How to Track Employee Training

Human capital is by far the most valuable asset to most any business. Although an intangible asset, people are a critical component to a business functioning at optimum capacity. People are part of the profit equation, and to make money, you have to spend money. Employees impact customer satisfaction, sales goals, ongoing innovation, company culture, etc. But, in most cases, employees are only as good as they are trained to be. Employee training is an opportunity for businesses to increase the value of their human capital. An employee training tracker is a key component to the training equation because it helps you identify if your employee training is directly increasing employee performance.

Furthermore, investing in employee training is important for the long term growth and success of a healthy business. So you’re probably thinking, “I agree, but how do I know if what I’m investing in is paying off?” We see where you’re coming from. Implementing an employee training plan usually starts with a learning management system (LMS).

Let’s talk about how an LMS transforms and tracks employee training today…

Employee Training Tracking Software

Training employees and tracking their progress is essential to properly evaluate what’s working, what information is not being retained, and what may need to change. To put things in perspective, up to 40% of employees who don’t receive adequate job training quit within the first year. Onboarding is no cheap investment, so when a new hire is made, that employee needs to be set up for success with well-defined job training.

Spoke® LMS

 

Spoke logo

Time for practical advice: The best way to track employee training is with an LMS.  Employee training tracking software, provided by an LMS, helps you collect, deliver, and track your company’s training content. Spoke® LMS is an award-winning, social LMS for the mobile workforce utilizing gamification to engage employees in training.

 

Assessment Builder

To understand the ROI of training, it needs to be accurately tracked. Tests, quizzes, and assessments are all ways for administrators and employees to identify areas for improvement. Spoke’s Assessment Builder is a useful, employee training tracker for both learners and admins to evaluate knowledge retention. 

Easily create assessments, track progress, and note trends to refine your training over time. Additionally, employees have the ability to test out of courses they have mastered to spend more time training on topics they don’t know as well. Gain insights on how effective your training is by retrieving granular data on specific questions or administer surveys for a broader view.

spoke assessment example questions

Assessments are fully customizable and can be required before or after a training. A pre-assessment is a good way to draw a baseline for comparing employees’ results, post-training. Using a tool like Assessment Builder as an employee training tracker is a great way to start evaluating your internal training efforts. The more you measure, the more you know.

Spoke® Reports

Keep track of your team’s overall results or review individual learner data with Spoke® Reports. Robust reporting helps you identify coaching opportunities for learners who have skill gaps and empower teams that need additional training resources. Filter reports by team, region, job code, and organizational hierarchy.

Spoke LMS reporting features

Dial in on course completions, user activity, and course activities. Practical, performance evaluations have never been so easy. Measure ROI with visual, interactive reports and go beyond the basics to discover metrics like social participation and learner engagement.

To grow your business you have to know your business. Access real-time, interactive dashboards, stunning user transcripts, and optional, business intelligence reports. Spoke is completely customizable to fit your business’ branding too, so you get all the credit for employee training satisfaction (don’t worry, we won’t Unbox your secret).

 

The Kirkpatrick Model

Dig a bit deeper into tracking employee training with the Kirkpatrick Model, which identifies four levels of learning evaluation:

kirkpatrick model four levels learning

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we use the Kirkpatrick Model to evaluate the effectiveness of employee training. Tracking employee training can be an elusive topic, but the four levels of learning can be used as guidelines to evaluate employees with some help from Spoke® LMS.

Reaction: Spoke® Surveys

The first level, “Reaction,” is meant to measure the learner’s experience with the training after they have completed a course. Practically speaking, this would look like administering a survey at the end of a training to gauge the employee’s experience. Some example questions could be:

  • How did you like the training? 
  • What did you like about it?
  • Did you enjoy the learning experience?
  • How do you feel post-training?
  • Were you satisfied with the virtual instructor?

Learning: Spoke® Assessments

The second level, “Learning,” tests the employee’s new knowledge to determine the retention of what was learned. A pre-assessment and post-assessment should be administered to properly gauge the level of comprehension.

  • Pre-assessment: ask questions related to the training topic.
  • Post-assessment: ask topical or scenario-based questions directly after the training to test knowledge retention.
    • What new topics did they learn?
    • How well did they acquire this new knowledge?
    • Are they confident in their abilities to execute the job’s task.
  • Compare results.

Behavior: Practical Application

The third level, “Behavior,” is where the post-training application is played out. Interviews and scenario-based assessments are helpful tools when analyzing the effectiveness of training 3-6 months later. Tests and quizzes are not as effective at this level because behavior changes don’t play out on paper. Changes in behavior occur at different times for everyone and typically require a personal follow up at a later date. 

Results: Key Performance Indicators

Positive results are the goal of any employee training initiative. The success of training is seen over time by measuring company sales goals, team efficiency, individual task completion, customer satisfaction, product quality, faster turnaround times, etc. Identify specific, key performance indicators (KPI) to track, measure, and evaluate. Use those KPI’s to determine how successful the training proved to be over a particular time frame. Review the results at an appointed time or during the employee’s end-of-year evaluation.

 

Tell Me More About Spoke® LMS

Every business is unique, but so is every employee. Training should be custom fit to meet the needs of your business and the learning needs of employees. Do you have an employee training tracker to measure results? Is your training doing the job? Are you ready to start making employee training trackable and more impactful? Request a demo of Spoke® or attend an upcoming Spoke® webinar. Our Spokes-people are on standby to show you how Spoke® can help you train better teams today.

