7 Proven Techniques To Improve Training Completion Rates

Written by Shalini Saxena on 07 September 2017

Are you conducting a soft skills training or a customer service training for your employees? Conducting any online training program can be a daunting task and requires great efforts and involves huge expenses while organizing. If the training is not completed by a number of people enrolled then the effort and expenditure goes to waste. Thus, completion rate is an important metric for tracking the success of a training program. Completion rate is simply the percentage of learners who complete the training on or before the completion date. It is an important learning metric and why it matters so much is because "Completion rates are used in approximately 86% of summative usability tests and around 79% of formative tests" .

Did you know that only 10% of the students, enrolled online, complete the courses? To achieve higher completion rates, the context and consequences need to be taken into account. You need to list the positive impact the training can have and the negative influence it may have if it is not completed. Here are some proven techniques to improve training completion rate for your next program:

(1) Create engaging content to avoid distractions

Don’t just teach but narrate a story, transform the learning experience into a stunning journey. Use analogy or embed tales, craft it such that they look forward to ‘how it ends’. Keep the anxiety levels high and interactivity levels even higher. Allow learners to interact with the content using interactive videos with clickable areas or fun questionnaires in between the modules.

(2) Provide byte-sized content for short attention spans

Keep it short! Keep it crisp! Say only what you must say. Divide your content into smaller pieces - an average of 3 to 10 minutes long chunks. Call these information morsels - modules or levels based on the context. Several researches over the years have indicated that microlearning improves knowledge retention as well as course completion rates radically. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care re-designed their traditional training programmes into micro learning modules for their eye care professionals. This increased the completion rates of their online courses by 740% - (Elucidat, 2015).

(3) Track the learning with a module completion criteria

Set up some completion criteria for each module. It can be a simple quiz or a detailed assessment. You may even restrict learners from proceeding to next module until they spend a specified amount of time on the current one. Encourage them to move to next level! This will also ease-up the tracking process for you as you’ll be clearly able to see every user's progress through the program.

(4) Gamify the process to give sense of achievement

From boring boardroom lectures to exciting user interfaces, gamification has amplified modern learning to an incredible level. User interaction is the soul of gamification - with a highly interactive interface constantly communicating with the user, leave no room for distraction. At every step whether it is completion of a topic, winning a badge, finishing a level or just answering a question - pat the learner’s back! Make sure that the user is appreciated for whatever is achieved by him while at the same time he has a glimpse of what is going to happen next.

(5) Improve engagement with discussion forums and social learning

Social learning brings a competitive spirit with it. Let learners interact with each other - to discuss their queries, doubts and progress. Let them compete with other learners, earn badges as they move up through levels, and win virtual rewards. Allow them to share these badges and rewards on social platforms. This way enthusiasm of learners is boosted and the tendency of loss aversion keeps users motivated to do better.

(6) Remind about the progress, follow up from time-to-time

Draft and send system emails, remind them - to complete their training, how they will benefit from it, what will happen if they don’t acquire the skills this training offers. Ask them if they are stuck somewhere, finding something difficult to understand and if they need any help. Such reminders on learner’s status of training, result in improved completion percentage and they feel comfortable to communicate their concerns.

(7) Issue a certificate of completion at the end - it acts as a driving force

The good old certificate technique still works very well! Though the way trainings are conducted have changed radically over the years - issuing a certificate of completion is something which has the same impact it always had. People love to flaunt training certificates in their CVs and LinkedIn profiles. It’s even better if you can get a reputed certifying authority to validate the training certificate.

Apply these techniques now and ensure higher completion rates!

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