).

    That means that, in an LMS, learners follow what is essentially a map of exactly what they’re expected to take and when. For example, in Q1 they have to take security training and in Q2 harassment training. Their path is laid out before them and they just need to complete each gated milestone to get to the finish line. The upside here is that learners know exactly what their next steps are and when they need to complete them. In terms of compliance, it’s easy to see if a learner has or has not completed the required training – that way if anyone isn’t compliant, it’s easy for you to see and address.

    By contrast, the LXP lacks that clear delineation and focuses instead on the learning process itself – that’s because, in an LXP, discovering yourself, your skills, and your passions is what the journey is all about. LXPs allow for greater freedom for the learner to pursue their areas of interest. In this way, LXPs are much more focused on personalization (a growing trend in the industry).

    For example, LXPs enable learners to navigate through all of the content that’s available and pick what they want to learn about. This self-directed learning is what personalization is all about! The benefit of this personalization is that learners will be more engaged with the content because it’s things they actually WANT to learn, not just things they have to.

    Basically, LMSs are better suited for mandatory training, like compliance, because learners must complete specific, predetermined steps to be successful. In an LXP, the learner steers the ship and instead focuses on seeking out their own personal interests and professional development. That’s why LXPs are considered more experience-driven, whereas LMSs are more about compliance and checking those mandatory boxes.

    In a nutshell, the LMS puts the power in the hands of the administrator while the LXP gives it to the learner.

    So why’s it matter? Truth is, in today’s market, learners are used to having a wealth of information at their fingertips. In their personal lives, they seek out podcasts that align with their interests, influencers who share their hobbies, and news that gets to the heart of what they care about. While compliance training will never go away, the rise of personalized content is impossible to ignore.

     

    So how do you decide what’s right for you?

    Since learning platforms aren’t one-size-fits-all, it’s important for your individual organization to let your needs steer the type of learning platform you pursue. In general, most companies have to have mandatory trainings (i.e. compliance), but also want learners to have self-directed access to materials that align with their learners’ professional curiosity and development – if this sounds like you, you’ll want to consider having both platforms available to your learners.

    If you’re still stuck trying to figure out what you need, contact us or attend one of our weekly webinars to see Spoke LMS in action.

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    3 Things to Consider for Voice Over in eLearning

    There’s a lot to consider when creating an effective eLearning course. Which platform do you want to use to build it? Does it need to be mobile responsive? What type of interactivity do you need? Do you need eLearning voice over? The list goes on and on.

    When it comes to deciding if you should use eLearning voice over, consider what are the goals you want to achieve and if audio will enhance the learning experience. Voice over is an important element that can help your training feel inclusive and boost engagement and retention.

    When you’re ready to think over whether or not you need voice over in your eLearning, consider the following.

     

    1. Think About Accessibility

    Arguably the most important piece of the puzzle is whether or not your training needs to be accessible.  If accessibility is a consideration, eLearning voice over is a must. Consider this, roughly 19 percent of the U.S. population has a disability according to the U.S. Census Bureau – that’s nearly 1 in 5 people.

    That means, when you consider your workforce, you’ll want to take special care when developing your training to make sure it’s as effective and inclusive of different learning styles and needs as possible. Having narration or eLearning voice-over for learners who have vision loss or dyslexia can help ensure everyone has access to the training in a way that’s best for them. For this audience, the audio is exceptionally important because it could be the primary way they’ll consume the information.

    Not just that, it’s also required by law in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Even though this law only applies to U.S. Federal Agencies, it is becoming a standard consideration across the L&D industry. So while creating accessible content entails a lot more than just adding audio, it is an important part of the process and one you can’t ignore.

     

    2. Consider Modern Learning Trends

    Today’s average learner consumes more information than ever before, using all sorts of technologies and platforms. (think curated news feeds,  AirPods, Google Assistants, etc.). But what does that mean for training?

    Your training needs to cater to how the modern learner prefers to consume information.

    Consider how many of your friends and colleagues listen to podcasts. How does that compare to the number who read newspapers or watch the news regularly? Chances are, podcasts are way more popular. Why is that?

    The landscape is changing. The modern learner is tired of old school methods of consuming information. Instead, they prefer to multi-task and consume information on-the-go. By incorporating eLearning voice-over or narration, you’re catering to those who prefer to consume information by listening.

    If you can, weave short podcasts or other engaging voice over into your eLearning to help it feel sleek, contemporary, and engaging. Your learners will be able to listen to the training during the morning commute or when they’re driving from site to site. It’ll be more efficient for their schedules, more effective, and much more memorable—and being memorable is how you boost retention.

