If you are anything like me, reading one page in a manual can take nearly ten minutes. I can never fully pay attention to what I am reading if it is not straight to the point. Therefore, I find myself re-reading the same thing over and over. I found that the best way around this horrible habit is to get my hands dirty with hands-on learning!
The benefits of hands-on learning
Hands-on learning is beneficial in many areas and can help speed up tasks. Learning by doing will help you retain the information you received faster than relying on reading alone — it gets your brain thinking and moving more. Not to mention, it can provide the confidence you need to assist the individual you are servicing efficiently and effectively.
Did you ever get that sinking feeling in school when you heard the two horrifying words “pop quiz?” Typically, you’d get that feeling because you only remember about five minutes of the entire lecture. Well, that feeling can happen in the workplace as well. However, in the workplace you can help yourself and your peers avoid it by combining hands-on learning with more traditional methods of educating staff.
Hands-on learning helps improve your retention of information. How you may ask? It’s easy to tune out while simply listening. It’s a lot harder to do so when you’re learning on the job, having to maintain your focus not only on the lesson, but the task you’ve been given.
Using hands-on learning for training
On my team, we like to get our hands dirty right off the bat. I can honestly say it would have taken me longer to understand the processes we take on this team if my hands and brain were not moving. Our core processing platform is huge. While nobody is expected to learn the whole platform quickly, even the basics could be hard to master without getting into the weeds.
A unique approach we take for training new hires is to have the trainee work the computer and have the trainer work the phone call while the trainee listens. Training this way allows the trainee to understand the system we work on and get familiar with it. They’re building the muscle memory of where to go for certain types of inquiries, where to look for more information, how to log calls, etc.
While the trainee listens to the call they are not only going to the necessary locations on the system, but they are also learning what types of inquiries we get asked, how to respond, and how to properly start and end a call.
It also puts us in a position to push ourselves through the tasks that freak us out the most. I remember when I first started on my team, I would get a call about an offage and would want to run the opposite direction. They really freaked me out! However, I decided that the only way to get over that sinking feeling would be to “get my hands dirty” and better understand the process. I read the best practices on how to handle these situations and while on the call, I would go through each step. Because I pushed myself to be hands on with this task, I no longer get freaked out and can assist the individual efficiently and effectively. Run towards the inquiries or tasks that freak you out the most because the best and fastest way to learn is through doing.
Try it yourself!
It can be tempting to take a new employee, sit them down in front of a screen, and tell them to watch videos and read documentation for weeks to learn the job. But if you want them pitching in sooner, take the time to sit with them and give them the hand on experience they need to learn the skills of the job. It’s through that repetition that they’ll retain the information. So don’t be shy! Give them that little shove and let them learn on the job.