How to Avoid These Common Mistakes in Your Training Content Development

How to Avoid These Common Mistakes in Your Training Content Development
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Did you know that only 16% of employees feel fully engaged at their workplace?

That means the other 84%—perhaps 4 out of 5 of your employees—are merely “coming to work” without contributing anything meaningful. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that disengaged employees cost businesses $550 billion a year.

What can you do to improve your employee onboarding experience and retain the great workers you already have? The key lies in ongoing, customized training to help them develop through every stage of their careers.

It’s one thing to think about training content development, but it’s quite another to create an effective training program. In this post, we’ll dive into 4 common mistakes companies make with their training materials (and how you can avoid them).

Read on to learn more—your employees will thank you later.


Mistake #1: Not Enough Planning

Before you sit down and read a complete guide to training material development, you need to be crystal clear on your goals.

What new knowledge or skills do you want your employees to walk away with? It might be obvious to you, but communicating those objectives clearly during training can be a serious challenge.

Common mistakes that result from not enough planning include:

  • Poor explanations or nonsensical transitions
  • Getting too deep or complex too quickly
  • Training materials that don’t support a true business goal
  • Attempting to solve a problem that training can’t fix

The antidote to all these problems is in-depth planning before you create new training materials. Speak to your team leaders about current training to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Ask for similar feedback from your employees so you can identify any barriers and challenges to overcome.

Keep in mind that goals are broad, while objectives are specific. Break large goals into smaller objectives and develop assessments to measure each of those objectives.

Mistake #2: Too Much Text

How much do you know about Cognitive Load Theory? It refers to the amount of information the human mind can process and retain in a certain amount of time.

Another common mistake during training content development is cramming in too much information. Yes, you want your employees to be informed and educated. But bombarding them with too many ideas at once will only confuse and frustrate them.

Too many companies use training materials that are cluttered and verbose. Wordy pages with long paragraphs or giant chunks of text will overwhelm many learners (or make them tune out completely).

The solution? Your training content should be:

  • Simple
  • Clear
  • Concise

Whenever possible, divide complex ideas into numbered lists or bullet points. Break up reading sections with other types of media, such as short audio or video clips or an interactive quiz. Avoid adding unnecessary images or graphics that will only clutter the page and detract from your message.

Mistake #3: Irrelevant Content

Speaking of unnecessary items, let’s talk about another common mistake: Irrelevant content.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so you might think it’s best to use images on every page. Before you do that, ask yourself if the image is truly relevant to what you’re trying to teach—or if it’s just mindless filler.

The same goes for too many videos, graphs, animations, or any interactive features. You want your employees to be engaged with the material, but they shouldn’t feel like a contestant on a game show.

Make sure any technology you incorporate is easy to navigate and keeps everything moving forward. If it’s not adding value to the training session, get rid of it. There’s a difference between aesthetic appeal and content overload.

Another suggestion: Don’t spend too much time on what your employees already know. A brief review can be great, but if you spend too much time on the basics, they’ll begin to wonder what they’re supposed to be “learning” from the training.

Mistake #4: No Real-World Value

You could design the greatest training material in the world, but if it doesn’t address your employees’ needs, then what good is it?

The final mistake on our list is delivering the wrong content to your team. The quality of your training materials might be fine, but did it do anything to help them solve problems or advance their careers?

Too often, employees leave a training session saying something like, “That was a waste of time” or, “That didn’t teach me anything new.” If you’re not giving your team the tools they need to succeed, your training efforts will ultimately fail.

To combat this problem, make sure your content is applicable to everyday situations they face on the job. Include real-life experiences and discuss how the situation was handled correctly (or what could have been done differently).

The more value your employees see in your training efforts, the more satisfied and engaged they’ll feel—and the more successful your company will be.

Training Content Development (The Right Way)

Your company’s time and money are precious. The last thing you want to do is waste them on training content that doesn’t offer real value for your employees.

During your training content development, keep an eye out for the common mistakes listed above. Give serious consideration to the goals of your training before you start developing content.

Avoid overloading the course material with too much text or needless images and graphics. Make sure your staff will be able to relate to (and use) the information you present in their everyday tasks. And remember that everyone learns differently, so the more types of learning styles you can cater to, the better.

Are you planning new training for your employees? Would you like the assistance of an industry leader in training content development?

Contact us today and let’s discuss your project together.

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