Learn Better Microlearning

How to Use Interactive Sessions to Turn Online Training into Real-World Application

Written by Rae Feshbach

When I was growing up, I used to play a car-racing video game with my brother (San Francisco Rush I think?), and I got pretty good at it! I routinely beat my brother while we drove through the fake streets of the Bay Area. But then as I approached 16 it was time for me to drive a real car. Turns out all my amazing video game car skills didn’t translate. Surprise? Of course not. No one expects being good at a video game to translate into mastery of a real, complex skill.

And yet, as learning practitioners, we are often surprised when employees complete our online training, do well on our assessments, and then fail to successfully implement all the great stuff they learned in the real world. We’re disappointed when our video game racers aren’t ready to get behind the wheel.

While online training can be a great way to learn the concepts and gain understanding of how to apply new behaviors, we can help our employees actually implement the new behaviors by creating structured opportunities to try the new behaviors out – like driver’s ed.

Interactive Training in Action

Here’s an example. We were hiring on my team and instead of having unstructured, subjective interviews, we wanted to conduct behavior-based interviews. So, we assigned out our training on behavior-based interviewing on a Monday and set the expectation that we’d be using what we learned from the content to make an interview guide on Thursday. The team got an immediate opportunity to practice using what they learned in the context of their jobs, before they went into the higher-stakes environment of conducting an actual interview. (Plus, it lit a real fire under them to take the online training in the assigned time frame.)

Not every training initiative is on a topic that is so tangible. For instance, Active Bystander training. As with a lot of compliance topics, you aren’t preparing employees for a controllable event; you’re preparing them to react and stay vigilant for some unknown future time. But there are still ways of providing an interactive follow-up to your online training. You could bring your team together after the online training to discuss what they’re taking away from it, talk about how you can use what you learned as a team to make your culture more inclusive and receptive to bystander intervention, and even have your team members role-play intervening in the different ways outlined in the training. While it won’t be the same as using the skills in a real situation, it will be much closer to a real situation than you can get to online.

No matter what training intervention you’re implementing, this interactive follow-up piece is key. It holds your team accountable for actually completing the training, encourages them to think about how to apply what they’ve learned within their work environment, and gives them an opportunity to practice their behaviors in a situation that is as close to work-like as possible.

To learn more about how to plan a successful learning initiative with interactive components, download our Grovo Microlearning® Strategy whitepaper, and start identifying the ways you can turn your expert gamers into masters of their craft.

This post is part two in a seven-part series on Implementing Modern Online Training. Read the first post, Launch Online Training to Target Desired Behaviors, to learn more. Stay tuned for the next post in the series.