Training is a quintessential component of keeping your staff up-to-date on the latest in Cyber Security, Crisis Management, and more. However, many employees will drag their feet when it comes time to do ‘mandatory’ web-based training courses.
In order to keep your audience engaged, your training programs need to reach beyond just a standard ‘online lecture’. Many training courses fall into this category and they fail to imprint on participants because they are seen as generic, boring, or contain an overabundance of irrelevant information.
If you strive to avoid these training clichés, you can WOW your audience with an effective and engaging program. Here are some key tips to make your program shine:
Make it interactive
Research strongly supports the notion that lectures aren’t effective ways to educate, even if they are delivered via technology. In order to make learning less boring, you need to make it interactive. One way is to turn passive listeners into active participants. To do this, break up the content and engage the learner by asking questions or having them complete an activity. Games work extremely well to keep a participant engaged and it is more likely that they will remember what they are learning. Another strategy that is extremely effective in helping learners retain information is to use simulations to give them hands on experience with the material being covered.
Don’t generalize important topics
In cyber security awareness training, it’s common to see things like, “keep our resources safe” or “prevent intrusions.” These mean little to your end-users because most of them don’t realize they are, in many cases, the targets. Most of your coworkers don’t realize that an attacker could compromise their account and begin a lateral movement throughout your organization’s network simply because they weren’t properly prepared.
Don’t assume that IT security concepts are too difficult for your learners to understand. Be specific about what information and resources you are protecting and most importantly — why. Making the concepts you are teaching more personal to the learner increases buy-in and will help increase comprehension.
Break it into bite-sized pieces
One of the biggest misconceptions with training is that it needs to be long in length for it to be effective. It would seem to be cost-effective to develop one long course that covers everything.
But consider the last hour long training you sat through: how focused were you during the training? Did you find your mind wandering from time to time? Did you check your email on another screen?
Generally speaking, learners have 10 to 18 minutes of optimal focus. After that, retention of information decreases and focus shuts down. If your “Business Continuity Awareness” (as an example) course is one of those 40-minute marathon courses – odds are the participants are tuning out before anything important is even introduced. Instead, deliver content in shorter, more focused training sessions. Not only will your participants retain more, but they will be able to get back to their work more quickly.
More and more often, it seems like the majority of organizations treat resiliency training as an annual event. For the other 11 months out of the year, learning or reinforcement of these critical topics is completely absent.
Breaking training content into smaller, shorter lessons that are more specific allows you to easily spread awareness training throughout the year. Not only does this help keep learners focused on the content, but it also shows everyone in your organization that resiliency is important because it is front and center companywide.
It’s a challenge to get people excited about resiliency training and awareness. Even relevant topics are often glanced over in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day. If you really want to ensure that a majority of your coworkers understand these concepts and processes, you need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to make the lessons engaging for everyone.