Human Resources: The Science Behind Creating Impactful Training Activities | Sheri Kendall | Skillshare

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Human Resources: The Science Behind Creating Impactful Training Activities

teacher avatar Sheri Kendall, Service Training Manager

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Science Behind Training Activities


    • 3.

      How to Design a Training Activity


    • 4.

      How to Facilitate an Activity


    • 5.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Create impactful, insightful and irresistible training activities on the fly with Wayfair training manager Sheri Kendall! 

The key to inventing great training activities is understanding that knowledge is created, not consumed. Join Sheri as she walks you through how to analyze training activities online and reshape them to meet your needs, as well as how to increase the effectiveness of your learning experience at any company. 

Together with Sheri, you will learn:

  • The science behind creating training activities that align with the way in which our brain works
  • New brain based strategies that will increase the effectiveness of your training activities 
  • How to design or reshape an activity to meet your learning outcomes 
  • Facilitation techniques that will increase the quality of the training activity 

After taking this class you will walk away with strategies and templates that will take your training and development practice to the next level. 


Sheri’s class is designed for training and development professionals, but all students are welcome to participate and enjoy.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sheri Kendall

Service Training Manager


Sheri Kendall’s career in education began in 1999 and since then she has developed

workplace learning opportunities for non-profit organizations, institutions of higher

education, government agencies, healthcare organizations and contact centers. Her

passion for creating positive change within organizations led her to Wayfair and her current

role as the Service Training Manager. The education that she provides to her training team

inspires them to do their best work and to find purpose and meaning in the service they

provide. Her current interest includes the study of the relationship between customer

