My most vivid childhood memories are of the first days of school each fall: the hustle of getting clothes and supplies ready, practicing the walking route (when the school was new), the fresh smell of the halls and classrooms after their summer cleaning and buffing. Most of all I remember the feeling of being mentally ready and receptive to learning after a summer where my brain was less than active. I think most of us can relate to that “back to school feeling”, especially those of us who have children so we can relive it.
There’s a “back to school feeling” at work too, I’ve noticed. People seem more interested and ready to learn new skills – in face-to-face classrooms, elearning courses, and informally on the job. Enrollments and registrations usually pick up the end of August and continue through October. Instructors and facilitators are usually more enthusiastic and focused as well.
As trainers, training managers and administrators – and as learners, we can capitalize on this “back to school feeling”:
- Increase publicity and “marketing” for programs and classes at this time of year.
- Connect with managers of your participants – they often have a back to school feeling too and may be more inclined to support enrollments for their employees now. Now is a good time to invite them to become more involved with supporting their employees’ learning. Click here for some specific ideas to get managers involved.
- Use the “back to school” theme in communications (you know, chalk and blackboards, apples) and class props in live classes. PowerPoint has several fun templates with this theme.
- Be prepared to help learners focus. After a more relaxed summer that probably included at least one week of vacation, they may need a little more assistance getting focused.
- Use “back to school” as an opportunity to reconnect with previous participants to reinforce what they have learned previously.
- Spruce up that course or training department webpage
- Send an email asking participants’ managers and/or trainees themselves how they are applying their learning
- Remind participants how they said they would overcome obstacles to apply what they learned.
- Check in with training buddies and/or support groups
- Pay a visit to a job site or otherwise check in on previous participants
- Consider your own professional development. Take a class. It’s always interesting to be on the other “side of the fence” for a change.
- Consider a certification for yourself. These days more importance seems to be placed on certificates and certifications. How do you stack up with your peers? Take my Making E-Learning Stick™ certification
- Ask yourself: what do I want to learn that I don’t know? What’s the best way to learn it?
- If you’re not taking at least 2 weeks of professional development each year, you’re not keeping up with your learners!
- Consider going back to school and getting a degree or another degree. Many online programs make this more convenient than ever.
As the days begin to get cooler for most of us, capitalize on the “back to school” emotions to help make your training stick!
Until next time….
P.S. Follow me on Twitter: @StickyTraining