National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

The Voice for Public Pensions


Four Tips for Creating Engaging User Training for Pension Fund Staff

By: Carole Jarvis and Nicole Matthews, Linea Solutions

Experts from Linea Solutions focus on four proven tips for designing and delivering engaging training for an audience of pension fund employees to provide the best possible results.
This is an excerpt from NCPERS Spring 2024 issue of PERSist, originally published April 25, 2024.
Compelling Trainers
Pensions are not the most exciting topics, which can make it hard to engage your audience. Having a dynamic trainer with knowledge of the topics important to participants can help and, besides, what good is a training session without an engaging trainer? After all, people want to attend a training class that is tailored to them, that helps them deliver measurable results, and that engages and stimulates them to learn.

Game or Competition
During a recent client engagement, we created a treasure map to encourage pension fund employees to log into the new system they were being trained to use and search for answers. Providing a game to increase familiarity with the new system helped them find member information more quickly and helped create a positive perception of that system. For more details on how we “gamified” or added game-like elements to encourage participation to this learning click here.

Would it surprise you to know that listening to a lecture is the least effective way to learn new material? By contrast, active learning (storytelling and practice by doing) is far more efficient, with a retention rate that can reach 75% after 24 hours.

Active learning boosts retention by:
  • Creating a context for the information for retention purposes
  • Incorporating a dynamic process that involves the listener as much as the speaker
A blended training approach provides pension organization employees with a mix of training modalities. This can consist of multiple training methods such as instructor-led training (ILT), eLearning (including web, video, and live streaming), gamification, microlearning (an approach where participants learn information in small chunks that take place in under ten minutes), and structured on-the-job-training (SOJT). If you are giving a training to call-center staff, you would probably use a different mix of methods than if you were giving a training to IT staff. Utilizing various combinations provides flexibility to customize training for the different learning styles of your trainees.
By including resources that are related to learning objectives, trainees can continue to explore topics that are of interest to them. These resources could include hyperlinks to other relevant content, a checklist for task completion, recommended podcasts or study guides, worksheets, or job aids.

You may have some trainees who are just starting out at the pension fund and every topic will be completely new to them, so the course materials will be sufficient. When designing for those who may have been with the organization for a long time — those who might have mastery of a module's objectives (or accelerate through them) — you can provide relevant additional resources they can select if they choose. Providing course-enhanced materials for self- study or group discussions also works for trainees who may have struggled in past offerings.

About the Authors
Carole Jarvis, Senior Training Specialist, is an accomplished trainer, marketer, and event planner. Carole works with our clients to develop coursework to enable staff and employers to efficiently and proficiently use the custom computer software developed for them. Carole is known for her practical, reusable training materials that become functional reference tools.

Carole has a MS degree from the University of Houston in Occupational Education, as well as a bachelor's degree in Training and Development, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Nicole Matthews, Training & Development Specialist, is a training specialist with nearly a decade of experience maximizing employee performance by recognizing training needs and creating training to facilitate organizational turnaround. She has developed and implemented strategy to assist in the onboarding of New Hire learning and continuous improvement courses, including customized assessments and learning paths that inform future sessions. Nicole has recent experience training public pension staff as part of the go-live of a pension administration system implementation.

During her tenure overseeing training for the customer service department at the Church Pension Group Episcopal, she reengineered the new hire onboarding process, including different training groups for temporary and permanent staff. She has utilized the ADDIE training methodology on multiple projects. Additionally, she has extensive experience mastering the intricacies of multiple database management systems and is proficient in Microsoft Office Suites, Adobe Captivate 2019, Adobe Connect, Adobe Dreamweaver, Articulate, Oracle CRM and KMS.


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