How to Use Storytelling to Help Your Training Stick

Human Resources
by Heather Hunt
"In yesterday’s Advisor, we went over reasons to use storytelling in your training. Today, we look at what makes a good story in training, and we showcase a comprehensive online learning library of ready-to-use courses on more than 100 key HR topics."

At the recent American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) 2014 International Conference and Exposition—at which the Society changed its name to the “Association for Talent Development” (ATD)—father and son team, Gerry Beamish of Beamish Associates and Jonathan Beamish of Accenture, presented an informative program, “Cave Wall to Internet: Storytelling, the Ancient Learning Art.”

They listed several objectives that storytelling can achieve. For example, stories can:

  • Expand awareness
  • Pose questions
  • Set out visions
  • Teach
  • Illustrate values in action
  • Convey empathy
  • Ease or resolve conflict

When you design your training, therefore, consider what your objectives are. If you’re trying to achieve any of the above goals, using a story at that point in your training might be a good idea.


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Craft Your Story

In order for stories to be effective in training they must be carefully chosen and specifically crafted. Three points are key here:

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Tell stories that are relevant—to your audience and the topic.
  3. Short stories are better than long stories.

Common sense explains the first two points. As to the last point, realize that today’s Internet- and social media-connected employees have short attention spans. It’s not just the younger generation either.

Largely because of technology, our culture as a whole moves faster and is less patient than even a few decades ago. Watch movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 30s, 40s, and 50s or shows from TV’s Golden Age in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and compare them to today’s fast-paced movies and TV shows.

Another reason to keep your stories short, in addition to relating to modern sensibilities, is that long stories may end up distracting employees from the actual training topic, and you may lose their attention and engagement if they lose the relevance of the story to the training.

Here are three practical criteria to apply to any story you are considering using in your training. Do your stories:

  1. Engage the audience?
  2. Relate to the training situation?
  3. Connect to your learning objectives?

Storytelling is a useful training technique when used appropriately in a targeted way. By developing the ability to craft well-tuned stories, you can ensure that your training programs will live happily ever after.


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Effective Training Available Now

While stories are helpful aids, you still need the appropriate content for your training. Could you use prewritten interactive courses on more than 100 key HR topics? Look no further than the HR Library from TrainingToday®.

Now you can run your training program like a pro with our new TrainingToday system. This dynamic training resource provides course content on safety, ethics, sexual harassment, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and much more.

TrainingToday is a leading provider of online education programs for employees and supervisors. Each course in our extensive library addresses a specific topic with engaging and interactive presentations, delivering practical advice and clear instructions that trainees will remember long after the training is complete.

Three Delivery Platforms

TrainingToday® offers you the option of three delivery platforms to meet your organization’s needs:

Professional

  • Unlimited training for your whole organization for one flat fee
  • Easy to start up and track trainee progress
  • Hundreds of courses available, from employment law compliance to sales excellence

Enterprise

The Enterprise platform includes all the features of the Professional version, plus it will:

  • Track and report capability with the built-in, comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS);
  • Train with courses as they are or make them truly your own with our customization options; and
  • Upload your own content (PowerPoint®, video, Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) files, etc.) to the LMS in addition to using our comprehensive training courses.

SCORM

  • Integrate content into your existing LMS.
  • Easily tailor to your content, logo, presentation style, and corporate policies.
  • SCORM-compliant to integrate with existing corporate learning systems.

Unlimited Training That Will Not Bust the Budget

Best of all, in these budget-crunching times, TrainingToday® costs only a fraction of what you would pay for an LMS. You always know exactly what training will cost, no matter how many programs you use or how many times you use them. There’s just one low, annual fee—for unlimited training—calculated by the size of your workforce. Budget once and you’re done!

These are all motivational, actionable courses—for both employees and supervisors—in such key areas as sexual harassment, the FMLA, diversity, communication, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), recruiting, and many more. The courses are kept up to date to reflect federal and state regulatory changes, and what’s more, BLR® adds new programs continually.

TrainingToday also includes a selection of safety courses—you decide whether you want just the HR courses, the safety courses, or both.

If it sounds as if we’re excited about this new service, well, we are—and so is the Software & Information Industry Association, which just voted TrainingToday (formerly the Employee Training Center) the “Best Workforce Training Solution.” Find out what all the buzz is about—sign up for a no-obligation trial to TrainingToday.

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