When planning a reinforcement program, you must focus on reinforcing key skills and concepts in ways that staff will grasp. To do that, you've got to understand common misconceptions about reinforcement and plan your training accordingly.
1. Reinforcement is NOT remindingReinforcement is very different than a reminder service. While reinforcement should be built on your existing content, it should not simply recycle content you have already created.
If you have focused in training on building awareness on topics, then you can limit the time spent on awareness in your reinforcement program. Instead, focus on continuing your exploration of the topic by contextualizing your content.
2. Reinforcement is NOT expensiveReinforcement programs do not need to be expensive. You don't need to hire a costly trainer or rent out a dedicated classroom for the program. Staff do not even need to take time off work. Reinforcement lessons can be completed on a personal device, and slotted into short increments between tasks.
3. Reinforcement programs are NOT time-consuming to create
You may have spent a lot of time and money on creating your existing training, manuals, and learning materials, but your reinforcement program need not be as time-consuming to create. So, if you want to reinforce a few basic reinforcement objectives then you will use 60 to 75 messages, videos, and images. If you are diligent, you can create your program in just one week!
4. Reinforcement is NOT gaming
Reinforcement can incorporate games, but it is not just a game. Reinforcement can use leaderboards, scoring, and interactivity to entice your staff to work through the material effectively. When your reinforcement lessons motivate competition, staff are more likely to complete the materials as you designed the program to be completed. Read more about the benefits of gamification here.
Your staff may know a lot of information, but if they cannot use what they know at the right moment, the knowledge is worthless. While knowledge is a part of reinforcement, reinforcement programs should not focus on knowledge retention.
Think about the 5 gaps that need to be closed to create impact. Then structure your reinforcement program to close those gaps. For example, if your staff have a skills gap, then your program might focus on how to apply lessons learned in context of employee's jobs.
6. Reinforcement is NOT one size fits all
Your employees are coming from different perspectives. Some know more than others, and some have natural aptitudes or skills that others lack. When you present the material in the form of a short lesson and allow your staff to individually work through the lessons at their own pace, your employees are more likely to not only remember the training materials, but also apply the knowledge and skills.
Mindmarker Training Reinforcement programs incorporate adaptive learning paths to customize the training to the unique needs of each learner.
7. Reinforcement NOT just a platform to push messages
There are many LMS systems that can push messages, but that's not all reinforcement is about. To deliver impactful reinforcement, think about what information you need to send to the participant at what time to create impact for the learner.
The Mindmarker Training Reinforcement application is the platform that is used in combination with our methodology for learning. Our 7 Principles of Reinforcement webinar replay will help you think about ways to change behavior and measure impact using best practices for reinforcement.
8. Reinforcement is NOT Microlearning
Microlearning is part of reinforcement, but reinforcement is more than micro learning. Reinforcement constitutes application, evaluation, practice, and daily work to learn materials. To observe behavior change, you might have staff talk to coaches or peers to see whether reinforcement has an impact.
Microlearning can help staff raise awareness or learn skills if there is a knowledge and skills gap. Short microlearning can help staff get up to speed by challenging users with tough questions and difficult scenarios. Use microlearning in your reinforcement program, but understand where it is appropriate.
9. Reinforcement is Only for Mobile
42 percent of our participants use email clients to receive their reinforcement messages. So, if you have a robust mobile application and a notification system, your reinforcement program will reach a lot of people. There must be synchronization between email and mobile, since most of your employees work from mobile and email during the day.
10. Reinforcement is NOT an Assessment
While measurement is good, reinforcement is not an assessment. Avoid the temptation to test staff on what they know, or measure every little thing. This can demoralize staff and backfire. Instead, only give measurements that provide participants with insights into where they can improve and how they can apply program material to improve their performance on the job.