Because Effective Training Programs Are Brain-Friendly

by Alexandrea Roman on December 5, 2013 and last updated on September 26, 2016

Talent is the most important resource of an organization. For a company to continue growing and thriving, investment in training employees should be a top priority, especially now that technology has made it more affordable and efficient.

Training used to have a typical classroom setup: A group of employees would be pulled out from their work to spend one or two hours in a conference room listening to a trainer talking at the front. Because the session was scheduled, employees had to put their tasks on hold to make time for the training. If that wasn’t possible, training would have to be done after hours, forcing employees to go on overtime. If you think about it, this scenario is a lot like how traditional enterprise and board meetings work.

But it’s different nowadays. Employees don’t have to rely on a trainer all the time to get the training they need. Because of e-learning, employees can learn at their own pace on their own free time using their mobile devices. If you think that only meetings have gone paperless, then you have to think twice: Even training programs have gone digital, too.

From short how-to-videos to interactive multimedia modules, resources can be created to cover a range of topics. They can also be made accessible to all employees who want to learn a new skill or improve existing ones by putting lessons on an online portal. Employees can access them using their PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones whenever they can.

However, quality doesn’t necessarily come with quantity. Your company can produce many e-learning courses, but how can you be sure that they’re effective? When users are inundated with too much information, their brains tend to block out the overload. Instead of learning something valuable, your employees may forget what they’ve just studied.

How does one make effective e-learning courses that your employees can easily understand and remember? The secret lies in brain-friendliness. The human brain has a high capacity to learn, but only when it’s properly motivated. Thus, effective e-learning courses should be motivating enough to make people want to learn more. Once they’re truly interested and involved in the subject matter, retention isn’t too far behind.

Brain-friendly content is something the human mind perceives as useful and pleasurable. When designing resources, course makers should put themselves in the shoes of their target audience and ask the questions:

How will I benefit from this?

How does this make me feel?

How does this challenge me?

Learning is not just a mental experience; it’s an emotional one, too. Effective e-learning courses succeed because they present useful data in an interesting way (through stories, illustrations, etc.) and because they stir feelings in their users (interest, curiosity, etc.).

Suppose there are two courses on how to speak basic Japanese. The first one lists all the common expressions, their definitions, and their pronunciations. It’s straightforward and accurate, but it’s a text-heavy course that resembles a dictionary. It’s not motivating and engaging. It doesn’t drive users to push forward.

The second course presents the same common expressions the first one does, but instead of a written pronunciation guide, it features a video of a few locals actually saying the words to give the lesson a touch of authenticity. It also plays funny cartoon skits showing how the language is used in everyday life. It then requires users to join webcam chats with instructors and other users to practice what they just learned. It’s a fun course that piques and sustains interest long enough for users to finish it.

Between the two courses, there’s no doubt that the second one is brain-friendly. Users taking this course will learn the basics of the Japanese language (“How will I benefit from this?”) through friendly competition with other users (“How does this challenge me?”); at the same time, they’ll be entertained by the humor in the videos (“How does this make me feel?”).

Note how the second course has the following characteristics: thought-provoking, emotional, conversational, and visual. These four characteristics work together to create a learning moment, which is the ultimate goal for all effective e-learning courses for your employees.


Convene is more than a paperless board meeting solution. It can also be used beyond the boardroom as a training tool for lectures, presentations, and workshops. Learn more about Convene’s full capabilities by requesting for a quote or a demo.

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About Alexandrea Roman

Alexandrea is a social media specialist and blogger for Convene.

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