More and more corporate training is shifting from being held in a traditional meeting room or classroom to being held online in tools like Zoom or Webex. This was happening even before the pandemic as companies sought ways to save money on travel and other costs associated with “in person” training. Now, of course, it has become a requirement for most companies to hold any training online. Sadly, just like with in person classes, virtual training sessions have many pitfalls that cause disengagement for the learner. Actually, even more so. What can a trainer/facilitator/instructional designer do? Quite a bit, as a matter of fact!
When creating a training class, one of the first questions you might have is how long should the training be? The short answer is…it depends. There are many factors that can contribute to the length of your class. Is it in person? Virtual? Self-paced? Instructor-led? How much content is there? These are all things that can impact the timing. Here are some general guidelines I use for various types of training.
Instructor-Led, In Person: For this type of training, you have the most leeway. Training time can range from 30 minutes to a week or more. It will depend on the training program and what needs to be taught.
Instructor-Led, Virtual: Teaching through the computer is very different from teaching in person. I like to keep a virtual training session to an hour or less. If it needs to be longer, then it needs to be very carefully thought out as to how it will be structured and how you will allow for breaks. I would also consider holding separate one hour modules that are spread out over several days or weeks (depending).
Self-Paced Learning: E-learning courses should usually be around 15 – 30 minutes total. Some self-paced learning such as videos can be a lot shorter: 3 – 5 minutes.
These are just some general guidelines. Read on for more information and details on each training course type.
One of my very first training assignments was teaching new employee orientation at Walt Disney World. That set the bar pretty high as far as fun at orientation. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to help create and teach other companies’ new employee orientations as well. Using what I’ve learned throughout the years, here are seven ways to make your new employee orientation more fun.
- Start with an icebreaker
- Tell stories that illustrate your points
- Use real life scenarios in activities
- Have giveaways to encourage participation
- Play relevant and fun games
- Take a break from the classroom
- Schedule guest speakers
As a corporate trainer, you always need to be on your toes. Part of that includes staying informed and working on improving your skills. Here are five books to help you do just that!
Troubleshooting for Trainers by Sophie Oberstein
Telling Ain’t Training by Harold Stolovitch
Virtual Training Basics by Cindy Huggett
Confessions of a Corporate Trainer by Jonathan Halls
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte
While not a comprehensive list, I think these books are a great starting point for anyone who wants to build their career as a corporate trainer.
Interested in more info about being a corporate trainer? Make sure to check out these articles!
Joining a professional organization can be a very beneficial way to advance your career. Most professions have at least one and corporate training is no exception. Here are a few I have been involved with throughout my career that I think are worth checking out.
If you are interviewing for learning and development jobs, there is a good chance you will be asked to give some kind of presentation. It is particularly likely if the position requires training delivery. This is usually one of the final stages if not the final stage of the process so you want to make sure to get it right.
There are a few key things to keep in mind as you prepare including:
- Picking a topic
I’ve been on both sides of the process and will give you some tips to help you prepare for your training presentation interview.
Even before COVID-19 hit my team was doing a lot of virtual training in the form of webinars, e-learning and mobile learning. After COVID hit that increased as we had to quickly pivot to transform in person learning programs to online. While there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel with more and more people being vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to be prepared to continue with virtual learning for the foreseeable future.
Here are some things you need to do as we all continue to flex.
- Be flexible
- Stay patient
- Maintain positivity
- Keep innovating
- Continue to blend
- Create a transition plan
I fully expect to continue holding classes that were formerly in person online for a while. That being the case, here is my planned approach.
Being a Corporate Trainer can be very exciting. The laughter, the applause, the adulation. At the same time, there is a very real chance of burnout in this role. What are the causes and what can you do about it?
The causes of burnout for a Corporate Trainer can include:
- Constantly Being “On”
- Difficult Participants
- Lack of Control
Some ways to overcome burnout for corporate trainers are to:
- Get Real (with your manager)
- Get Creative
- Get Involved
- Get Away
- Get Out
In my over twenty years of conducting training, I have experienced burnout on plenty of occasions. It can be overwhelming and sometimes I just wanted to quit. Luckily, I found several ways to understand and deal with it.
If you want to include e-learning samples in your portfolio, you need to have access to e-learning authoring software. Most offer free trials which is helpful. Ideally, though, you want to have your own copy. The software can be pretty expensive, though, which may be prohibitive for many. It was for me which is why I was excited to find out I could get one (Adobe Captivate) for FREE. Read on to find out what I did.
Job searching sucks.
Hoops to jump through, a whole bunch of unknowns and a lot of rejection along the way. In this article, my goal is to take away some of the pain by sharing my advice and experience from over 20 years in the learning and development field. All of my experience comes from working in corporate America and I’ve been on both sides of the job hunting process. I’ve been the job seeker and I have also been part of the decision making process for hiring new L&D team members. I’ve applied, interviewed, been hired (and rejected) by small non-profits as well as huge billion dollar companies and everything in between. If you are thinking about applying for a Learning and Development job, this article is for you. In it I’ll share strategies and advice that I’ve used throughout my career to help you land a great paying job doing what you love.