Enterprise training is easier than ever in some ways ― and as difficult as it has always been in others.
It’s easier than ever in that modern LMS platforms offer many tools to make deploying and managing your own eLearning portal and editing training content a piece of cake.
But it’s also as difficult as it has always been, in the sense that it’s still up to you – the instructor or training content creator – to write quality content and to guide the learners successfully through it.
And as we will show in this post, there are several potential traps for a new eLearning program developer to fall in ― and some things that can trouble even seasoned enterprise training instructors.
Let’s have a look at the 6 most common enterprise training mistakes — and how to avoid them.
1. Not knowing your stuff
The cardinal sin of enterprise training (or any kind of training for that matter) is attempting to teach others without really knowing the subject matter yourself.
You simply cannot cheat your way out of this: to be able to create content that others can learn from, you need to know what you’re talking about.
That’s the case even if you only plan to copy and quote already existing content (e.g. some instructional books or posts on the subject), because even if you’re not writing new content yourself, you will still need to be able to evaluate what you’re quoting. And when the training starts, your learners will also need you to be able to clarify things for them.
2. Not knowing your staff
Another grave enterprise training mistake is not knowing your learners — the employees that you’re tasked to train.
This is not about knowing them personally, of course, but about not knowing their current skills, knowledge levels, and learning capacity (so that you can plan your training program to accommodate for those).
These tools are not meant to be used only during the training program — you can leverage them to understand your learners before training starts, and even before you start writing your content.
3. Boring content
You can’t train anyone if they’re not paying attention, and even less so if they are half-asleep. One of the gravest enterprise training mistakes, thus, is to bore your learners.
Just because we’re talking about business training it doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun and engaging. Which is why businesses increasingly adopt Gamification techniques for their corporate training programs: there’s nothing like a little competition and scorekeeping to motivate your learners, whether they are 10, 20, or 60 years old.
Adding some multimedia content also helps — video, pictures, and interactive widgets always beat endless bullet-ridden PowerPoint slides in the engagement department.
That said, one of the most powerful aspects of getting your learners’ attention is to pose your training material in the form of a story or a longer narrative.
Humans are culturally wired to pay attention to stories far more than they are inclined to listen and memorize raw facts and statistics. Which is why presenting your content in the form of hypothetical real-world scenarios and cautionary tales is a good way to make it stick to your learners’ heads.
4. Instructors without passion
Sometimes it’s not the content, it’s the person.
A common enterprise training mistake that can occur in Instructor-led Training (e.g. a classroom-based session or an online webinar) is to have great content that is lost on the learners because of a bad delivery on the part of the instructor.
Your tone of voice, your presence in the classroom or your vibe on the screen can dramatically affect your learners’ interest (or lack thereof). Genuinely being excited about what you want to teach, and being able to communicate the relevant concepts clearly, will help with better learner engagement and increased knowledge retention.
To put it simply, your learners won’t care about their training, if their instructor doesn’t care about it either.
Besides being animated and enthusiastic about the subject (which is not always easy depending on the industry — how enthusiastic can one be when teaching e.g. corporate accounting?), what also helps is being able to show your learners how what you teach applies to their job and how it helps them solve their problems.
Nobody likes abstract theorizing and rote learning — so tie what you teach to their professional needs and experiences.
5. Ignoring your learners
Just because you do the teaching doesn’t mean you know all the answers.
Assuming the instructor is some kind of absolute authority that can’t ever be wrong is wrong even if you’re teaching first-grade kids — doubly so if you’re doing corporate training.
Our fifth enterprise training mistake, then, is not paying attention to what your learners have to teach you — and not enabling them to enrich the training program and benefit from each other’s experience.
After all, you might be doing the teaching, but they are the ones really going out there and practicing their craft, day in and day out. Oftentimes their practical experience will contradict what the training content has to say — either because it doesn’t account for some newer developments, or because it simply doesn’t cover every angle.
Letting your learners engage and do part of the teaching goes beyond knowing about their skills and capacity (which we covered in section two) and has multiple benefits.
For one, it’s a very effective way to make them feel more engaged — and naturally so since they’re actively being engaged in sharing their experience.
Second, it’s a great way to add real-life insight on top of your pre-prepared curriculum (and it can inspire additions to your base content). And, third, it serves as a form of knowledge transfer among your employees.
6. Missing the point
Having engaging and well-written content is important, but what good is it really if that content isn’t relevant to your company’s business’ objectives?
Remember, as a corporate training instructor you’re not there to teach subject X. You’re there to teach just enough of subject X so that your learners will be more productive employees and will help the company achieve its goals.
Anything that’s too academic, theoretic, or doesn’t help with the company’s bottom line shouldn’t really be part of the curriculum. And what’s left should also be simplified, distilled, and re-written so that it fits an audience of professional corporate employees trying to get better at their jobs.
This also means that shortcuts, cliff-notes and everything else that makes your learners’ lives easier, are welcome. Theoretical purity is nice in the academic world, but not being pragmatic is a costly enterprise training mistake.
While LMSs have made corporate training immensely easier, there are still some things that are up to the ones responsible for designing, implementing and teaching a corporate training program.
Eventually, it’s still up to the instructional designer to understand the company’s goals and its target audience, as well as to know their subject and to be able to present it well. Pending some AI revolution, your LMS won’t help you with those things yet.
That said, LMS features such as eFront’s multimedia and rich H5P content support, or its gamification engine, will help you create training content that’s fresh and engaging. Plus, features like Surveys and Reports will also help you gather learner feedback and finding trouble spots in your content. Or you could cheat and use professionally made commercial courses, such as those available in the eFront Marketplace.
Whichever the case, we hope that our handy list of the six most common enterprise training mistakes will help you identify and fix any such fundamental problems with your training program, and step up your training game.