Seven Innovative Training ConceptsCorporate Training ConceptsCapitalWave Inc. White PaperAugust 20101

Table of Contents:Not Your Father's Simulation . 3Making Coaching and Mentoring Innovative . 4Rotation, Virtual Rotation, and Job Share . 5Global Classroom . 6Modern Media Training . 8On the Go Training . 9Blended Learning . 102

Not Your Father's SimulationWhen we discuss innovating our training, weshould always keep in mind that innovationcomes in the execution, and not necessarily theidea. In this series on innovative trainingconcepts, we will probably discuss some triedand true methods that are innovative simply inthe way they are carried out. Our firstinnovative training concept is simulation. We'veall used simulations at one point or another, butthe way to make this concept innovative is toremember that this is "not your father's roleplay". Let's discuss how to make trainingsimulations the simulations on a regular basis to trulyreflect what is going on in the "real world". Inaddition, utilize content and scenarios that mayhave more than one outcome. This designallows for collaboration and "outside the box"thinking. Plus, this is more than a contrivedrole‐play.A simulation comes in two major parts: first,how you actually simulate, and second, howyou deliver the simulation itself. Let's look atthe "how". One of the best ways to trulysimulate a work environment is to deliver thesimulation in an unscheduled or unannouncedway. This would be much like the "pop quiz" wedreaded in school. Consider the fact that manysituations in the workplace occur withoutwarning, so why not create a simulation thattakes on that feeling? Participants will learn tothink quickly and rationally, using theinformation they've already gained in theirtraining programs.Next, let's look at the delivery of simulation. Tothink through your delivery options, firstconsider the overall training delivery strategy. Ifthe program in question is a classroom‐ basedcourse, the first element to consider is a "liveworkspace". Does the classroom include anarea that simulates the workplaceenvironment? Airline pilots sit in simulators forhours at a time, so why shouldn't people inother industries? Just because a person worksat a desk should not keep the training staff fromdeveloping a workspace that simulates thedesk, the complexity of the work that sits on thedesk, the number of interruptions, and theexpected behavior of the person sitting behindit. If there is not a "live workspace", can youtake training participants to a workspace? Sometraining departments "partner" with a localwork location in order to provide participantswith on the job training. Why not takeparticipants to the location for a simulationbefore they leave the classroom?Along with unscheduled simulation, use "real"elements within the simulation. For example,use real customers, actual computers, andsituations that are based on real events. Moveaway from creating simulation content in thedeveloper's office and go out to the field tolearn what actually occurs. And make changesVirtual training takes simulations to acompletely different level. E‐learningapplications allow us to create complex learningenvironments, so we should be able to usethose learning environments to simulate theworkplace. For example, consider sending a"surprise" link to a simulation while students3

