Thanks to the support of the second screen, corporate training leaders have a powerful new tool to accelerate the results of their online learning programs. While it seems like a simple addition, it can have a profound impact on maintaining employee attention and increasing overall engagement through active learning elements. It’s not hard to see why.

Corporate trainers are using second screens during training to boost participation and interest by tapping interactive functions such as real-time polling, quizzing, break-out study groups and discussions, and supplemental materials like eBooks or digital outlines. In addition, use of the second screen fosters more personalized professional training. By encouraging use of personal devices as second screens, employees can use familiar devices to navigate their own learning path and access resources that spark their curiosity.

There is another benefit to using the second screen in training programs. It’s well known that interaction is a key element to driving better learning outcomes. The second screen supports this by giving learners access to more backchannel and secondary content, context, and opinions as they communicate and engage in learning among peers.

For corporate training leaders who want to make second-screen-savvy learning sessions a part of their curriculum, here are three simple ways to get started.

Use company technology to introduce second screens

To acclimate employees to the second screen during training sessions, start simple. One way is by providing each learner with an audience response device like a clicker, company laptop, or tablet. Initially, it’s easier for trainers to provide a compatible device to employees in order for them to complete real-time training activities, like answering polls or quizzes, during a training session.

Based on engagement, sentiment, and employee comfort level interacting with second screens during sessions, it’s time to expand video training to include personal device use to support second-screen learning.

Set BYOSS expectations

Before allowing employees to use personal second screens to interact with training materials and participate in real-time activities, training leaders should set “bring your own second screen” (BYOSS) guidelines before each session.

These guidelines simply serve as an outline on how to use personal devices during training sessions. BYOSS guides should define what parts of the session require second-screen use and what device is best to use throughout the entire session. In addition, they should describe the necessary applications or programs to download prior to training sessions to ensure that employees can seamlessly operate personal second screens during training.

Giving employees a basic outline of the second-screen activities taking place during sessions helps them make smarter decisions about what devices will be most effective to use during training. For example, if a session requires more intensive “side reading” activities, employees are more likely prefer to using a larger second screen, like a tablet or laptop, to complete reading activities. If the session is heavy on real-time polling, tapping an answer is easy to accomplish using a smartphone.

Make improvements through data

Second-screen use provides trainers with a digital blueprint for reviewing an employee’s mastery of concepts. After every learning session, training leaders should evaluate overall virtual participation and second-screen use to understand what technology was most effective in engaging the widest audience of employees and the overall interest in training curriculum.

For example, the head of training at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) used newrow_ for training and kept control of presented material to all of NOAA's employees through an HD, production-quality stream from Washington, DC. Trainers were able to keep employees actively engaged by quizzing them through text chat and interactive widgets such as quick polls. This not only kept trainees focused during the live session but also allowed trainers to gauge comprehension through an advanced analytics dashboard.

Overall, NOAA’s use of second screens during live video training kept 90 percent of employees actively engaged in the training. The answers provided from second screens via text chat and interactive widgets not only enhanced engagement, but were used to determine certification based on the results found in post-training analytics.

In addition, by using an online learning platform’s performance and activity analytics to review second-screen engagement, trainers can also gauge whether the content delivery meets an individual’s needs based on outcomes or assessments.

Second screens are powerful, interactive components that can drive greater learning outcomes and help trainers personalize employees’ path to learning. More and more companies are powering up second screens to build dynamic online training programs that enable employees to become active learners. By following these steps, trainers have a starting point for creating second-screen-friendly training sessions.