experience, employee experience, and learning and develo... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: I love to research, I love to watch people, their eyes light up and to connect to new knowledge that's going to increase the quality and effectiveness of their work, which translates into the quality of their life overall. It's amazing when you get to help somebody open a door that they didn't even know existed. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. My name is Sheri Kendall. I'm a workplace learning and development professional, with over 20 years of experience. My goal is a training and development professional, and my commitment to the industry is to ensure that we're reading the world of boring and ineffective training. The only way to ensure that we're doing that is to get that sage off the stage and to create impactful, insightful, an irresistible training activities. Today's course will include lessons on the science behind the magic of training and development. Brain-based strategies that will increase the effectiveness of your training activities. We're going to learn how to design or reshape an activity to meet your learning outcomes. Finally, we're going to discover facilitation techniques that will increase the quality of the training activity. At the end of today, you will have templates and strategies available to you that will serve you well in your training and development practice. It is my deepest desire that you walk away with a clear understanding that knowledge is created not consumed. If you walk away with just that one nugget, you will soon discover that you're creating training activities on the fly and in the moment. You will soon discover a passion for training activities that will increase the effectiveness of your learning experiences and also your joy and love of your job. I want you to remember that you matter as well, and your experience in the classroom is just as important as the experience of your participants. When we create, design and facilitate impactful training activities and remove ourselves from being the sage on the stage, our joy and effectiveness increases. The class project offers you the opportunity to ditch the deck in your current training initiatives and create a training activity. I am looking forward to answering any and all of your questions in our class discussion board and reviewing your class project in our project gallery. Now let's get started. 2. The Science Behind Training Activities: In this lesson, we're going to discover the science behind the magic of training activities. We're going to discover brain-based learning strategies and design techniques to create training activities that align with the way in which our brain works. Brain-based learning and development strategies have only recently been introduced to our profession. But well over 2400 years ago, Confucius had already discovered that when students are allowed to do something, they learn something. More recently, Mel Silberman, also a giant in the active training industry, created the active learning code. He reminded us that when I hear, see, understand and do, I then begin to learn. Confucius and Mel remind us that in order for learning to be effective and to create knowledge transfer, participants must have the opportunity to interact with the content in a safe learning environment that offers us the opportunity to fail-safe, reflect, and receive relevant, timely, and actionable feedback. Training activities when they are well-designed, offer us all of these opportunities within the training session. We need to get the sage off the stage. Stop reading PowerPoints, and allow participants to have the opportunity to interact with the new knowledge. Adults can develop new knowledge skills, and abilities through applied Practice. Science suggests it may be the only path to new knowledge, skills, and abilities. Most of us can remember when we learned how to drive. I'd like you to raise your hand. Yes, even in your own home, if you learned how to drive sitting in front of a PowerPoint, listening to a lecture. I imagine you're chuckling to yourself just a bit because most of us would not want to be on the road with an individual that had merely learned from a sage on the stage how to drive. If you think through your experience behind the wheel, my hope is that you have a trusted advisor in the passenger seat, willing and able and ready to provide you actionable feedback. While we probably wouldn't typically label our driving training as a training activity, it indeed is a training activity. It provides an opportunity for you to interact with the new knowledge in a fail-safe environment, as we mentioned. It also provides the opportunity for your trusted advisor or facilitator to assess your ability to perform. That's applied practice in the real-world. Learning new skills, knowledge, and ability within the context in which you're going to use that information, the opportunity to critically evaluate your decisions and to provide feedback and to fail safely, increases the effectiveness of your learning. My hope is that this example demystifies the process of designing a training activity and even facilitating one. Let's make a commitment to create training activities that are so irresistible, your participants can't wait to attend, so impactful that the new knowledge, skills, and abilities transfer to their work, and so inspirational participants will seek new knowledge outside of your training session. Join me for the next lesson. 3. How to Design a Training Activity: In this lesson, we're going to discover how to design and reshape a training activity. Training activity design isn't as daunting of a task as it may sound, and we don't have to start from scratch. Many training masters are willing to share their full proof training activities with us and we will discover strategies to reshape those activities to meet our learning outcomes. We will discover how to create training activities that are irresistible, impactful, and inspirational. All great training begins with a review of the current state of performance, a clear desired state of performance, gap identification, and a clear learning outcome. In our project gallery, you will find a gap analysis template. I encourage you to take a moment, find that file and download it and follow along as we work through this demonstration. Now, let's begin our design. I'm going to walk through an evaluation of the current state of performance, the desired state, and identifying the knowledge gap. The current state in this organization is an average handle time in excess of goal by 297 seconds. You can imagine 297 seconds multiplied by 5,000 agents can soon become quite a nightmare. The next question you ask yourself as you're identifying a gap is, well, if that's the current state, what is the desired state? Within this organization, the desired state is to decrease this average handle time without compromising the customer or employee experience. Well, now that we know what the desired state is, it is necessary to begin to understand the gap and performance. We've identified this gap by reviewing over 500 customer interactions. Now most of you aren't going to have to review 500 customer interactions to identify your knowledge gap. The important thing to remember in this step is to identify the gap between the current state and the desired state. Where is the knowledge gap? The next step in this process is to identify why do we have a gap? Is the gap due to knowledge, skill or perhaps just simple practice of a skill. Agents weren't clear on how to efficiently connect with customers nor did they understand how to navigate our customer relationship management system. The knowledge gap was clearly knowledge, skill, and practice. The great news for a designer is this gives us lots of opportunities all the way from scenarios to role-play, jigsaw, and everything in between. If these are new terms to you, no worries. We're going to dive into that in just a moment when we begin to design our activity. Now that we have a clear understanding of what the gap is, why the gap exists, we need to create a learning outcome. Learning outcomes are explicit descriptions of what a learner should know or be able to do at the conclusion of a training activity. They must be based on the desired outcome of the training activity and frame the context for the objectives. Basically, what's in it for me? Adult learners need to understand that the training activity or session allows them to meet their current or future goals for their performance. We also want to provide measurable evidence of progress in closing the practice gap. The closing of the practice gap will be key in our training activity design. The learning outcome for this demonstration is agents will demonstrate the ability to connect with customers on order related topics and efficiently navigate our system all within 625 seconds. How are we going to assess this? Well, it's going to be important that we record these interactions during this activity. There's one more step before we begin designing, it's important that we consider the constraints. Do you have a budget? If so, how much is your budget? What will your class size be? What time of day will you be conducting this training activity? You don't want something too fast paced, it's 7:00 AM, maybe you want something too slow-paced right after lunch. Will this be virtual, instructor-led or a combination of both. Understanding and identifying your constraints before choosing an activity will increase the likeliness of success. Now that we've reviewed our constraints and identified our learning outcome, the fun begins. We will now begin to decide, are we reshaping an activity or designing an activity. In this demonstration, I'm going to open the session with the role-play that I discovered on, followed by scenario-based training with varying degrees of complexity. You may be asking yourself, how did I determine these were the training activities? When you begin to design or reshaping activity, there are key questions to ask. Does the design achieve the learning outcome? You may recall that our learning outcome required participants to be able to demonstrate their ability to connect with customers while navigating our system. The second question we want to ask ourselves as we are designing or reshaping an activity, is what knowledge or skill level does the design require of participants? Know your audience. What is their current level of knowledge, skills and abilities? What previous experience are they bringing with them and create activities or reshape activities that will provide appropriate challenge? The third question we want to ask ourselves, is the activity suited for the size of the group? Remember the role-play exercise we were talking about, it can become nearly impossible to monitor role-play of a group of 20 or more. Ensure that your training activity design allows for the facilitator to observe the performance of the participants to ensure your learning outcomes are met. The fourth question we will ask ourselves as we are deciding on an activity to re-shape or design, is it slow or fast paced? A slow paced activity with a large group of people right after lunch is a recipe for disaster. It is imperative for effective design that we consider our size of group and time of day. The final question we ask ourselves in training design is assessment. Does the activity provide you the opportunity to assess the participant's ability to perform? Are they able to do the thing you need them to do and transfer that ability to their work? Go ahead and complete your training outline. In our next lesson, we will discuss facilitation strategies. 4. How to Facilitate an Activity: Malcolm Knowles discovered that adult learners are self-directed and when they have the opportunity to create their own knowledge, the learning deepens. It is the facilitator's job to set the tone, share what's in it for me, create learning agreements, and get out of the way. Not completely out of the way, of course. Your facilitation strategy will make or break the great training activity that you have designed. Let's discuss a few strategies to ensure successful facilitation. Get to know your participants and create learner safety. Learning is a vulnerable process. Participants feel safe when they receive actionable, timely relevant feedback in a judgment free zone. At the beginning of each training activity, ensure that you take a few moments to share the what's in it for me with your learners. When learners understand how the new knowledge, skills or abilities will inform their current practice or future goals, their engagement will increase and knowledge transfer will occur. Link the content to beyond this training activity. How will these new knowledge, skills, or abilities positively impact the quality of their life outside of the workplace? Take a few moments at the beginning of your training activity to create learner agreements. Ensure that learners know how to interact with each other, with the content, and are connected with the facilitator. Effective facilitators ensure that their design and strategy includes plenty of opportunity for reflection, feedback, and interaction. Effective facilitation will ensure a successful training activity and knowledge transfer. Next, I would like you to build these processes and strategies into your training outline in your facilitator guide. 5. Final Thoughts: You did it. Take a moment to breathe in your success. You are now prepared to create an irresistible, inspirational and impactful training activity. As you participated in this course, you discovered the science behind the magic of great training activities. Training activity design requires the same due diligence as all training design. You now have strategies and templates to provide you guidance in future training design. Please take a moment to upload your class project to our project gallery. We can't wait to see all of your greatness. Thank you so much for joining us. We look forward to seeing you again.