1) Use talk-back instead of tests.While some testing may be necessary to make sure your employees have mastered the basics, testing is one of the least effective ways to ensure that your staff remembers those basics for the long-haul. Rather than relying on tests to gauge how well the training group has handled the information, engage in active conversation with members of the group, draw out individuals who may be less naturally social, and give consistent feedback on the progress of both individuals and the group as a whole.
Encourage a growth mentality.Some of the most influential research on education in the last two decades has centered around the "growth mindset." The simple version is that, when it comes to learning, most people fall into one of of two groups: They either believe that people are born with a certain level of ability and intelligence that they cannot alter (a "fixed mindset") or they believe that people can grow and obtain new intellectual heights (a "growth mindset").
People with a growth mindset do better professionally and academically. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that simple training-room additions to encourage a growth mindset have a lasting impact on how well trainees learn and how well they retain the information. While the techniques for encouraging a growth mentality vary, the core principle remains the same: Students must be reminded that failure is an opportunity to learn and that growth is the objective of the training itself.
Use next-to-real environments.By using pseudo-real environments (such as those we discussed in our previous Azure pop-up lab entry), you can help your training group get acclimated to the systems they will actually end up using. This will improve user adoption and information retention.
Additionally, pseudo-real environments let you do something especially useful to aid the learning process: Forcing your students to fail. Studies have found that students who are put in a situation where they fail and must then figure out how to resolve the situation are more confident and capable than students who were simply taught the "right way" to do things.
We'll have more training tips in the future, so be sure to stay tuned as we help you maximize the impact of your SharePoint training.