Storytelling in Training

Storytelling Training 1

Stories have a way of sticking with us. Whether it’s the book on your bedside table, an anecdote shared over coffee, or the latest drama on a favorite TV series, there’s something about a well-told story that captivates.

Entertainment is just a secondary perk, though. The art of storytelling is centuries old, used initially to pass on information from person to person. When we employ the technique in training, we’re looking to capitalize both benefits: spreading knowledge to learners while holding their attention and engaging their interest.

 

Why Use Storytelling

Storytelling is just one of the many tools in our training arsenal. It’s one of our favorites as it allows us to draw on our creativity, however, there are three other core reasons we gravitate toward the solution.

1. Storytelling creates an emotional connection between learners and lessons. As stories draw us in, we continually react, both emotionally and physically as they unfold. Scientists have seen this come alive in brain scans of learners. When presented with narratives and sensory-heavy language, larger portions of the brain are activated than just the language processing areas.

2. Storytelling allows us as content experts to injects creativity and levity into complex, dry topics. From systems to security, we tackle topics that are critical for organizations and learners but may skew a bit boring on the boring side. By transforming facts, processes, and procedures into a narrative, we’re able to hold learner attention longer and boost the likelihood that they’ll actually enjoy their training experience.

3. Storytelling makes content memorable. We want our training to stick. When a learner completes one of our training programs, our intention is that they can take what they’ve learned and immediately apply those skills. Beyond that, we want them to retain that information and be able to carry it through their work for a long period of time, sharing it with other team members as appropriate.

How to Use Storytelling

 

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 Now that you know the value behind the technique, let’s pull the curtain back on some simple best practices for incorporating storytelling into your training:

• Follow the classic story arc. Start with a clear beginning to set the stage for what is to come, introducing concepts and characters on which to build the rest of the story. Create tension or conflict in the middle of the story, resolving it and reinforcing the lesson in the end.

• Be creative. Use relatable characters and probable scenarios to help illustrate the concepts and/or processes that a learner needs to understand. Imagine the learner’s on-the-job experience and look for ways to create an engaging, parallel experience with your content.

• Use descriptive language. Choose phrasing that connects with the senses, describing experiences in terms of the way they look, feel, smell, sound, or taste.

• Incorporate supporting images. Nothing makes stories come alive like compelling imagery. Whenever possible, incorporate graphics, animation, or live-action visuals to better illustrate concepts and provide some visual support for what is happening in your narrative.

Regardless of the modality your training employs, consider ways you might incorporate these concepts into its construction. That’s the approach we take, looking for opportunities to inject our signature creativity into our content to engage learners and drive results.

 

Storytelling in Practice

When it comes to using storytelling in training, we’ve found that simulations lend themselves particularly well to the approach. These choose-your-own-adventure style trainings allow learners to explore different pathways and their results with no actual risk.

We recently built a pair of simulation videos for a real estate leasing company as part of a multi-modality curriculum focused on their new sales method. The videos followed the actions of a leasing agent as she worked to fill a unit in her community.

Throughout each, we created opportunities for learners to choose how to approach various points of conflict within the process. A play off of ‘Million Dollar Listing,’ the project allowed us to pull cultural references and humor into the story, making it particularly relevant to the company’s audience of leasing agents.

Want to see how we can help you take your training to the next level with creative storytelling? Connect with us today.

Unboxed Awarded 2019 Top Workplace

 

Unboxed Training & Technology has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

 

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

 

Brian Leach, CEO and Co-Founder of Unboxed noted, “When Dave Romero and I founded Unboxed Technology in 2009, we wanted to create an extraordinary culture to allow our passions to thrive and our dreams to become reality. We did this for all the people who use (or will use) our products and for our team members. Our extraordinary team defines the personality and strength of Unboxed. We’re so honored to be on this journey together and to be awarded as a Top Workplace in Richmond!”

 

 

About Unboxed Training & Technology

 

Headquartered in Richmond, VA., Unboxed is a leading provider of training and technology solutions that help workforces from start-ups to Fortune 50 achieve results like increases in: sales, employee productivity, and speed to competency.

 

Learn why Unboxed’s people and solutions are not only different but make a difference.

