12 Pitfalls to Avoid When Building Your Training Program

Posted on
January 31, 2024
Billy Mike
from myQuest

Creating an effective and engaging training program isn't always an easy task. Without proper guidance and knowledge, it's easy to fall into pitfalls that can make the training less impactful and enjoyable. This post divides the training creation process into three phases: the planning phase, the building phase, and the learning phase. Each phase includes common pitfalls that, by avoiding them, you'll be able to save time, resources, and deliver an outstanding training experience to your customers and or employees.

Planning Phase

The planning phase involves setting a strong foundation for the training program. It means clear goal-setting, detailed preparation, and ensuring that the training is properly structured.

Pitfall 1: Unclear Training Objectives

Without well-defined objectives, training can lack direction and purpose. It can be confusing for both the training provider and the learners and make it difficult to measure the program's success.

To avoid this pitfall, start by setting clear, specific, and measurable objectives. The objectives should align with the broader goals of your organization or with the specific skills that learners need to develop as part of the training. Every aspect of the training content should be designed with these objectives in mind, providing a goal-oriented learning experience. 

Pitfall 2: Skipping the Structure Development

If you don’t start by developing a structured outline for your training program, you might end up wasting precious time trying to organize and build your content.

Creating a clear outline first will enable you to manage the entire process efficiently and effectively. Before diving into content creation, establish the program’s structure. This involves listing the various modules, lessons, and activities that participants will complete, ensuring that each segment logically builds upon the previous one. A well-planned structure will not only save time but also optimize resources in the next phases.

Pitfall 3: Lack of a Project Plan

Developing a training program without a project plan can lead to disorganization, missed deadlines, and resource mismanagement. It can result in a rushed or incomplete final product, which can negatively impact the learning experience.

To make the best use of your time and resources, develop a comprehensive project plan that outlines each stage of the training development process. This should include timelines, resource allocation, content development milestones, and testing periods. Regularly monitor the plan’s progress and be flexible to adjust it as needed. 

Building Phase

The building phase involves the actual creation of the content and materials, as well as uploading them to your training platform. This is where you turn theoretical plans into an actual learning journey.

Pitfall 4: Lengthy Videos

Videos are a great learning tool, but when they're too long, they can be overwhelming and make it difficult for learners to retain information. Given that learners have varying attention spans, lengthy videos can challenge those with shorter attention spans to remain focused and engaged throughout.

Keep videos concise, ideally under 10 minutes. Use engaging storytelling, relevant examples, and visually appealing graphics to keep learners interested. Break down complex topics into several shorter videos. This will help you keep learners engaged and also make it easier to edit or reshoot videos in the future if necessary.

Pitfall 5: Information Overload in Text

Bombarding learners with excessive text can lead to cognitive overload, where the learner becomes too overwhelmed to process the information. Learners who feel overwhelmed with content will not understand it and might even skip it or completely drop out. 

To avoid this pitfall, use clear and concise language. Break text down into short sections, and incorporate bullet points and images. If possible, provide summaries or key takeaways at the end of each section to reinforce learning points. That way, your content will be easier to read and less intimidating.

Pitfall 6: Premature Video Production

Creating videos too early in the training development process can be a risky thing. Not only can it lead to videos that are not 100% aligned with your objectives and structure, but it can also result in the need for costly and time-consuming reshoots. 

Before you shoot your program’s videos, finalize the training structure and content and create video scripts. Doing things in this order will ensure that your videos are fully aligned with the program and reduce the likelihood of having to redo them. 

Pitfall 7: Complex Language and Jargon

Using overly technical language or industry jargon can make training content inaccessible or confusing for learners. It can result in a barrier to learning, particularly for those without prior background knowledge.

Try to use a simple and clear language. Use everyday terms and, if needed, define any industry-specific jargon. You can also use examples and analogies to better present complex concepts.

Pitfall 8: Lack of Content Variety

When building your training program, relying only on a single format of content can lead to a boring learning experience that doesn’t cater to different learning styles. Going for a one-size-fits-all approach can reduce the program’s effectiveness and make learners disengaged. 

Use a blend of content formats such as videos, text, infographics, interactive modules, and live sessions. That way, you can cater to different audiences and learning preferences and keep the training dynamic and engaging. 

Learning Experience Phase

This phase is all about the way learners interact with your content and apply the knowledge they gain throughout the training. Avoiding the pitfalls associated with this phase can help you design a journey that is highly engaging, interactive, and impactful. 

Pitfall 9: Lack of Active Learning

Delivering learning in a passive way can lead to poor knowledge retention and lack of practical application. Learners who don’t actively engage and participate in the training find it difficult to apply the information in real-world situations, which damages the overall effectiveness of the training. 

To ensure you build an action-oriented program, integrate elements like quizzes, simulations, and hands-on exercises. Encourage discussions, group work, and problem-solving activities that require learners to apply what they learn. That way, you will not only help them understand the material in a better way, but you will also provide an enjoyable and engaging experience that’s relevant to their everyday lives. 

Pitfall 10: Insufficient Feedback

Lack of timely and constructive feedback can leave learners uncertain about their performance and areas for improvement. When people don’t receive feedback and don’t know how they’re doing, they feel unmotivated and are less likely to make sufficient progress. 

Implement regular feedback mechanisms such as quizzes with instant results, peer reviews, and opportunities for instructor feedback. Use technology to provide automated, immediate feedback where possible. This helps learners to quickly identify and work on their weaknesses and gives them an opportunity to understand and learn from their mistakes. 

Pitfall 11: No Interactions with Other Learners

Training programs that don’t give opportunities for learners to interact with one another can lead to a sense of isolation. Without community and/or peer engagement, learners can’t exchange ideas and experiences, and might feel less motivated to participate. 

Create opportunities for interactions through discussion forums, group projects, and peer assessments. Encourage collaborative learning where learners can share insights and feedback with each other. That way, you can improve the overall learning experience, and also build a sense of community and togetherness. 

Pitfall 12: Ignoring Learning Analytics

Failing to utilize learning analytics can mean missing out on critical insights into how learners are interacting with your training program. These insights and information are critical when it comes to improving and optimizing your program. 

To ensure you properly track and analyze learning analytics, implement tools that allow you to follow learner engagement, progress, and performance. Use this data to identify areas of struggle and opportunities for content improvement. Regularly review the data to make timely adjustments and ensure the program is relevant and effective for your specific audience. 

Avoiding these pitfalls when planning, building, and delivering your training programs can help you improve engagement, knowledge retention, and completion rates. The more you pay attention to these details, the more impactful your training program will be. 

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