are in the virtual classroom. This concept bringsthe unscheduled element to the simulationwhile also giving the participants theopportunity to "step out" of the virtualclassroom for a while. Another way to deliver agreat simulation in virtual training is to jump onthe reality TV bandwagon and "take"participants to the real world via streamingvideo. Participants can see the situation as itunfolds, then must complete the simulationwithin the classroom. When you are looking atdelivery, be sure to take a close look at thedelivery methods you already use, such asLearning Management Systems, downloadabletraining materials, and the Internet, and usethese methods in the "how".Now, back to the subject of classroom role‐plays. This is not to say that these activities arenot useful. But if you decide to do them, inaddition to using "real" situations, move tounscripted, "serious" role‐plays that truly teachsomeone how to do his or her job. For example,consider asking a working professional to comein and act as a client, customer, or supervisor.And be sure to record video of the role‐playsimulation, critique it, and have participantsredo it based on the "real" rubrics you'll want tocreate.Again, innovation is in execution, so take thesimulations you have and make them intohighly useful, eve‐changing learning events. Ournext innovation is coaching and mentoring.Making Coaching and MentoringInnovativeThere is nothing new about coaching andmentoring. These programs can be verysuccessful in any format, but creating them inan innovative way can lead to further success.For coaching and mentoring, the innovationcomes from how you make the programapplicable to today's world in your organization.Training budgets, locations, and staffs havebeen cut in the new economy, so how can youinnovate a coaching and mentoring program?The structure, delivery, and training for coachesare three areas to focus on when consideringthe innovation of a coaching and mentoringprogram.First, let's look at the structure of the program.Many times, a coaching program may have "lax"guidelines and goals. Plus, coaching programsare sometimes left to organic growth, that is,"let's assign coaches and see what happens".The way to innovate structure is to create astructure that propels the program forward.First, create goals for both the coaches andtheir protégés. The goals should be based onactual job progression, and this may be one ofthe most innovative things you can do for theprogram. Some programs have nebulous oruncertain goals ‐ the innovative programspecifies each goal as it relates to the person's"real life" responsibilities. The way to createthese goals is to determine how the personwould learn step‐by‐step on the job. The goalstructure should be such that the protégé is notallowed to continue to the next step until thecoach has "signed off" on his or her progress.In regard to the coach, goals should be createdfrom a performance rubric of some type. Thatis, each goal should have an evaluation systemattached to it, based on how well the protégécompletes the task. Coaches should beinstructed to be fair but honest in using acoaching goals rubric. The coaches shouldreport to managers as well as the protégés on aregular basis.Next, the delivery of a coaching and mentoring4

program is in itself an innovation. Of course,nothing is a substitute for in person, face‐to‐face coaching and mentoring, but consider howyou can connect coaches with protégés acrossgeography and culture in this day and age.You'll not only deliver a unique experience,you'll also be able to "school" protégés in "reallife" as it exists to others in the organizationwho might not be in the next cubicle or office.But going back to today's definition of "inperson" or "face to face", can virtual coachingvia webcam be considered a personal form ofcoaching? Absolutely. A session like this mayeven be stronger than a true face‐to‐facesession because both the coach and the protégémay have relaxed their inhibitions a bit. It'sbeen said that Internet socialization allows oneto "hide" behind an identity, but isn't it possiblefor us to turn that around to allow for completeand total honesty in a coaching and mentoringsituation?Coaches can deliver goals or steps in theprogram via email, also. For example, after avirtual discussion, the coach can email "ThisWeek's Goal", which outlines the content of thediscussion, helpful hints, and even links tooutside content that may be useful. This type ofdelivery can even occur via text, SMS, or MP3.Remember that your coaching program will beas innovative as its delivery methods, soconsider every possibility when looking at howto connect coaches and protégés regularly.Training for coaches should be innovative, aswell. Coaches should be able to connect withother coaches as well as instructors, especially ifyour program is global. When they are able todo this, they obtain a "world view" just as theirprotégés do. With that in mind, consider virtualtraining sessions for coaches, via webcam orweb conference. A coaching blog is a great wayto connect coaches, as well, as long as someonemoderates the content and posts. Socialnetworking via Twitter and Facebook can alsobe utilized as tools for training coaches.Consider how coaches will be even moreeffective if they can see a daily "Tweet" thatgives them tips, helpful hints, and other advice.It's quick, inexpensive, and can stimulateconversation among coaches and protégés.If you already have a coaching and mentoringprogram, consider making changes in order tomake it truly innovative. If this is a new step,innovation is easy. Our next innovative trainingconcept takes a tried and true method andagain gives it a modern twist.Rotation, Virtual Rotation, and Job ShareIt seems that any discussion of training anddevelopment these days comes back to smallerbudgets, smaller staffs, and an all‐out effort tocontinue cutting costs. Plus, there is usually theissue of layoffs, production slow downs, andhow to make a smaller workforce continue atpresent levels of output. One of the ways toinnovate training is to use this situation for thebenefit of the organization through rotation,virtual rotation, and even job share programs.Let's look at how you can make this work foryour organization.No one likes to hear about the possibility oflayoffs or firings because of poor economicconditions. But if it happens to yourorganization, the training organization may bepart of the effort to pick up the pieces and keepthings moving forward. If so, consider using lessstaff as a way to train on the job. Let's supposea full time person has been left on. One way toinnovate the training of that person is to havethem work in one area on a part time basis andalso have them train in a similar area on a part5