State of the Modern Learner

State of the Modern Learner

Welcome to 2019 – a time when people expect to be entertained. Why should their training be any different? Think about it, according to The Game Agency, on average we consume nearly 11 hours of media each day and shift our attention between our smartphones, tablets, and computers 21 times every hour. With that in mind, it makes sense that your training should grab your learners’ attention quickly, hold it long enough to make an impact, and above all else, be so entertaining that they want and enjoy it – even with seemingly infinite media options at their fingertips.

Distracted… but Want to Learn

Who are these modern learners that are overwhelmed with entertainment choices all throughout the day? They’re consuming information in shorter, more personalized, more engaging ways. When seeking new information, they’re likely to Google something or check out a video on YouTube, but that’s typically done with the intention of using that information right away. What if the knowledge needs to be retained for an extended period of time? Consider, 50% of information is forgotten within one hour without some type of reinforcement training.

 

State of the Modern Learner graph

They also have short attention spans, crave instant gratification, and are distracted – but not too distracted to want to learn. According to Learnkit, 53% of employees feel they could do their job better if they had better training and per Intercall 47% want the freedom to complete that training at their own pace. It follows that in order for training to make sense for the naturally distracted lifestyle of the modern learner, it has to be:

  • High quality
  • Efficient
  • Personalized
  • Available on demand

Competing for Attention

So, when it seems everyone is fighting for the modern learner’s attention, how do we train? With so much time already spent looking at screens, what if you could reach your learners through any and all of their devices? Better yet, what if you could use those devices to teach them while simultaneously entertaining and delighting them? Good news: you can – and you should.

Fun and Games!

For the greatest impact, ensure that your training includes gamification and games that:

  • Transmit information simply
  • Grab your learner’s attention
  • Keeps them engaged
  • And perhaps above all else, helps them reinforce and retain what they’ve learned

Games not only provide an engaging learning experience that can change behaviors and improves comprehension, but thanks to the fun they provide, learners often want to continue learning and thereby reinforce their training.

Secondly, games provide a competitive element that drives action, sustains focus, and heightens attention. Consider these statistics:

  • The average learner will play a game three times during training.
  • On average, they will experience a 64% increase in knowledge from the beginning to the end of a game.
  • Each gameplay session lasts an average of six minutes.

Lastly, training with games provides you with robust reporting and analytics capabilities. Each game can be used to collect player data to help you identify knowledge gaps – thereby enabling you to rework training content to maximize effectiveness.

In short

Modern learners have minimal time to devote to training. They’re working from several locations and expect to access information on-demand. Luckily for them, games are a form of micro-learning that provide quick, compelling training that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This form of training is ideal for the modern learner’s short attention span as the information taught is bite-sized and easy-to-digest. And when people are entertained, they focus and retain information more easily.

Additionally, if an experience is enjoyable, people naturally return for more. Training so good that it compels a return visit increases the odds of retention (and the amount of information that can be retained) – and that’s exactly what the distracted, modern learner needs in 2019.

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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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.
  • Boost
    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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Galileo Maintains Renowned Culture While Moving Training from In-Person to Online with Spoke®

Since 2002, Galileo relied on a two-day, in-person training session to prep their counselors for the coming camp season. But as their team grew to 2,000 plus members, so did the tactical challenges. After trying another industry-leading LMS, Galileo realized they needed a partner who also practiced and supported innovation to support their dynamic learning and teaching environment.


Backstory

Galileo logoGalileo Learning is a summer day-camp provider that offers children pre-K through 8th-grade confidence-building challenges and one-of-a-kind summer fun at over 70 locations in the Bay area, SoCal, and Chicagoland. Their mission: to develop innovators who envision and create a better world.

The curriculum is hands-on, iterative, and designed to reinforce the mindset, knowledge, and process needed to innovate in the modern world. In pre-K, campers may build a functional catapult or design their own space vehicle, all with simple materials. By 8th grade, they may program their own video game, design a fashion line, or build something entirely of their own invention.

“Something powerful happens at Galileo that doesn’t happen at other camps. Kids have fun, but they’re also encouraged to explore and fail without fear, which is the essence of innovation,” says Tom Bowen, Galileo’s Director of Professional Development & Training and Director of Technology.

Opportunity

Only the most talented instructors, counselors, and interns are trained to facilitate Galileo’s innovation approach. Since 2002, they had relied on an all-hands in-person training model of up to 2-days to impart new methodologies and curriculum, exchange experiences and ideas, and strengthen the vision and relationships that facilitate their mission.

