Tip #920: How to Help Participants Discover the Benefits of a Training Program

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” W.B. Yeats

A training program will be more successful if the participants are committed to learning because they recognize how the training will benefit them. This is a determination that they need to make for themselves. If the trainer simply tells them why it should be important to them, they will be less likely to “buy-in.”

The challenge for a trainer is, therefore, to find a learning activity that will help the participants discover and articulate the benefits of the training at the beginning of a training session.

Sometimes the benefits are very obvious. In these cases, all the trainer needs to do is ask the participants to brainstorm answers to the question: “How will this (training/topic/knowledge/skill) benefit you?”

If the participants are not familiar with the specific training content, the trainer can ask them: “What will be the consequences if the current (situation/policy/procedure) remains the same?” or  “What are the consequences of not making this change? How will it affect (you, your customers, and/or your company)?”

Operating on the assumption that there is a reason why a new version or procedure has been created, the trainer can have participants answer the question: “What are your challenges with the current (system/version/policy/procedure)?” The participants may not know why a change is being made, but they will know what they don’t like about the current situation. Hopefully, their concerns will be similar to the reasons that initiated the change.

A trainer may want to take a different tack to get the participants to focus on a supporting principle that underlies the training content. For example, in a training session for supervisors about how to handle difficult employee behavior, the question might be: “How will your job be easier if your employees are successful on the job?” This question can redirect their attention from what their employees are doing wrong to what their employees need from them.

The earlier that buy-in occurs, the easier the training experience will be for both the participants and the trainer. The more invested the participants are in the training program, the greater likelihood that they will learn, retain and effectively apply their new knowledge or skills back on the job.

Question: What do you do to gain participant buy-in at the beginning of a training session?

#participantbuyin #trainingbenefits #participantengagement

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