time basis. In this arrangement, the person notonly continues gaining skill in his or her area ofexpertise, he or she will begin to gain skill inanother area. You can position this as on‐the‐job training for better times, and also as a wayto keep a talent pool in place even though theorganizational staff has been reduced. As thingscontinue to improve, you can expand thisprogram as necessary.What about rotations? When managementtraining programs became popular, traineeswere rotated into different areas of anorganization so that they could obtain a pictureof how the entire organization functioned. Nowthat staff is reduced, you can take this conceptto a new level, and open it up to non‐managers.To do this, consider entire organizationalprocesses versus "chunks". In the past, someorganizations developed a "button pusher"culture, where one group knew their jobs andhad no idea or concern about what happenedbefore they did their jobs ‐ or after they didtheir jobs. Now, you can take rotation andcross‐train personnel on the whole process. Ifyour organization has seasonal work, considertaking permanent people and putting them intothe seasonal rotation. Although this type ofinnovation pushes the borders of organizationalstructure and human resources, there is noreason why a training organization can'tspearhead its development.Is your organization geographically diverse?Rotations can still occur, but they must occur ata virtual level, an innovation we can call "virtualrotation". Consider this: visit many websitestoday and you can be taken on a virtual tour ofoffices, cars, and homes for sale. If you usesatellite view in Google, you can "walk" virtuallyup and down the streets of manyneighborhoods around the world. With thistechnology, you can rotate employees virtually.Web conferencing, "screen sharing" programs,and webcams allow people to be connected inuseful ways, so why can't someone learnanother job virtually? Traditional rotationprograms allowed trainees to spend a day in thelife of someone else in another department, sowhy not allow trainees to spend a day in the lifeon a virtual basis? We live in a reality TV society,so it's time to use this concept in organizationaldevelopment. With screen sharing, a person canwatch transactions, correspondence, and evenin‐house programs as the operator is carryingout the task, all without leaving the desk. If yourorganization has a work at home workforce,these people can be especially leveraged tovirtual rotation in many different areas. Theelements to consider when implementing aprogram like this are the availability oftechnology in various locations, as well as thetime differences that occur both within thiscountry and outside of it.There is nothing new about job sharing orrotation, so be sure to "pitch" the concept as abenefit, and as a new twist on a tried and truetraining method. Plus, cost effectiveness isbound to be a factor when people are notleaving their desks in order to rotate throughother jobs and other departments.Next, we will look at the global classroom as aninnovative training concept.Global ClassroomAs we discuss innovative training concepts, it'simportant to remember that information iseverywhere ‐ and that even globally diverseaudiences can be connected in ways that enrichthe training experience. To innovate theclassroom, training professionals must change6

