How to use time management to make your training more engaging
Good time management is at the heart of many things! How often have you suddenly realised you haven’t managed to do all the things you had planned to do with your day? And wondered where all the time went? It’s the same with training sessions. You don’t want to get almost to the end of a workshop, and realize you are only halfway through the carefully planned content you spent considerable time and energy honing into the perfect training session. And if you’re the student, you don’t want to feel rushed, or like you’re missing out on something important.
The good news, however, is that time management is your friend. It will help you build a clear framework for your training sessions, and create more engaging material for the participants. Want to know how? We’ll talk you through how to manage the time you have available for your training sessions to your advantage. More dynamic, participative workshops lead to greater engagement, and this will reap greater rewards for you and your trainees.
Why is engagement so important in workshops and training sessions?
Increased engagement in a training session has benefits for the participant, the trainer, and the company paying for the training. Continuous professional development is seen as a perk by employees, and it is important for them to get the most out of it they can. It is useful for their own personal development and their current and future career prospects. And businesses are looking to develop their staff. New employees might need workplace training, but it is also vital for businesses these days to retain talent rather than having to rehire. Recruitment of new personnel costs a lot more than investing in upskilling their current employees. It means they can be more effective in their roles, now and in the future.
Whether professionals are attending an hour’s online training or an in-person event that lasts more than a day, the fundamentals remain the same.
Upskilling is an important employee benefit
The American Upskilling Study found that ‘upskilling is becoming a sought-after employee benefit and powerful attraction tool for employers’. With 65% of workers in the US believing that employer-provided upskilling is very important when evaluating a potential new job, professional training is an important investment in time and money for an employer. They therefore want to ensure they get as much out of it as possible. And, as the trainer, you want engaged participants who are learning and retaining the information you are giving them.
It is much more rewarding to know that what you do makes a difference. And it is much easier to deal with a room – real or virtual or both – of people who are thriving, happy to be there and are keen to engage and learn.
So, how can you use the time constraints you have to your advantage? If we look at time as our friend and a way to build engagement, rather than as a factor we are constantly fighting, we can embrace time management and build it in. The result is effective, engaging training, better outcomes for the trainees and the employer, and a lot less stress for the course facilitator.
How can time constraints hinder course engagement, delivery, and success?
As with everything, you only have so much time. There will be a number of topics that need to be covered, and they will all require a certain amount of your allocated time. It’s never fun to feel like you are up against the clock, or trying to shoehorn something in. The good news is that effective planning can help prevent this.
You may have created the perfect workshop that was timed to perfection when you were planning it. Now that you are delivering it, time seems to be running away. Many things can contribute to this scenario, but the key is to plan for them and use everything you have at your disposal to limit the impact of unforeseen circumstances. You can maximize the benefits of any time management tools you can use to increase engagement at the same time.
Engagement helps with focus and attention
Maybe your training has been held up by unexpected technical issues that needed dealing with. Don’t forget, this can happen whether you are delivering your course online or in-person! Perhaps the class was interrupted by a student or derailed by an unplanned diversion from the course content. It can sometimes be tricky to realize when this is imminent, and then bring it back and prevent it from following a different direction than you had intended. When participants are less engaged it is easy for them to lose focus and attention. It can take time to get things back on track. Not to mention if you haven’t adequately prepared and planned the chances of your training going off on a tangent are much higher anyway.
If this happens, there can be a panic to get through things in the given time. This means that topics may not be covered adequately, and participants can feel rushed or that they have not been given the information and understanding they were promised. It’s not a good place to be in, either for the participants or the training facilitator. And obviously the company paying for the training is not getting value for money.
But this is the worst-case scenario, and with just a little planning and the use of the right tools and structures, trainers can use time constraints to their advantage. They can increase, rather than decrease, participant engagement levels.
How can time management bring structure to a dynamic training session?
Starting with a clear plan is vital. Knowing what you need to cover and how long each section or activity will take is key. Defining an agenda that you intend to stick to is the first step. When you have your plan, set specific start and end times for each activity, but make sure there are also enough breaks factored in to ensure that people won’t get tired. Fatigue can lead to participants losing focus.
