A solid base is critical for anything to thrive, and this statement holds true for training. In this case, B.A.S.E stands for building, assessing, storytelling and engaging. These ideas are particularly useful for training new hires, but you can adapt them to ongoing learning as well.
I train the way I do because I care about people. I care about where they come from and how I can help them reach where they want to be. So, when I say “building,” I’m talking about building connections and relationships. Whether it’s in one day or over a few weeks of training, we must carve out time to make connections.
Ask questions that go beyond the learning material, and bring ideas and strategies to the table that learners can use outside of their role. A simple strategy is a daily check-in question or daily tips on topics from avoiding burnout to networking. It lets your learners know that while there is work to do, taking time to get to know one another and grow in other ways is just as important. Daily check-ins can be a simple “Would you rather …?” question, discussing a favorite quote or asking how learners feel.
After you spend time building connections, it’s important to take a quick assessment. Two good places to start with those assessments are identifying learners’ “why” and checking in with where they are.
At the beginning of training, ask your learners why they accepted their new role. Set boundaries, but encourage them to be honest. Offer examples, like “for the pay,” “I need to work,” “I’m interested in the field” and “to help people.” This conversation will give you invaluable information about your learners.
In regards to “where are they now,” this question is a simple check to find out learners’ level of knowledge as it relates to their new role. You can conduct this check-in at the beginning of training and then each day of a multi-day training program to assess retention and confidence.
Now that you’ve taken meaningful moments to connect and you’ve assessed learners’ “why” and where they are now, you can tell meaningful stories that help them connect to their learning. Storytelling breaks down the walls between meaningless and meaningful and builds a continuous connection of “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM).
Think back to the assessment step: If a learner identified pay as an incentive, you can find ways to link that motivator into learning by telling stories about how they can earn more after learning new skills. If they’ve shared that their new job is a stepping stone, you can share stories about how this role might lead to opening doors. Storytelling shifts your training environment from being only a learning space to being a community. And when learners feel they are a part of a community, they open up more, they listen deeply, they engage at a higher rate and more learning happens.
Training has to be engaging. Sometimes, we think that because our learners are being paid to be there, we don’t have to make it engaging. But, we don’t want them just to show up; we want them to be involved, we want them to learn and, ultimately, we want them to take something away from the training.
So, how can we make training engaging? We can add music, ask for volunteers to take on roles (e.g., note taker or positivity captain, who is responsible for sharing a positive thought each day), use role-play, ask them to read aloud, and use interactive tools like whiteboards or games. Additionally, consider using turn-pair-share, a method in which two or three people discuss their level of understanding of a particular topic. This activity often allows for deeper understanding and “Aha!” moments and is great for breakout rooms.
In the end, we want the time we spend training new employees to be meaningful. We want our learners to walk away feeling confident, connected and able to transfer the things they’ve learned to their role. When we achieve this goal, we can say with certainty that we’ve built a solid B.A.S.E.