Make it a Party: Create Training Solutions Worth Celebrating

Every company and organization needs to provide some sort of training for their employees (and often for their customers or clients too), but the trick is to turn this have-to-do task into something fun. We like to develop training as if we were planning a party, and the result is learning solutions that are interesting, engaging, and impactful. Here is how you too can turn your training into a celebration of your organization's goals and an invitation to join in.

Know what you're celebrating

The first thing you need to know when planning a party is who it's for and what you're celebrating. You wouldn't start buying decorations or planning games without knowing basic information such as the average age of guests and the reason for the event, and you shouldn't start developing your training before you know your learners' background and what they need to know.

Identify your target audience—or your guests, so to speak—upfront and determine what they need to know by the end of the training. You can use that gathered information to define concrete, measurable, and actionable objectives. Keep these objectives in mind as you plan and develop your training, always referencing back to make sure each piece of information and every activity points back to understanding and achieving those objectives.

Give it a theme

What's a party without a theme? Your training theme might be subtle or obvious, just like a party, but either way, it can serve as a tool to make the learner feel comfortable as well as better absorb and retain the information.

For example, we once created a training course called The Roadmap to Hiring Success, and we used transportation-themed language and imagery to lead the learner through the journey of the course. In another situation, a client was presenting at a conference with a slogan of "In Touch." We used graphics of people touching the screen and wrote content that included touching on a topic or feeling for their users.

Using themes to enliven your training and engage your audience will help you hold your guests' attention and help them remember what they've learned.

Set the mood

Will your party be formal or casual? Should your training be strictly professional or more quirky? You can set the tone with the visual design of your training (a.k.a. the party decorations) as well as in the narration or script. Seasoned staff might enjoy references to company history and policies or practices, rather than generic examples and case studies. On the other hand, avoiding company jargon and assumed knowledge gives new hires a feeling of acceptance. You want your guests to know this party is for them and they are in the right place.

Follow proper etiquette

While proper etiquette (or in the case of your training, good writing and grammar) rarely make something memorable, if there's a stickler in your audience, they will be distracted by a small mistake and let it ruin the rest of the event. Party foul! Make sure you follow the standard rules of good writing—using active voice, avoiding jargon, and showing (rather than telling) the learner—and then send this good writing through an editorial and proofreading loop to catch any grammatical mistakes or spelling errors. Pay attention to these small details and you, as the host, and your organization will come out looking great.

At McKinnon-Mulherin, we value lifelong learning and professional development. We are committed to helping companies create successful learning solutions, and we have two decades of experience in instructional design to offer. Let us help you celebrate your organizational goals and train your employees. Email or call us today, and we can get the party started!

Jennifer Pennington

Jennifer Pennington | Writer and Project Manager

Jennifer has been with McKinnon-Mulherin since 2016. She has a background in non-profit and higher education development writing and is enjoying the learning curve with a great team of co-workers.