the way participants collaborate, connectgeographic locations where learners are, andcreate content that speaks to a global audience.Let's look at how to transform the classroominto an innovation in training and development.First, let's look at changing the way learnerscollaborate. Traditional collaboration occurs inone place, essentially on one plane, that is,inside the classroom. Participants discuss theissues and learning concepts with others whowill be working in the same environments. Theinnovation in collaboration comes when thetraining organization moves collaboration fromwithin the classroom to "between" classroomsacross geography. Think about how you canutilize a simple web conferencing application tocreate a dual classroom. For example, ifparticipants in dual areas are working in thesame content, have them connect to discuss ascenario or case study. And you can do it in avirtual, yet face‐to‐face format. This globalclassroom allows you to connect participantsfor role‐plays, case studies, study groups, andsimple discussion forums. In regard todiscussion, use social networking, blogs, andonline discussion forums to continue the globalcollaboration.Next, consider additional ways that you canconnect geographic locations. Virtualcollaboration gets the ball rolling, but there areways to continue the collaboration even afterthe classroom experience has ended. Using thevirtual collaboration methods we've alreadydiscussed, consider creating "sister" trainingclasses in various locations. That is, find thecommonalities between groups and keep them"together" during the classroom and after thecourse is over. For example, people who do thesame job have that common link. They may dothe job in slightly different ways, but this is stilla common element. Managers are also groupswith much in common. It will be up to thetraining organization to determine whichgroups have enough in common to be placedinto a collaborative environment. Andremember that it will be experimental to start.Participants will be directed to collaborate in astructured environment, but will find ways tocontinue the collaboration outside of thatstructure. Leave the tools in place, such as blogsand discussion forums, so that participants cangain a good picture of what life is like on thejob. Instructors can also be utilized as coachesand virtual moderators during the post‐classroom collaboration. This way, you can beassured that content stays "correct" and thosediscussions are useful.Third, the quality of content in the globalclassroom is an innovation. Connecting theclassrooms is a great way to make a change to atraditional concept, but it is necessary to ensurethat content has a global reach. For example, if"sister" classrooms are put together in order towork on a case study or scenario, be sure thatthe content is common enough to facilitate thatprocess. The issues in the content should have aglobal reach, that is, they should be easilyunderstandable to groups in the next county orthe next country. Develop scenarios and casestudies in a way that makes them useful to all.For example, if groups in different areas usedifferent variations of a software program, trynot to zero in on a situation that wouldhighlight those variations. On the other hand,choose content that may highlight thedifferences between cultures. This can be avaluable learning experience for participantsand instructors.Some organizations have tried to put thetraditional classroom behind them, and this7

may be an overreaction. Many types of contentrequire a classroom and personal interactionbetween participants and instructors. The goalin innovating the classroom is not to do awaywith it altogether, but to create an environmentof global content and collaboration.As we move through seven innovative trainingconcepts, number five is the use of modernmedia.Modern Media TrainingAs we've discussed in this series, innovativetraining is not always about the concept itself.The innovation comes with delivery andexecution of what may be traditional trainingmethods. But we are living in a newenvironment, where technology is part of oureveryday lives ‐ and is a cost effective methodof communication. How can the trainingorganization use this "new media"? It's verysimple. Use the new media to market training,conduct training, and to get buy‐in fromstakeholders. Let's discuss the ways to do this.First, we have not touched on the subject ofmarketing training as an innovative concept.When the training organization is faced withanything new, the pressure is on to get thepiece rolled out quickly and efficiently. But justas we are going to discuss using technology andmedia as a training method, it is also easy touse these mediums as marketing tools. Forexample, consider creating a blog that discussesthe curriculum and solicits feedback about it.You can also think about creating a Facebookpage for the training, especially if it is a generalcourse without proprietary information. Usethe page to market and gain followers, evenbefore the course rolls out. You can also useTwitter to put out short informational piecesregarding the curriculum. The main thing toremember when using social media formarketing, or training for that matter, is to keepconfidential information to yourself.Next, consider how you can use social mediaand technology for the training itself. Twitter isa very popular method of communication, sowhy not have participants "tweet" from class?This is a great way to gather momentum andgain followers, especially if your audience isspread out over a large geographic spectrum.The idea here is to have live, "real time"evaluation of the course going on so that thenext wave of participants will be ready to goeven before the course starts. Blogs are also aneffective method of training. Online learningalready uses discussion forums, so it should beeasy to incorporate this type of learning activityinto any course, whether it is classroom basedor online. With a blog, you can also have amoderator who is an instructor, and this personcan ensure that content remains focused on thesubject. Blog moderation is also a good way tomake corrections in incorrect information. Theinstructor can post scenarios, discussions, casestudies, and other activities and haveparticipants respond as part of their normalclass work. The Facebook page is also a goodplace to make assignments, assign reading, andother class related activities.Third, how can you obtain stakeholder buy‐inusing technology and media? If the blog youcreate for a course draws people and has ahealthy level of discussion, you can show it toyour stakeholders as an example of theexcitement generated by the course and its useof new media. You can also encourage thestakeholders to participate in new mediaenvironments such as blogs, Twitter, or evenFacebook. As one stakeholder "buys in" to thenew course and its new delivery methods, the8