Sources: Kurt, S. “Kirkpatrick Model: Four Levels of Learning Evaluation,” in Educational Technology, October 24, 2016. Retrieved from https://educationaltechnology.net/kirkpatrick-model-four-levels-learning-evaluation/

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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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Transforming Account Acquisition for U.S. Banking Giant

Custom Software and Custom Training Solutions

Outdated processes were costing a top-ten US bank both time and money. It’s one of countless times we’ve seen this problem ­– and one of countless times we’ve solved it.

Our approach is different and, once we got the call, both our software and our content teams got to work. Each created a part of a solution that would have been powerful alone, but they were truly remarkable together.

Results:

•  Increased employee speed to competency
•  72% decreased in time to open a new account
•  40% increase in sales when application is used

From the software side, we created an application that replaced an outdated paper system. This modern, dynamic tool helps bankers make recommendations tailored to the customer’s needs. The app also suggests “add-ons” that help customers and boost the bank’s sales. On top of all that, our software reduces the time that it takes for bankers to explain the company’s product offerings and their benefits, so the bankers can see more customers each day.

While the software team did their magic, our content team was hard at work, creating a customized training curriculum. We delivered a program that streamlined the process of working with new customers, giving bankers the confidence they need to use the new tools and close more sales, faster.

Want to learn more? Click here to read the case study.

Case Study

Find out what Unboxed solutions resulted in a 40% increase in sales.

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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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If You Don’t Use the Oxford Comma, Your Words Have No Meaning

Disclaimer!

We at Unboxed personally believe – nay, we KNOW – that the Oxford comma is imperative to good writing. However, many of our clients have style guides that don’t use it. Since we love all our clients, we always follow their style guides before our own.

The debate over whether the Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma, should be included in lists of three (“I ran, showered, and went to the restaurant”) has been raging for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. This blog post makes the case that it should ALWAYS be used. In short, writers, you need to be using the Oxford comma!

Why is the Oxford comma so important?

People often ask grammar geeks why they enjoy grammar. The most common response? Because there is always a right answer. Unlike the majority of our day-to-day lives, where nuance thrives and nothing is black and white, grammar is a welcome respite from this ambivalence. Its strict nature is precisely what allows us to communicate and connect with one another. Without that structure, everyone would always be confused.

With this in mind, rules like the Oxford comma need to be enforced so readers will never be left to wonder about the exact meaning of a sentence. If I write that “I’m going to the beach with Jenny, Rob and Emily,” you probably know what I mean. But if I say, as in the famous (and slightly obnoxious) example, “We invited two strippers, JFK and Stalin,” you cannot LOGICALLY know whether I’m referring to four people or two people.

The Oxford comma has to exist when you don’t need it, so it will always exist when you do need it.

Addressing common (lazy) anti-Oxford justifications

If you have a logical brain, my introduction was probably all you need to read. You can leave this page now. If you’re still on the fence, you may be thinking of one of the following common anti-Oxford arguments:

“But AP Style says…”

It’s true, AP Style does not use the Oxford Comma. Why not, you ask? Well…

“It saves space”

…It’s a space issue. The amount of space that one measly comma took up on a physical newspaper actually used to matter. Did it matter more than making sure the words themselves had meaning? Not in my opinion. But regardless, guess what doesn’t exist anymore? Newsprint. Words are now read in books (which don’t have space restrictions) or on electronic devices, which really don’t have space restrictions. Case closed.

Quick tangent: Newspapers also hated the antiquated “two spaces after a period” rule, again because it saved them space. Unwittingly, they made paragraphs look sleeker and more modern by using only one space. While their reasoning for these two stances was the same, the results were different, because one negatively affected the meaning of sentences, while the other was a positive stylistic upgrade.

“Context”

Someone told me, “Oh, come on. People are smart enough to understand what you mean based on contextual clues.” This is untrue. Context may make a sentence clear most of the time, but:

  • Even though most people can be fairly certain of my meaning, you can’t be 100% sure. You just can’t. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just be sure?
  • The world is a big place with thousands of cultures, and English (for right or wrong) has become the closest thing we’ve ever had to a universal language. Your context in Cleveland is irrelevant to someone in Senegal. Good thing the Oxford comma is there to be a unifying force in our modern world.
  • Context is constantly shifting over time – what’s clear to a millennial is not always clear to a Baby Boomer. And that’s okay, because we can just use the Oxford comma.
“It looks too complicated”

I mean, no it doesn’t. It looks almost exactly the same, with one key difference: we know what it means. What could be more beautiful than clarity?

 

A Closing Challenge

A quick thought experiment: Find me one sentence that is objectively better without an Oxford comma. What does “better” mean? Before anything else, a sentence must be understood by its reader. If it doesn’t achieve that, all the prose chops in the world won’t matter. With that in mind, please find me a sentence missing an Oxford comma that makes more sense than its correct counterpart.

It’s okay, I’ll wait…forever.

About the Author:
Jared Booth is a Content Strategy Manager who partners with clients to strategize and build cutting-edge learning programs. He’d love to chat with you, especially if you disagree with his point of view in this blog post.

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Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

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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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    25 training tips in 25 minutes: best practice

    Find out the shared approaches we’ve seen maximize training outcomes for our clients, and how to incorporate them into your training.

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