5 Tips to make online training (even) more effective


What you need to know to protect your business, de-geeked and accessible to everyone


I recently spoke with an IT manager (I’ll call him Bob.  Why do I always use Bob??) who was very perceptive.  He explained to me that getting users to do online training is very difficult.  Everyone’s busy.  The training isn’t engaging.  It’s the opposite – it’s just plain boring.

Bob is right.  Everyone’s too busy to do online training, no matter how much it could improve/save the business.  And yes, it can be boring.  Of course, ours isn’t, but others’ can be boring.

A few months ago, we were working with a large organization (they onboard 20 people per week), helping to integrate security training into their onboarding process.  How do you make the training program scalable, and engaging?

1. Make it mandatory

Training is important.  People need to be learning and developing new skills constantly or they become stale.  Make training a required part of everyone’s role.

For security awareness training, it’s even more important.  This training can dramatically reduce you company’s cyber-risk levels.  To maximize its benefit, it should be completed by everyone.

2. Do it as a group

It’s almost impossible to find the time to fit training into your busy day.  But another meeting?  While you may shudder at the thought, there always seems to be time to get one in.

Instead of a useless meeting, schedule a time for people to run through the material together.  By scheduling it and making it a group event, you’ll have a much greater turn out.

3. Create conversations

The most important part when we do live training is facilitating conversations with attendees.  When they’re asking questions and discussing the material, it really starts to sink in.  With some programs, I plan for 25 – 50% time for semi-structured Q&A or conversations.

What happens when nobody asks questions?  As the facilitator, you have to be ready for this.  Many people don’t want to ask questions.  Ask questions of them. Draw the conversation out of the group.

4. What’s in it for them?

If it’s not training they’re choosing to be at, there has to be a reason for them to be there.  Often we schedule our sessions as lunch and learns or coffee & donuts and learns.  If we’re lucky, we can get the conversation going before the sugar high wears off…

5. Make it fun

Boring training sucks.  Reading from slides is … *YAWN*

The training has to be fun and engaging.  When you’re using online training as your base, you can’t control that, but you can make the facilitation and Q&A in between fun. Get people laughing and they’ll become a lot more engaged.

With that large company, we did most of the above.  Their security awareness training was done in a group – both for onboarding and the annual re-training process.  We developed some simple games and questions for the facilitator, so they could be engaging, without being a security expert. We also seeded groups when possible – having a range of knowledge levels in each group.

So Bob, the results were great.  Low cost, scalable online training was made engaging and fun for their 800+ staff, without needing a security-expert as the trainer.  Yes, online training can be very engaging!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


What you need to know to protect your business, de-geeked and accessible to everyone