next one will be likely to do so, as well. The keyin obtaining buy‐in from stakeholders throughadvanced media is to use it as a tool that showsthe success of the program ‐ and that media canbe used effectively if well monitored andmediated. Not only this, it will show thestakeholders that the training organization ischanging with the times and looking for morecost effective ways to deliver courses. Considerhow effective that will be in the next round ofbudget talks.Next, we are going to look at concept called,"on the go" training, in which training isdeveloped in "digestible" chunks and deliveredin a way that encourages learning in stages.On the Go TrainingIn our series on innovative training concepts,we've discussed some truly new concepts, aswell as some traditional concepts withinnovative changes for today's environment.Our next innovation is the creation of trainingthat is broken down into easy to understand,smaller "chunks" which are then delivered inmethods that fit today's audience. Consider thefact that we are living in an informational agewhere we feel lost without Blackberries, cellphones, and constant access to email. What ifyour training can be delivered in thesemediums? You'll be sure to hit your audiencewhere you know they're watching, even if theyare not in a traditional or online classroom.Let's look at some great ways to implement "onthe go" training.The first step is to look at your existing trainingprograms to determine which ones areappropriate for on the go style learning. Thisexercise will also help you determine where youcan focus your budget, since training deliveryvia technology will probably end up being morecost efficient. The best courses for "chunking"are those that are informational in nature, suchas product knowledge, regulatory training, andperhaps customer service. Courses that are well"stepped out", that is, that follow a very specificpattern from beginning to end are also usefulfor this type of training. Remember that coursesthat require a great deal of interaction shouldbe kept out of the "on the go" realm.Once you have determined your content, breakit down into very small "chunks". For example, alife insurance product knowledge course couldbe broken down by type, then by product, andthen by individual products within that group.So one chunk could be the general informationabout term life insurance, followed byindividual chunks on each product offered. Theidea of breaking content down to these levelsnot only makes it easy to deliver, but alsomakes it easier for participants to "digest",especially if they are going to be seeing thecontent in a media application.The next thing to do with content is to reformatit so that it has a strong second person point ofview, that is, a "you" point of view. Often our"chunkable" training is also quite stuffy in thewriting area, where passive voice andreferences to the product are common. Tochange this around for use in an "on the go"environment, re‐write content so that it"speaks" to the person. Think about why youwould want to do this. A participant mayreceive the training content via email, text,SMS, or video, so you'll want to have contentthat is very personal in nature and feeling. Thiswill also create a need to continue for theparticipant, because he or she will feel that thetraining is very targeted. You will also need totailor your content to the delivery method, solet's move on to a discussion of those methods.9

