What is your main goal for your employees’ training and development program? If you want a continuously performing team, then you might consider introducing the reality show learning technique to train them. A reality show is a television show that features ordinary people rather than professionally trained actors. The participants are given some instructions on how to act off-screen, but they are supposed to act as normally as possible. Producers shoot hours of footage per episode and create a narrative thread using a creative editing tool.


The success of reality shows
Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra, an Illinois State University’s Associate Professor of Psychology, noted that reality shows are worth the attention because of their ability to positively influence behavior. Television is appealing and if you can use reality shows as a learning tool to impart new skills, that’s pretty powerful.

For example, the Biggest Loser reality show has notable positive influences. Maria Ivancin, an Associate Professor at American University, points out that “The show features real, every day people that viewers can relate to. This may have a greater impact than an expert giving them information.” While this is true, focusing more on the positive influences rather than the negative influences can have an even greater impact on the viewers.

• Train Communication skills to your team
The activities of reality shows are challenge-based, and the participants are expected to communicate and collaborate effectively throughout the tasks.

• Motivate your employees
Real world experts are portrayed, who give insights into the challenges faced and their remedies in different fields.

• Encourage creativity and impart problem-solving skills
As the series play, problems arise and participants are expected to creatively solve them as a team. The impact of these problem-solving techniques on your employees is invaluable.

How to Apply the Reality Show Learning Technique to Train Your Employees

Let’s consider a mystery shopping scenario and how it applies to reality show learning. Mystery shopping is a research tool used by businesses to observe and evaluate the key aspects of their business. The mystery shopper normally documents the customer experience and evaluates the findings against the businesses’ standards and expectations. Ron Welty, the owner of ItelliShop, a mystery shopping Company in Perrysburg, Ohio, says that “mystery shopping starts off with some kind of challenge your company is facing. For example, there might be a rash of customer complaints or a drop in companywide says.” He, however, adds that “this tool is effective as a positive employee recognition and training tool.”

Now, with the mystery shopping report, get creative and turn the criticisms and comments into different scenarios that employees from different departments can act out. Not only will you impart face-to-face and on-phone skills using this training technique, but also you will engage your employees and help improve their performance by allowing them to come up with solutions to areas that demand extra attention, such as customer service. You can even appoint one of the employees to act as the manager for one day. The event can be broadcasted live through mobile phones or a digital copy of the mystery shopping training can be saved and made available to your employees for viewing at their leisure. Many will learn better through these visual aids.

This training technique works well for location-specific or branch training because that particular branch can tailor their scenarios to areas that need improvement for their specific team.

Generally, all the processes and skills presented in these reality shows come up as practices we want to practice often in the 21st century’s employee training and learning because of the real-world learning experiences they offer. However, applying the reality show training technique in your business to train employees can add value to their overall performance.