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EnterTRAINING: The Fast Track to Learning

A guest blog written by Ronna Caras, President of Caras Training.

My brother has ten grandkids aged eight and younger and getting them together is funny, heartwarming and exhausting, just as you would expect. It is also a lesson on teaching.

Even when we are teaching children who are a lot older than eight, twenty-eight or sixty-eight.

Because when humans are dealing with new information, and trying to absorb and apply it, we all learn the way kids do.

Learning in 1950 VS Today

Our brains have changed since audio-visual entertainment started entering our homes every day. We react more to motion than stillness. We remember scenes more than dialog. So, where learning from reading or writing on a blackboard was once efficient, by the 1980’s, we needed storylines and characters to engage and instruct. Without them, learners forgot more than they remembered from their training on products, procedures, policies or performance. Companies whose new hire programs involved telling, trying, and testing, found themselves re-training or, even worse, re-hiring.

By the 2015, the internet and multi-media stimulation have re-wired our thinking to react to constant disruption. 30-minute video stories and 60-minute eLearning programs rarely hold the attention of today’s modern adult of any age. In seconds, we jump over to another thought and lose the point of the learning.




4 Ways to Increase Training Attention & Retention for 2018 & Beyond
  1. Build Training Around Multi-Character Stories with Complex Plots.  Skip the PowerPoint slides showing the steps for problem resolution, processing a transaction, or handling a call. That can take hours to teach and be forgotten in minutes. Instead, develop a cast of characters whose needs and dialog will save you hours of time in the classroom.

Have fun with the names to make them memorable and meaningful. Take a video of each character providing a 15-second request or instruction. Don’t want to use a video? Use still photos of each character that learners can click to hear a piece of audio information.

At the end of each training program, learners will remember “Richard Refund” or “Stewart Split-Seams” and the steps they took to help them. When Richard calls back, they will know where to go to find his account file, as if by magic. But, it’s not magic, it is effective teaching.


  1. Design an Online Audio “Coach” To Replace or Augment a Text-Based Knowledge. FAQs in a knowledgebase are half as effective for teaching, compared to clicking a face with a voice, explaining what to do. Compared to investing in new database software, it’s cost effective to work with Holdcom to get this type of audio. 

  1. Include 5-Minute Skill Drills. Disruption gets remembered. During your new hire training days, new product launches, or any training initiative take advantage and introduce something old and something new. Introduce something new and old, in the form of a 5-minute unexpected activity.

Well-designed short learning experiences include:

  • Sound that grabs attention. This can be a pop song fitted with new words, an atmospheric instrumental, or even a horn blowing.
  • Visual that explains what is on a screen, poster, or small cards placed at each workspace. Each card would then provide instructions for the activity.
  • Action learners must Perhaps they must stand up and practice the new standards for ending a call. First, they practice with one another, then a second, as time allows. Maybe, they must walk up to a quiz board and answer three questions before a timer sounds. A third option is that they can be tasked with finding a piece of data using system tools, they just learned about yesterday.

Any of the key learning points of training’s can become a disruptive 5-minute experience and imprint itself to be recalled forever. 

  1. Let Learners Use Their Phones to Record Audio and Video.
    1. The easiest way to know if everyone has performed well during role-play practice is to hear every role-play. If your classes only have one-to-two trainers and ten or more learners, many opportunities to coach and develop learners will be missed.

    Take advantage of modern learning behaviors, and technology by asking everyone to submit a recording showing their skill. Do this daily, and you will have created an audio library of each learner’s development from brand-new-trainee to ready-for-live-calls.

    Learners take pride in their day one role-play when compared to day five, or day ten. These recordings, along with their tests and other activities will help supervisors know exactly who is coming onto their teams and what the individuals have already mastered.

    These four proven strategies will save countless hours and dollars for your department and training budget. Be sure to focus on audio and video that is brief and exciting. That’s what makes it “Entertraining”.

    As for my family, we are still learning with the kids. I just showed my brother a “jumping in the pool video” involving three of his grandkids and a deflated giraffe. Ten seconds in he was swiping to see if I had something else to look at. Obviously, it was not exciting enough to hold his attention. I guess I am going to have to stick to creating training characters and letting the video pros be in charge of production.


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