Chances are, if you’re here you already understand the benefits of high-quality, engaging learning solutions. However, you and your audience could be missing out if you aren’t also taking advantage of every opportunity to maximize your investment in training!
I’ll explain exactly what I mean by investing in training and why you should care about it (even if you’re a training specialist that’s hired by other companies as a freelancer or consultant). But first drop down to the comments right now. Share the ways you’re already working on maximizing your training investment. If you have no idea if you’re currently doing this, that’s okay, we’ll walk through it together!
What does it mean to maximize my investment in training?
When I talk about training as an investment, it may sound like this is only a concern for instructional designers or learning & development professionals working for a huge corporation.
Not true! Just because the training is being funded by a client or a specific department that you’re not normally a part of, you’ve still invested time and resources into creating something.
You want to make sure everyone gets the most out of it and increase your chances of scoring a repeat client.
Maximizing your investment in training means you’re doing everything in your power to make sure your audience buys in and engages.
It means you follow-up to make sure your training is meeting the objectives, and if it’s not, you use the data to find out why.
And yes, for my corporate L&Ds out there, maximizing your investment in training is also about getting the best bang for your buck. So I’m going to let you in on my not-so-secret tips for getting the absolute most out of your training investment.
Five Ways to Maximize Your Investment in Training
1. Build training into your budget
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s worth discussing. Honestly, this may mean something slightly different to you depending on your unique position.
First and foremost, I strongly believe that training needs should be a part of the budget conversation every year. This means your organization needs to have a general outline of the training it’s planning for the entire year!
Sometimes, pushing to have training needs included in your yearly budget is a good way to get the conversation about professional development rolling early on so there are no huge surprises later.
For my freelancers and trainers who aren’t part of a larger corporation, this is still something you can do. Your own professional development is your business! Plan and budget for your own professional development for the entire year and invest in bettering yourself.
2. Work the resources you have
Here’s a tip that will help you maximize your investment in training by saving you some cash so you can either devote it to enriching a different aspect of the training or come in under budget (which will make everyone happy!).
When it comes to developing and designing training, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You likely have a tool belt of resources that you keep coming back to because they give good results.
Take advantage of the software and application subscriptions you already have when you’re putting together a training instead of seeking out the latest and greatest every time.
What do I mean by this?
Several years ago, in one of the organizations I worked for, we decided to start adding video clips of our sales reps and executive leadership in our eLearning courses.
The video was very popular – and still is – for on-demand learning.
The Problem: my team knew how to use Captivate and knew how to add videos to Captivate but my team did not know how to use software to edit or create videos.
We all had access to Premiere as a part of our Creative Cloud subscription, but we had no idea how to use it, and I did not have the budget to send the team, or even one team member, to training.
The Solution: One of my former team members in another department was a Premiere guru. So, I went to David and his boss and asked if it would be willing to take some time one afternoon to teach my team how to work with the software. He generously said yes and trained us all.
We did not have the budget for training so we worked with the internal knowledge resources we had to get up to speed. We were still able to maximize our investment in training and you can too.
You can save time and money by using the resources you have, whenever it makes sense for the learning situation and your budget to maximize your investment in training.
3. Use feedback effectively and track data post-training
Just because a training module has been designed, developed and delivered, doesn’t mean your opportunities to maximize your investment in training have ended.
First, you have the training feedback. Hopefully, your audience has been asked to provide some feedback on the course upon completion (if not, get on it! You can send a request for feedback in the weeks after the training, but don’t wait too long).
Don’t just let that valuable data go to waste. Go through the feedback and keep learner suggestions on file for the next training. There may even be small changes you can make to the training for the next wave of learners. You can even follow-up with participants for clarification or a second opinion once they’ve had a chance to apply their learning.
Another treasure trove of data lies in the post-training assessment. Instead of just letting all those assessment scores sit around, analyze that data! Look for growth and trends, identify any areas where there’s room for improvement.
Report back to the department heads so they can see the success of the training (or plan for a follow-up to fill in any gaps). Also, consider sending a post-training email blast to the participants. Sharing success is a great way to remind your audience that training is beneficial. It keeps them invested in furthering themselves professionally.
It might be uncomfortable, but if the growth data just is not there, chances are your audience felt this! Acknowledging this post-training and connecting it to how future training will address the gap is also important.
You’ve already put time and money into creating the surveys and assessments, so take full advantage of the data they provide you with.
4. Capitalize on in-house and off-site training
You know I am a big fan of Quarterly Rocks and creating goals for each quarter. In my ‘rocks’ for the quarter I always plan some type of development for my team. Sometimes, however, I have to get creative about great learning opportunities that won’t put us over budget.
When it comes to investing in training, sometimes the best investment is making use of the vast amount of knowledge and skill within the team. This can be capitalized to train other team members. It could be as simple as 5-10 minute training during a monthly meeting. It could also be a stand-alone in-person or eLearning training opportunity built just for the team.
This is valuable for several reasons: tapping into talent on your own team highlights individual strengths. It is also a good morale boost for the individual you’ve asked to share. Staff are also more likely to buy-in and remain engaged while a peer is presenting them with new information. Plus, a quick development session using internal resources isn’t a huge expense!
Conferences and other off-site training opportunities come up often (and you should definitely do your research before you invest in this kind of learning experience). This may be another beneficial investment in staff development.
If you send a member of the team to an off-site development opportunity, have them present a mini-training session at the next team meeting. Let them share the learning opportunity with the team. This will help solidify what the attendee learned by teaching it to others. It also provides an educational opportunity for those who were not able to attend. Win-Win!
5. Market your training
Wait a second, isn’t training required? Why should you spend time and money on marketing when you already have the customers? Well, you may have the audience but you might not have their buy-in yet.
A skeptical audience can lessen the effectiveness of even the most organized and engaging learning experience. That kind of audience is not the way to maximize your training investment.
To combat this, you can use marketing tactics before, during, and after your training to ensure their buy-in. Advertise the WIIFM (or, what’s in it for me) ahead of training. Use simple graphic design methods to direct and keep the learners’ gaze. Follow-up with post-training questionnaires to get the audience thinking about their learning after some time has passed.
These are all easy, inexpensive ways to promote your training with huge benefits.
Wrapping it all up
Maximizing your (or your client’s) investment in training looks good on paper and has tremendous benefits for the learners. This is a practice that benefits any training specialist regardless of your position.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. What’s something you’re planning on putting into practice right away? What’s something you’re already doing that I didn’t mention? Hop over to my Facebook page and share away!
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I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
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Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
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I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
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I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
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Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
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I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
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