How To Make Boring Training Content Engaging & Fun
We all remember our school days. Some lessons we loved, some we hated. Practical exercises and watching videos were typically met with rejoice, while burying our heads in a textbook could make an hour lesson feel like a lifetime. In order to improve the delivery of our less exciting content, we first need to understand exactly what it is that makes training fun and engaging.
The next time you deliver a training session that typically struggles with engagement, consider introducing one of the six ideas below.
Crafting an exciting story to aid the delivery of less exciting content can be a great way to keeping delegates engaged, helps provide context to the learning and is effective at reinforcing key points. Stories are also effective at stimulating emotion which helps to keep us attentive and aids knowledge retention.
There's a number of great ways to incorporate a story through:
- Personal experiences - Bringing in real life examples and allowing parallels to be drawn
- Imagination & creativity - Non-fiction novels and movies can serve as great inspiration
- Online research - Investigate what stories have other training professionals used to make this particular content more exciting
It's surprising how great stories stick with you long after the training session has ended.
Top tip 💡: Start small. If stories aren't something you're comfortable delivering, or if you're unsure how receptive your audience will be to them, try to introduce stories gradually. It could be a simple metaphor or analogy to start with. Build this out further if you feel confident.
From classroom based training that may require a few props from home to advanced virtual reality simulations, games are arguably the most effective way to make training fun.
Not only will games be well received by your learners, they are also effective at encouraging creativity and improving problem solving/critical thinking skills. Increasingly, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials, interactive games are by far the preferred method of learning and proving particularly effective for kinaesthetic, auditory and visual learners.
Budget shouldn't be a barrier when you're looking to create a new game, in fact some of the most enjoyable rely on very little spend or setup. Checkout these top 10 classroom games for a bit of inspiration.
Making the less exciting areas of training more palatable can be achieved through the careful planning of session length with well-timed breaks.
While it's tempting to try and plough through the boring stuff in order to 'get it out the way', splitting it up, mixing it in with more exciting content or even incorporating some self serve learning are all great ways to retain engagement.
This is especially important for full day or multi-day length training sessions. Structured breaks that allow for caffeine and fresh air are key, ideally with no training block running continuously for more 2 hours.
Working in groups when tackling less exciting training topics is an effective way to encourage conversation and participation from your audience, and will certainly be welcomed by the social learners within your class. Whether it's a simple brainstorming task or a practical exercise, group work brings all your learners into the picture at once.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of introducing group work is that it allows learners to build rapport and hear the perspectives of others.
Group work is often simple to set up, assuming the class size is sufficient and (if classroom based) the learning space is of adequate size. An A1 sheet of paper and a marker pen may be all that's required to facilitate this.
Online, breakout rooms within video conferencing tools like Zoom are an easy and effective way at facilitating group work.
Everyone learns in different ways, and by incorporating video in to your training delivery methods, you're increasing your chances of appealing to more learning styles. There's a whole host of ways you can introduce video to help deliver less exciting training content in a more engaging way.
A couple of great video delivery methods to consider include:
- Contextual-based videos: These videos are great for highlighting real-world scenarios and 'giving life' to the content you are delivering. This might involve showing clips from films or TV shows.
- Illustrative-based videos: Illustrations and animations are great for breaking down complex ideas while also being effective at telling stories. The creation of graphics and small animations are often budget-friendly, too!
If learners have something to work towards, naturally they become more driven and engaged. It's important to note here, these incentives don't always have to have a monetary value. Here's a few ideas to consider:
Certificates: It's surprising how an official-looking piece of card with your name on can incentivise your learners - however it certainly can work!
Competition: Competing with others is often incentive enough to keep learners engaged. Keep it friendly, though!
Recognition: The acknowledgement of participation itself can be an effective incentive to aid engagement during boring topics.
Prizes: Chocolate and sweets can go a long way to incentivise learners and keep training both engaging and fun. For those with a larger budget, gift cards are another thing you can try.
Making training fun relies on preparation and planning. While it's true that some topics will naturally be more interesting for learners, by identifying the areas where attention tends to drop off can help to put measures in place to combat this moving forward.
Which measure are you going to implement for your next training session? Let us know in the comments!