As summer approaches, a lot of businesses are gearing up to have summer interns come onboard. The following is a guide to how to train those interns, and more specifically, how to use a learning management system to deliver training. Training interns is important for a successful program, and it’s valuable for both the interns and the employer.

Internship Program Overview

Internship programs are about more than just bringing a college student into your business to get coffee during the summer. Forward-thinking employers have seen that internship programs can deliver a lot of value to their organization. Internship programs are great not only for larger organizations but also for small businesses. At small companies, interns have even more opportunities to make significant contributions during their time there, and a lot of businesses find that they ultimately end up hiring their interns. It’s a good way to start building a talent pipeline early on while young people are still in school.

When an employer puts in the time and effort to train and develop an intern, that person might end up becoming a leader in the organization.

There are some things an internship program needs, however. It needs a point person who’s coordinating and overseeing it all. Interns need to be paired with a mentor or a “buddy” on the job as well. A mentorship situation goes well with the training that will be delivered to the intern via a learning management system. The information in the learning management system can help interns learn the big concepts and skills, and a mentor or buddy can show the intern how they’re put into practice.

It’s also necessary to create a set of goals and objective for the internship program you’re creating. These goals need to be specific, measurable ways to assess and track the progress of the intern. Having clear objectives is good for the intern to know how they’re doing, and to keep them engaged while they’re with your business.

Finally, businesses that are creating internship programs want to make sure they’re dedicated to development every day. Interns should be receiving feedback, and along with training, they should also be receiving assignments that relate to that training.

The best way for both a business and interns to benefit is for there to be a formal, structured program that combines elements of supervision and mentorship with training and development. The more a business is willing to invest in an internship program, the better the results will be for everyone involved.

The Benefits of an Internship Program

Along with the ability to start recruiting talent early, what are the other benefits of an internship program from the perspective of a business?

Businesses with internship programs have the opportunity to gain new, fresh and modern perspective and insight from an outsider. An intern is going to have different ways of thinking which can fuel innovation and efficiency. Young people also tend to have digital skills that can be extremely valuable to a modern business. Interns are tech-savvy and may be able to help with things like social media and digital advertising strategy.

Having a mentorship program can also be a way to develop leaders that are currently part of the business. More junior employees can be paired with interns and can take on a leadership role within the internship program, preparing them for other leadership roles later on.

Using a Learning Management System to Train Summer Interns

When it comes to training summer interns, you want to use a learning management system, first and foremost. A learning management system is the best way to train interns for a number of reasons. Training can be delivered on a laptop, a tablet or a mobile device and that’s what young people who fill internship positions are going to be used to.

The training is going to be accessible in a format that interns are already comfortable with. Byte-sized bits of information can be provided to interns on an as-needed and self-paced basis. Interns can learn in the way that suits them best, and on their own time if they want. A learning management system also ensures that necessary information is going to be accessible to interns at any time they might need it.

With a learning management system, there’s also the opportunity to easily track the progress of interns when it comes to their training. Internship program leaders can check in and see what training and development has been completed and when, and can also use assessments to check the knowledge of interns. It can all be centrally managed within the learning management system.

Tips for Training Summer Interns

When you’re training summer interns, yes you want to teach them some of the more technical elements that go along with a career in your business, but it can be better to focus on the bigger ideas. For example, train interns on soft skills and develop them in a way that’s going to prepare them for a future career, rather than preparing them just to do one particular job.

Cross-training is also important for interns. A lot of businesses assume they don’t have the necessary resources to cross-train interns, but a learning management system makes this cost and time-effective. You want interns to learn as much as they can during their time at your business, and cross-training is a good way to do that. Plus, if the intern does come back for a full-time position, they’re already going to have a wide range of knowledge that can prepare them for a career.

Finally, you want to make sure that you’re linking interns’ formalized training with what they’re doing with their mentor or buddy. You want interns to be able to clearly see how the information they’re learning through their training is then applied in real-world scenarios. This will keep your interns engaged, and it will also help them retain information they learn more easily.

All of these training tips make it more likely that your summer intern might become your next full-time hire, and with a talent shortage being a pressing issue for most businesses, that can be invaluable.