     

    3. Using eLearning Voice Over to Simplify the Complex

    The last thing to consider is the complexity of the information you’re teaching. If you’re covering complicated topics or providing detailed directions, using audio can help to simplify and humanize your content.

    Think about it. Would you rather read a long drawn-out paragraph about a complicated topic or would you prefer to hear it explained while looking at a visual? Reading long chunks of content is exhausting and the modern learner just isn’t going to do it.

    Instead, consider creating a visual to convey part of the information and using voice over as an added layer of detail. It will seem a lot less daunting to your learners than a big paragraph and we guarantee, if the voice over is written well, it will boost retention.

    The more ways you use to convey information, the more likely it is to stick.

    Don’t believe us? Read this article about a study where learners were divided into groups: those who watched a silent animation, then heard the narration, those who heard the narration, then watched the animation and those who watched both at the same time. As you can imagine,  the group who did both simultaneously did best.

    Is accessibility important in your training? Do you need your training to be easy to access on-the-go? Do you need to convey complex information? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, eLearning voice over is a must.

    Need help strategizing or building the training itself? We can help. With over a decade of experience, we can help identify the perfect blend of modalities for your training needs. We even have relationships with professional voice over artists who can bring your content to life. Give us a call!

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    Why Your Best Individual Contributor Isn’t Ready to be a People Manager

    If you’re a leader in your organization, chances are you’re able to pinpoint your top performer. It’s only natural to want to reward that team member with a promotion and give them a platform to make more waves within your organization. But have you stopped to consider that, according to ATD, 60% of people managers underperform or fail within their first two years?

    Where does this 60% rate come from? By promoting your best individual contributor, you’re asking them to work with a new set of skills. They’re filling a role they may not be prepared for and your remaining team is scrambling to fill the gap.

    So,  before you jump to handing out that promotion, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.

     

    Are They Prepared to be a People Manager?

     

    People Manager Leadership 1

    Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, your top contributor has “a very particular set of skills.” But how many of these skills transfer to the role of a people manager?

    It goes back to the concept of Maker versus Manager. Your best individual contributor is a Maker—they focus on creating a specific product or owning a specific service. Managers on the other hand focus on the organization as a whole, company and team goals, and the professional development of their direct reports.

    That means your team member will go from day-to-day tasks that focus on creating or making, to a role that’s focused on owning the professional development and performance of other employees — and with that comes a complete shift in their schedules, too. They’ll go from large blocks of brainstorming and heads down time to a calendar full of performance reviews, 1:1s with their direct reports, and ongoing strategy meetings.

    This change can be jarring. The stress that comes with being promoted outside of their skill set could mean they begin to feel (for the first time) they aren’t excelling in their role. That sense of personal disappointment leads to a lack of fulfillment and, ultimately, the end of that top performer’s journey with your organization.

    A Grovo survey of 500 managers found that 87 percent of managers wish they’d had more training before their promotion.

    To help set the employee up for success, offer them a leadership training program to build key people management skills. The training should be multi-faceted and should include self-paced courses, coaching via 1:1 meetings, videos or simulations. Across these modalities, you’ll want to teach your team member the best ways to give feedback, build up their coaching skills, and remind them the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication styles and emotional intelligence.

    Are You Prepared to Fill the Void?

    Pulling your best individual contributor away from the day-to-day tasks they’ve come to be so good at means you should have a plan in place for how you’ll fill that gap. If you don’t, you may see an impact on your business in terms of quality and service speed, and your customers may even take notice.

    You also don’t want your other team members to feel overburdened once you’ve promoted your top performer. If they do, there’s a trickle-down effect that could mean an increase in stress level and decrease in morale.

    In order to get ahead of those concerns, make sure you have training in place to help the other team members level up to match the top performer’s current skills.

    Their training should be targeted to the specific role and level you’re trying to fill. To kick off the training, use a Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (or BARS Chart) to define what not acceptable, good, and great looks like in that vacant role. Then, use it to gauge where your current team members fall and create targeted improvement plans based on their areas of opportunity.

    For added sustainment, use a 30, 60, 90-day action plan to help set milestones and measure achievements as they work to improve their skills according to that BARS Chart. Then, meet with these employees at the 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day benchmarks to see if they’re tracking on their current goals.

    To be sure you’re ready to make that staffing change, you have to do everything you can to prepare and get ahead of that 60% statistic. This means investing in developing your top performer’s leadership skills and training their replacement. This two-pronged training approach is essential to making sure the transition for your best individual contributor and your team as a whole is as smooth as possible.

    Need a hand? We have over a decade of training experience and can help find the perfect blend of training for your unique situation. Want to hear more about self-paced course options, videos or simulations, BARS Charts, or 30, 60, 90-day action plans?  Give us a call.

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