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For Impactful Training, the Develop Phase of Instructional Design MUST be More than “Make It Pretty”

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Engaging training is made up of many components, including something interesting for learners to look at. However, creating visually appealing presentation slides alone just isn’t enough. An effective and impactful customer support training program must include experiential learning activities your agents will remember beyond the testing period. More importantly, they have to see how that experience directly applies to real-world customer interactions they’ll have on the job.

As we continue our training series highlighting how (and why) we use the ADDIE model of instructional design – Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate – our focus turns to the creation of the training material. As previously discussed, many teams skip the first two critical steps, and as a result, they design material that will not achieve its desired result. If you’re starting the series here, we suggest visiting our 1st article in this series Analyzing your training program.

“After ensuring there is a solid foundation based on what agents need to know and what agents need to be able to do as a result of the training, we can now create the actual training material,” says Dezaray Hammond, Vice President of Training and Development. “And while this is finally the time to open up PowerPoint, there is a lot more to this phase than creating a slide deck.”

Building Confidence for Retention

Developing first-rate training material is only possible with the proper foundation, which we defined in the Analyze and Design phases. Effective training incorporates the develop phase and builds on this foundation to create engagement and to achieve learning goals. This training achieves the business objective and learning goals, as well as creates engagement with the agent team.

Training that builds learner confidence along the way produces agents who are more than just ready to take their first calls with live customers – they’re excited about it.

“Our training team develops a knowledge base for agents and teaches them how to use it,” says Kelly Uhlrich, Chief Operations Officer. “Doing so builds confidence for when they have to search for information after the training. We know that this confidence leads to a higher retention rate and improved customer experience.”

Training materials vary based upon the needs of the organization, as well as the customer care team, and the clients that are being served. An essential component is to ensure there is a mix of resources such as procedure and call flow charts, participant manuals, infographics, multimedia, and other visual materials presented during training and made available post-training as a just-in-time resource. This improves engagement and agent success, which also improves retention.

“While we jokingly refer to this phase as the time to ‘make it pretty,’ what we’re actually doing is based on the science of learning,” says Dezaray. “We don’t decorate PowerPoint slides. We utilize a solid strategy following color theory and graphic design principles and create an environment that fosters a multitude of learning preferences to make sure agents ‘get it’.”

Creating Fun for Improved Learning

When trainees are having fun, they’re engaged. When they’re engaged, they’re learning. The Develop phase is how our Instructional Designers create the fun!

“Developing training is so much more than creating a visual,” says Dezaray. “Our team listens to many call recordings to find the best scenarios to showcase. Sometimes we write scripts so that the agents have a good example of how the call should go. Everything we create has to be visually appealing to hold the learner’s interest, but functional to ensure they have the best information to step into that first call with confidence.”

Utilizing words, images, videos, and supplemental materials in a cohesive manner make the training effective, and yet there is a component that ensures some fun. These strategies have always been important, and for learners in a virtual work environment, they are paramount.

“We want learners to enjoy the process, so we make it fun and exciting,” says Dezaray. “We work diligently with our clients to ensure that the corporate brand and culture shines, that the learners understand the importance of their role, and that everyone walks away feeling enthusiastic and confident.”

There are studies that show the positive impact of adding fun into training.  Whether it is a joke, a video, a game or some other interactive activity, fun increases dopamine, endorphin and oxygen levels which improve the brain’s ability to learn.

“We know that cramming a bunch of bullet points on some slides and reading it aloud does not work. People can read faster than you can talk, and you lose them,” says Dezaray. “We want that interaction so we can hold the learner’s attention. This definitely improves our ability to deliver an experience that agents will put into practice back on the job. Keeping it fun and doing things differently makes the training effective.”

How does Humach do it differently?

For a cheerleading uniform company we partner with it’s really important that agents first get an understanding of cheer life before we introduce them to the product.  We could do what everyone else would do: put a slide up in front of the classroom and talk through the bullet points identifying the different types of cheer.  Instead, the Humach way is to develop and share a mashup video that shows all the different types of cheer in action, letting learners feel the excitement of the crowd during a competition, and showing the intense practice sessions cheerleaders put their bodies through.

Later once they’re educated on the product, we come back to this video and gamify learning by challenging trainees to identify exactly which uniform is being worn and the customization details that they’d need to know if they were selling it.  Agents leave the training interested in paying attention to cheerleaders on TV and in real life to determine what they’re wearing. That’s how to create a memorable learning experience.

While Humach training materials are known for bold imagery, thoughtful font pairing and strategic color choices to elicit the desired emotion, it’s clear that the visual aspect is only one part of the Develop phase.

After the Develop phase, it’s time to Implement the training. The Humach team becomes excited about this phase because we get to bring everything to life. Come back to learn how we prepare to deliver more than just a presentation – how we rehearse to deliver a best-in-class experience.

For over 30 years, it’s been our mission to provide call center services that transform brands, support teams, and grow businesses. We’re here to answer all your questions and tell you about your options so that you can confidently decide if outsourcing is right for you. Ready to learn more? Contact the experts at Humach today!

Avoid Death by Powerpoint – Download the Guide Here


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