Monday 9th January 2023

Eight ways to make your dry or technical training material more engaging

It’s a common reality that companies often need to offer training on dry, technical, or even boring subject areas. This could be compliance training or even the company’s internal policies and procedures. While these topics may not always be the most exciting for learners, they are still important for employees to understand and adhere to. Training managers and instructional designers must find ways to make the material engaging and effective, despite the potentially uninteresting nature of the subject matter.

Even if the training is mandatory, so uptake or completion isn’t a concern there are still advantages to making sure the training material as interesting as possible. When material is engaging, learners are more likely to pay attention, retain the information, and apply it in the workplace (and who knows, they may even enjoy it!).

Here are eight strategies training providers can use to make their material more engaging, even if the subject matter is dry or technical.

  1. Use a variety of media: Incorporating a variety of multimedia elements such as videos, audio clips, animations and graphics can help break up the monotony of reading long blocks of text and make the material more engaging.
  2. Make it interactive: Make training material more engaging is to incorporate interactive elements. This can include quizzes, polls, and exercises that allow learners to actively participate in the learning process. Interactive elements can help keep learners focused and can also serve as a way to assess understanding. For example, a quiz at the end of a lesson can help learners test their knowledge and identify any areas where they may need further clarification. Similarly, exercises that allow learners to apply the concepts they have learned can help reinforce understanding and retention.
  3. Incorporate storytelling: Use storytelling to bring the material to life and make it more relatable. Personal anecdotes and real-life examples related to the learner’s job can help illustrate the concepts being taught. Case studies provide a practical, real-world context for the material and can help learners understand how the concepts apply in the workplace.
  4. Encourage group discussions: Allowing learners to discuss the material in small groups or through online forums can help them process and retain the information. It can also be a great way to get different perspectives and foster critical thinking.
  5. Offer practical applications: Help learners see the value of the material by providing examples of how they can apply the concepts in their work.
  6. Use gamification: Gamification, or the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, can be a highly effective way to make training material more engaging. By incorporating elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards, learners can feel a sense of competition and achievement as they progress through the material. Gamification can also make learning more fun and enjoyable for learners.
  7. Use humour: Adding a little bit of humour can help lighten the mood and keep learners engaged. However, be mindful of the subject matter and audience to ensure that the humour is appropriate.
  8. Offer ongoing support: Provide learners with ongoing support through follow-up materials, resources, and access to subject matter experts to help reinforce the material and ensure retention.

By incorporating some or all of these strategies, trainers can make even the driest of subject matter more engaging and effective for learners.

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