Galileo Spoke News Post

The yearly meeting was enjoyed and cherished, especially by returning staff, but as Galileo grew to over 2,000 counselors, so did the tactical challenges. Aside from the time and travel costs, the lectures and break-out sessions had so many attendees that it was difficult to ensure that each trainee’s learning objectives were being met. And, while memories of conference camaraderie lingered, once camp was in session, there was no easy way to revisit key points and best practices covered in training.

“We needed a modern solution that could help us move our training from in-person to online without losing the incredible culture we’re known for. We also needed a way for counselors to access role-based content and answers to their questions on demand. We were concerned a traditional learning management system couldn’t deliver what we needed. I guess we wanted the best of both worlds: the convenience of an online community and an immersive cultural experience – a tall order, ” Tom explained.

“We needed a modern solution that could help us move our training from in-person to online without losing the incredible culture we’re known for. We were concerned a traditional learning management system couldn’t deliver what we needed.

After trying another industry-leading LMS, Galileo soon realized they needed more than “bells and whistles” to support their dynamic learning and teaching environment. They needed a partner who also practiced and supported innovation.

Partnership

Wiser and more determined than ever, Galileo connected with the Unboxed team and soon became convinced that Spoke, Unboxed’s collaborative and social learning management system, met their criteria.

Members of Unboxed’s Spoke team met with the Galileo team to identify and prioritize their goals – and to address obstacles to adoption. For example, the returning group of counselors was a little anxious about losing the connections they made at the annual conference. It was a powerful bonding experience that they were hesitant to give up for an online application.

The Unboxed and Galileo teams partnered together to work towards the solution: relevant content and connections could be developed and accessed on Spoke Community; while the more interactive and improvisational training exercises would be held in-person at each location’s discretion.

Galileo Spoke Training

And to “hook” the skeptics who were missing the action and excitement of the annual get-together, Unboxed recommended tapping into Spoke’s gamification features like Spoke coins, badges, levels, and a competitive leaderboard to spark competition and keep learners motivated.

“It was the perfect solution. And even though we bombarded the Unboxed team with new information and questions as we learned more about Spoke’s capabilities, they were always patient, professional, and as excited as we were. I soon discovered that was typical of the “white glove” service Unboxed delivered.”

“[Spoke] was the perfect solution. And even though we bombarded the Unboxed team with new information and questions as we learned more about Spoke’s capabilities, they were always patient, professional, and as excited as we were. I soon discovered that was typical of the “white glove” service Unboxed delivered.”

Solution

Galileo realized that making gamification the launching pad for Spoke was a stroke of genius. Plus, Spoke’s simple and modern user interface made it easy to navigate and explore all the content, news, eLearning, videos, classroom training, job aids, etc.—all in one place.

Galileo Spoke Devices Lockup

But the real magic happened in the Spoke Community. For the first time, it was easy to connect with and learn from one’s peers, from SoCal to Chicagoland. Now, if a new instructor wanted her kids to build a go-cart and had no idea how to design the steering column, she could simply search or ask for help on Spoke and advice would come in from across the Galileo ecosphere.

Spoke not only facilitated the exchange of knowledge, it created friendships and strengthened the culture. Soon Spoke was no longer viewed as a “second-best” substitute for in-person training, but rather an enhancement and extension that could grow and change with the culture.

Results

For Galileo, it was always important to measure counselor acculturation and training progress, so they appreciated Spoke’s ability to provide metrics and insights into areas like course performance, social participation, and counselor engagement.

Galileo Spoke Dashboard

The benefits of Spoke were almost immediate. Everyone loved the gamification and social elements, and that provided the “gateway” to more logins, higher engagement and, eventually, more training completed.

“We were super excited when Spoke revealed a 15-20% increase in new staff engagement. And while Spoke was busiest before camp started, with staffers completing on average 54 courses each, counselors continued to log in and benefit from Spoke during camp sessions (8.6 per user on average).”

“Honestly, we couldn’t imagine working with a better partner than Unboxed. The entire team consistently has our back. We have a partnership where we have the opportunity to influence the product, and that feels really good as a customer.”

“Honestly, we couldn’t imagine working with a better partner than Unboxed. The entire team consistently has our back. We have a partnership where we have the opportunity to influence the product, and that feels really good as a customer.”

Learn more about Spoke and Galileo Learning.