Have you ever found yourself struggling to find a stock image with a transparent background? Or, maybe you’ve wasted hours of your time trying to remove the background from an image? You’re not alone in being annoyed by this problem. In fact, whenever I mention being a PowerPoint junkie and online training developer, I always get the same question:
With many training and development departments stretched thin or nearly non-existent, the task of creating new online training is daunting enough. Who has time to think about, let alone do, maintenance? Of course program maintenance is usually the one thing no one ever budgets [enough] time or money for. And yet, allowing your programs to go stale poses significant operational risks like resource confusion, alienation of the training audience, and higher operating costs (just to name a few).
I’ve always believed that no matter how dull a training topic might be, it shouldn’t be a barrier to creativity; rather, it should inspire ingenuity. But even those of us self-described "creative types" must admit there are some topics that are just hard to get excited about. When your job is to create an engaging, profound, performance-altering experience (due yesterday and with no budget, of course) how do you ignite that creative spark to help you turn the world’s most boring material into the world’s most amazing training?
In part 1 of “Reaching the Reluctant Trainee”, I explored two basic types of reluctant trainees – the Skeptic and the Technophobe -and gave you some tips and techniques I use to get to know my training audience better. In most cases, a fear of change drives the reluctant behavior, but only when you’ve identified the specific barriers feeding the fear can you strategize an approach to overcome them. So that's what this post is all about - ideas you can use for creating training buy-in, even from the most reluctant trainees.
If you've always assumed that your training audience should be purely motivated by the goals & objectives you provide, I’ll wager that you’ve also come across a few holdouts that resist online training no matter how many goals or objectives you throw at them. These are the trainees who will not be won over by logical arguments about improved performance or smarter workflows. At one time or another, all trainers must confront this challenge: How do you reach that most elusive of creatures – the reluctant trainee?
Yet in training, we tend to regard surprise as a negative element to be “overcome” or “avoided.” But what would happen if we stopped trying to outfox the element of surprise and started leveraging it to create better training? Here are some benefits I've experienced from adding a few surprises to my training:
Just a quick note that the Mindflash Blog will now be featured on eLearningLearning.com! We're really excited to join—and make a contribution to—the conversations happening there!
Like other visual design elements, the right font has the power to grab your audience on an emotional level while reinforcing your message. But unlike other visual elements such as color scheme, photos, or clip art, which are readily translated from inspiration to application, a stylized font can be harder to replicate and integrate into a design. Add in a healthy dose of behavioral conditioning from brand management and marketing folks who want everyone using only the approved presentation templates and style guide, and you've got a recipe for a visual plague of 12pt Times New Roman! So, how can you use fonts to add a little more personality to your training – without breaking all the design rules and regulations?
What is the training slide below telling you? Okay, so the corporate speak is uninspiring, but I’ll bet it’s the random clip art that’s really speaking to you - and it’s probably screaming “Train wreck!”
Emphasis is an important element in graphic design because it’s the way you direct your audience’s attention. Designers know that well-placed emphasis is a powerful tool for making their message sticky, so it only makes sense that we should use emphasis in training design to make our online training sticky.
Unfortunately most online training uses emphasis in very expected ways – with text effects (color, bold, italics, font type, font size, etc.) or with depth through the use of drop-shadows. Overuse of these treatments erodes their impact and puts you AND the trainee into a slide coma. So what can you do to revive your trainee and keep their attention? With a little PowerPoint know-how and some design inspiration it’s actually easier than you might think to add artful emphasis - and visual flair to your next training.