Let's go back to the beginning. Consider yourown technology. Most of us have cell phones orBlackberries now. We may not be great attexting but the idea of checking email from acell phone is very appealing. Everyone enjoysYouTube and many of us like to download musicto MP3 players like iPods. Think about how thisusage affects training delivery. You can createvery streamlined content for emails. Forexample, one email can detail one product.Within the email, you can link to an online casestudy or even a quiz. Text messages can serveas reminders, such as "Be sure to check outtoday's email product course" or "It's time tocheck your email and take a product quiz!”What about MP3 or video? You can easily turntraining content into a script that can berecorded either as standalone audio or evenwith a PowerPoint. Participants can link to therecording via their desktop, laptop, or netbook,or they may even be able to download thetraining piece and watch it on an iPod. Andsince we all like video, take one of those scriptsand create a video that participants can linkinto, view, and take a quiz afterwards. The ideain "on the go" training is to create content anddelivery methods that match today's workforce.Our final innovative training concept is blendedlearning, which is now a standard method butone that can be innovated easily.Blended LearningBlended learning hit the forefront of trainingand development a few years ago, especiallywith the advent of online learninginterventions. The blended classroomexperience exposes participants to liveclassroom instruction followed by online orcomputer simulation. But with the technologywe have today, blended learning can take onnew innovations that are only limited by ourimaginations. Let's start by determining whatblended learning actually is and then move onto how we can innovate it for today'sorganization.Blended learning uses a combination of deliverymethods. To most of us, blended learningmeans that we combine an online interventionor computer simulation with the live classroomexperience. And this concept definitely works.But as technology changes, we have a variety ofmedia available to put in the "blend". So, theinnovation in blended learning is twofold: thedelivery methods and the combination of thosemethods.First, let's recap the delivery methods we havediscussed in this series on innovative trainingconcepts. We can use web conferencing, videoconferencing, online learning via an LMS, alongwith coaching and mentoring as well as on‐the‐job training. In technology, we've looked at "onthe go" training, social networks, andsimulations, all delivered in various newtechnologies. Plus, we can always rely on thetraditional classroom. As we've discussed,consider how all of these methods can be usedor updated for use within your organization.You can also consider how they are currentlybeing used outside of training and developmentin your organization. For example, regional salesmanagers who may be on the road quite a bitprobably respond to email or texts readily.Associates who work in front of computersmost likely leave their email up and running allday, so a new email will be read quickly andefficiently. Learners in your organization mayalready be accustomed to visiting the LMS on aregular basis to go to class or check grades.When you look at your organization this way,you probably have an idea of what technologies10

you can include in your new, innovativeblended learning platform.Once you've looked at your methods, you mustcreate combinations that innovate. As we'vementioned, the classroom / online combinationis one of the most common, and effective,training methods. But let's go beyond that.What about "homework" as an MP3? Whenparticipants finish a certain portion of class,have them log in to the LMS and find adownloadable homework assignment, completewith instructions and links, to complete beforethe next class meeting. We have touched onblogs as training tools, so why not use the blogduring class time? After a case study, haveparticipants log in and post discussion items.This is also a great blended concept to go alongwith the global classroom we discussed in aprevious installment in this series. Gamingsimulations are great ways to encouragelearning outside of the classroom. For example,when participants leave class, have them goback to the office and log in for an online game,"scavenger hunt", or case study scenario.Instruct participants that they need to completethe simulation before they return to class. Onceback in the classroom, use the scenario orsimulation as a live discussion item. What abouta coach to classroom environment? Whenparticipants leave a course, have them workwith their coach to actually complete the courseobjectives on the job. With this arrangement,you are blending the classroom experience withyour well‐planned coaching and mentoringprogram.One of the best parts about blending learninglike this is that you can, and should, change thecombinations on a regular basis. More andmore, today's training audiences are looking forstimulation and quick interactions so that theycan return to the office or the line as quickly aspossible. Just as you do not want to keep a liveclassroom seated for more than an hour or twoat a time, you also do not want to holdparticipants in one blended learningcombination for an extended period of time.The constant change will keep people comingback for more.Blended learning is an effective trainingmethod, so use every piece of technology,media, and traditional programs in the mostinnovative ways. Copyright 2010 CapitalWave Inc. All Rights Reserved.Bryant Nielson – Strategic Alliance & Acquisitions Director at Financial Training Solutions a divisionof CapitalWave Inc – offers 20 years of training and talent management for executives, businessowners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap fr

Jan 07, 2010 · Making Coaching and Mentoring Innovative There is nothing new about coaching and mentoring. These programs can be very successful in any format, but creating them in an innovative way can lead to further success. For coaching and mentoring, the innova