Corporate Training Blog

4 Things Super Bowl LI Can Teach Us About Corporate Training

Super Bowl LI
Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons was one for the record books in many ways. This was the first Super Bowl that went into overtime, Tom Brady became the first quarterback in NFL history to win five Super Bowls, and a few other historic milestones.

Hidden in the middle of these historic Super Bowl milestones, and the game itself, are lessons about corporate training. As I was watching the game on Sunday night, I started to realize that the Super Bowl can teach us quite a few things about corporate training.

1. It all starts with a game plan.

Just like any Super Bowl contender starts with a game plan, anyone involved with corporate training should too. A corporate training game plan becomes your pathway to success.
 
Any good game plan for a winning football team consists of elements such as: know your opponent, know the strategic plays to get from one end zone to the other, ensure buy-in from the team and coaches, etc.
 
In corporate training, your game plan is very similar. You need to know:

  • Your audience and their strengths and weaknesses (as it relates to prior knowledge and experience)
  • The business objectives that are driving this training (the metaphorical strategic plays)
  • What success looks like (what is the end zone)
  • How you will leverage the managers (the "coaches") to support your training

2. You have to break it up into quarters.

Just like in the Super Bowl, effective corporate training has quarters. In learning science terms, we call these metaphorical "quarters" chunking. Chunking refers to the process of taking larger units of information and breaking them down into smaller individual units of information (chunks). Chunking is a super useful tool when memorizing and recalling large amounts of information (product knowledge, for example).
 
Additionally, chunking implies that it's important for quarter one to come before quarter two...and quarter two to come before quarter three. In other words, chunking identifies the importance of providing your learners with base information and support in the first quarter of learning a new subject, then adding to that information in the subsequent quarters.

3. Commercials play a big role.

If you watch the Super Bowl, then you know that commercials play a major part. According to Forbes, the average cost of a commercial in the 2017 Super Bowl was $5 million for a 30-second spot.
 
Now, I am not advocating that you need to invest $5 million into your corporate training; but, I am advocating that your corporate training programs do what commercials do: break up the action. In other words, every so often (around every 15 minutes) plan to change gears within your corporate training. Mix up your delivery method (go from lecture to media, or from media to self-reflection, etc.)
 
What's the big draw from using the Super Bowl commercial strategy in your corporate training? Two big returns: engagement and retention. Your learners will stay engaged longer and your learners will retain the information longer.

4. It ends with a post-game evaluation.

Just like any good Super Bowl team would do. Whether a team wins or loses, they will look at game tape and assess the entire game. What went well? What didn't go so well? What part of our game plan did we execute, and what part did not hit the mark?
 
Corporate training is no different. After every corporate training experience you should evaluate how it went. If you have been in the training and development space,  you've most likely heard of Kirkpatrick's four levels of evaluation. This is a great place to start your post-game evaluation.

Kirkpatrick Levels of Evaluation

The kicker with your evaluation? You have to do something with the results!
 
Just like a Super Bowl team will conduct their post-game evaluation and then make adjustments for next season, your corporate training evaluation must inform the adjustments you make before you run your training program again.
 
So, there you have it, proof that the Super Bowl can teach us about effective corporate training. Whether you are part of a large corporate training team, or a corporate training team of one person, keep these four things in mind in order to maximize the effectiveness of your corporate training.

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Discover more about the author, *Corey Pruitt