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Leverage Visuals in Your Training Program

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Formal corporate training programs have existed for decades, but many of them are stuck in the past. Classroom training and text-heavy slide decks are still used by many corporations today to teach their customer-facing employees how to do their job. Relying heavily on text and auditory learning may have been a good approach 50 years ago when companies had limited technological resources. But, given the available technology in 2022, that's not an issue anymore. Let’s explore how your team can leverage visuals (even on a budget!) and why your employees will thank you for it.

Goals of a Training Program

When you start with the end in mind, you’ll know exactly what the goals and desired outcomes of the training program are.  While these goals are unique and different for each organization, they usually fall into one of three buckets:

  • Familiarize the employee with the organization’s products/services, goals, mission, etc.
  • Provide all essential information that the employee requires to perform successfully.
  • Teach the employees new skills and test their abilities before beginning work.

You must start here before deciding what visuals to implement in your training. Once you have a clear outline of what you want to achieve, you’ll easily be able to see your different options for implementing visuals into training.

Why Visual Training is Better

People Prefer Visual Content– According to Hubspot, 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. And the same goes for learning! Would you rather read a chapter in a textbook, or watch a 20-minute video that explains all the key concepts? If you’re like most people, you’d choose the video, and so will your employees!—especially if they’re between the ages of 18-24.

Increased Retention– The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, so visuals can help increase retention by 60%. This can have a huge impact on employees who are required to remember a lot of information.

More Engaged Learners– When visuals provide relief from walls of text, learner comprehension, and motivation improve. Engaged learners better understand challenging concepts and master them sooner.  

We’re Becoming a Visual World–Today approximately 84% of our communications are visual. Industry projections put internet video traffic at 82% of global consumer internet traffic for 2022. Incorporating visuals into training will help keep your program current with industry standards and make it more effective.  


Guidelines for Your Visuals

While visuals can be a great way to improve training, they must be high-quality visuals, and not distract the learner from important concepts. We like to follow Elaine Biech’s Training and Development For Dummies Cheat Sheet that insists all visuals be kept:

Visible: Words on visuals are large enough, and you don’t block the view.

Interesting: Oriented to the learner, visuals make use of pictures, graphs, color, and bullets.

Simple: Information is concise, and key concepts are highlighted.

Useful: Visuals help the trainer and the learner stay on track.

Accurate: Information on the visuals matches the participants’ materials.

Long-lasting: Visuals facilitate retention and help the learner transfer and apply concepts.

You can get creative in how your team uses visuals in training and onboarding. Today companies use many different combinations of visuals such as:



Physical objects

Slide decks



Virtual Reality

Not All Visuals Are Equal

Poorly implemented visuals can do more harm than good. The last thing you want is for the visuals to distract your employees from learning, so it’s important to stay away from the following:

Bad stock photography– Some stock photography is good, but there’s a lot of bad stuff out there as well. Your employees will easily see through this.

Confusing images or videos– These types of visuals are guaranteed to distract and hinder your employee’s learning. If you’re making a video in-house, make sure it has a logical flow and that it’s easy for new employees to understand.

Low-quality images– These are images that have low resolution, are pixelated, or have been stretched.

Offensive or Inappropriate visuals– Be sure to avoid any visuals that your employees may find offensive. Chances are that if you must ask if something is offensive, it probably is.

Test What Works for Your Business

Not all visuals are a great fit for every type of business. Every organization has unique training needs that vary depending on the department and role of the employee. You may find that a specific type of visual may work best for your team, or a combination of many. To get a better understanding of which kinds of visuals are most helpful, gather as much feedback as you can.

Start Small

Implementing visuals into your training can seem like a huge, and intimidating project. But you don’t need to do it all at once! Start testing with an area of training that employees tend to struggle with. By tackling small pieces of training, you can make improvements over time without the stress of doing a complete overhaul of your training at once.

Many of the world’s leading brands use visuals in training. Would you like to be one of them


Innovatia is an end-to-end content solutions provider servicing clients looking to manage and overcome challenges with their content.  For more than two decades, our experts have worked closely with client teams to help design, transform, and manage their content with a view to driving business goals through knowledge and content solutions. To discuss in more detail, contact us.