Making sure there is enough time allocated to encouraging participation and teamwork will help keep the session dynamic and engaging, as will using different media at various points during the training. The more engagement you can foster, the better. You can use your time constraints to help you keep the group focused and engaged, which in turn leads to quicker learning and better retention.
Using time management in training sessions to increase engagement
You know what you need to get through in the time that you have. Make sure your students are aware that the delivery of their training is subject to time constraints but that you have it covered. Let them know they will not miss out on anything because you have carefully managed the process to ensure all the information you need them to know will be imparted. This can help you to find the right balance between creating an effective sense of urgency and a sense of rush, that will help you proceed through things in the most effective way possible.
Interaction and collaboration
Make it clear that interaction and collaboration are encouraged, but that each section or exercise will need to be completed within a certain time frame. Tell your participants exactly what this time frame will be before they start a task. For example, when appropriate, it’s a good idea to show a timer on your online whiteboard. This way, the group has a great basis from which to work. It will help them focus from the outset and use their time more efficiently.
Using time management strategies will benefit team exercises and lead to greater engagement. A team that knows they have a limited amount of time to get something done will want to start straight away. This will also encourage greater interaction and collaboration between the team members, which in turn leads to better outcomes, as they work to achieve a goal or solve a problem together.
Using interactive and collaborative tools for time management in training sessions
Brainstorming sessions encourage creativity and innovative thinking. They are very useful for building up a sense of team, as well as providing an opportunity for new ways of thinking. Using brainstorming sessions within your training workshops can offer opportunities for group discussion and collaboration. Digital whiteboards offer many ways in which brainstorming sessions can become even more productive. With the ability to organize, categorize, and ‘like’ ideas, online whiteboards can help teams get to the crux of the matter much more quickly than if they were using a pen and paper.
Brainstorming sessions are designed to be fast paced and relatively quick. If you add a time element into them, it helps focus your trainees’ minds to paying attention to the task at hand, fostering engagement. It also means the trainer is much more in control of the session. Using a digital whiteboard with an inbuilt timer means everyone can see exactly how long they have. This also solves the problem of having to find and use a separate timer app that maybe not everyone can see.
In situations where not everyone knows each other, or where some individuals may not be as comfortable in a group, icebreakers are a great tool. They offer an opportunity to get to know other people in an informal and unthreatening way. However, they have other uses too, and there are various types of tried and tested icebreakers that can be useful in different scenarios. They can be used to boost creativity or efficiency, and an icebreaker tool can also be integrated with a digital whiteboard. The timer for this part of a session can be set for as long as you like, improving time management.
Challenges, matrices, and other useful tools
Digital whiteboards make plenty of useful tools even more useful. By bringing a time element into their use, you create a sense of importance, which serves to increase engagement. There are various challenges that can be undertaken by groups and team members during workshops and other training sessions. Team challenges, for example, can be used to get a group to use teamwork to build individual and collective skills. Using a digital whiteboard for this type of challenge means that participants can see where they are in real time.
Using an online whiteboard for filling in the Eisenhower Matrix and other similar activities leads to greater engagement among course participants. Collaborative online tools that help build engagement also allow the course facilitator to take control of the timing elements of their sessions and use them to their advantage – and not just to make sure they don’t overrun! Increased engagement during workshops and training sessions leads to better outcomes for the participants, and therefore for the employer too.
All these tools can be used for in-person, remote, or hybrid delivery. They allow all participants, regardless of where they are located, to have the same learning experience.
Time management and engaged students
Time management will help you get the best from your workshops and your students. Whether you are teaching online, remotely, or on a hybrid basis, make sure you are using the best digital resources available. Create your course content with a strong framework: your time management can be used for the benefit of you and your students.
Here at Klaxoon we have all the tools and resources you could need to help you create engaging courses that are well-structured and managed. Why not check out our resources page for more ideas?