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User Experience – The Path to Designing Customer Focused Professional Trainings

 

There is an excessive supply of professional trainings today. Be it security instructions for handling hazardous goods, trainings for using all kinds of software, or for improving cognitive abilities. The possibilities are almost unlimited. Especially offers for further professional education are indispensable today, as employers have understood the value of investing in their employees’ qualification. Trainings designed for leisure are also legion. Think about all those sports classes. All those various offers for training and education share the goal to enable participants to improve or to master the respective fields by giving theoretical or practical input.

In light of this situation, it is necessary to think about the factors that define ‘good’ training or education measures. How can high quality be achieved? Which methods have to be applied? How can the trainings’ content be practically applied? What makes a good coach? In the end, all these questions are concerned with the trainings’ benefit for the participants. In other, more fashionable words: Which kind of User Experience (UX) do the trainings offer?

At the moment, everybody talks about UX. The concept was born in the digital age, where companies design content according to customers’ behaviours and try to adjust to their needs. The acronym “UX” describes the experience of using a certain product. It reflects a person’s experiences, emotions, and feelings while using a product. [1]

Agile methods for product development are concentrated on benefit or value maximization for the customers. In the context of training UX focuses customers’ experiences, too. For this very reason, we at TEAMWILLE adapt to participants’ needs and wishes when we design or conduct our trainings. Therefore, TEAMWILLE focuses on four different fields for planning and conducting qualifications or Trainings:

  • Understanding participants in advance: For preparing trainings, it is important to talk to customers in advance in order to clarify which contents to include for generating the greatest benefit for the participants. On the one hand, this step is concerned with the training’s goals. On the other, it is important to understand the composition of participants as a group. For example, if you’re dealing with a homogeneous group, you can include more interactive elements as all participants share the same level of knowledge. In the case of a heterogeneous group, you have to establish common ground first.
  • Meeting participants on their level: It is essential for a successful day of training to get a sound impression about the participants. The coach has to establish a personal bond, to estimate praticipants’ state of knowledge, and to learn what they expect from the class.
  • Applying methods for absorbing information: Sure, content is the most important thing about every training. However, for ensuring a sustainable training, the methods for conveying information are crucial as well. Therefore, the use of interactive methods is important as they are the only way to make sure that participants actually remember the curriculum. As the following table shows, teaching methods that force participants to repeat and apply contents are most effective in terms of sustainable learning.

Lehnert, Uwe: Der EDV-Trainer. EDV-Lehrveranstaltungen planen, EDV-Hand­habungswissen vermitteln. Lehr- und Handbuch für Trainer, Ausbilder, Instruk­toren, Berufsschullehrer, Volkshochschuldozenten, Mitarbeiter des Benut­zerservices, Trainer von EDV-Trainern, München/Wien 1997, p. 118. Translation of inscription by author of blog post.

  • Empathy of the coaches: The coaches need the ability to put themselves into the participants’ position and to take their perspective. If a coach empathizes with participants, he or she can secure that they can achieve personal gain from the training. In practice, that means that coaches use commonly known analogies so that participants can apply theoretical contents to their own situation and gain a deeper understanding.

As we have seen, the success of a coaching depends as much on the mode of presentation as on the content. Indeed, people might perceive interesting and important contents as boring and obsolete because coaches convey them monotonously. Thus, the goals of qualification measures can be jeopardized because participants don’t apprehend and apply contents in the way previously desired. Therefore, you have to design professional trainings and qualification measures according to the principle of User Experience. This is the best way to choose the appropriate teaching methods in order to create a successful learning experience.

[1] https://www.gruenderszene.de/lexikon/begriffe/user-experience

[2] Lehnert, Uwe: Der EDV Trainer 1997, S. 118. Original table in German, translation by author of blog post.

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