4imprint, LLC
A speaker addresses a crowd.

| Updated: January 20, 2021

Lasting Impressions

How to use training swag to break down barriers to learning

Posted: October 01, 2018 | Updated: January 20, 2021 | Joshua Grover-David Patterson

Barb Flowers had a problem. The office manager/resource coordinator at Community Family Partnership of Network180 in Grand Rapids, Mich., wanted to encourage more parents to attend training events for a program that works with children living with behavioral and mental health issues.

A person taking notes during a training session.

She found a solution in two small but effective pieces of training swag—a punch card and a Hanes® Tagless® T-Shirt.

Hanes® Tagless® T-Shirt

Custom tees make effective giveaways!

“We do parent training once per month,” Flowers said. “We also run classes where we bring in a speaker for six to eight sessions so that parents can learn about a topic like keeping safe on social media or parenting children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). We also do a big family dinner once a month, with different themes and activities.”

Flowers used the Engaged, Equipped and Involved Connect Card as an incentive for parents. With every event they attended, parents earned a punch. When they reached six punches, they were awarded the T-shirt.

“We wanted to use (the shirt) first because we wanted the people who use our programming to get the sense of belonging to something,” she said.

Thanks to the punch card, T-shirt and other training giveaways, event attendance has improved.

“People always say, ‘Been there, done that, got the T-shirt,’ and here, we really mean it!” Flowers said.

A person takes notes in a notebook.


Making the most of educational opportunities

Companies clearly understand the importance of fresh education and training, with one study showing that corporations around the world spent $70.6 billion on training in a single year.

Corporations around the world spent $70.6 billion on training in a single year.

But getting people to take advantage of educational opportunities—and getting the most out of them—can be a struggle. With the help of these tips and some training swag, you can break down some of the most common barriers to learning.


BARRIER #1: Attracting attendees

The first challenge is letting people know training is available. To start the conversation, 4imprint trainers turn to promotional products.

“Once a year, 4imprint has a benefits fair for employees. The training department is always there, along with a schedule that lets people know what sort of training options are going to be available over the next few months,” said Mark Wolzenburg, e-learning and curriculum specialist at 4imprint.

“We’ll usually offer employees who come to the table to talk about educational opportunities a pen, sticker or magnet,” Wolzenburg added.

In addition to offering training giveaways, try these tips:

Link attendance to your goals

Helping people understand the value of your training will go a long way toward raising interest. “The best way to get people to attend classes is to make certain they’re relevant and interesting,” Wolzenburg said.

Offer something tangible

Course attendees may feel like they put in a lot of effort with nothing visible to show for it. Offer recognition for continuing education, like a note in their personnel file or a certificate in a holder.

Paper Certificate Holder - Grandee


BARRIER #2: Getting them in the door

Even if people sign up for training they may not show up, sometimes for the most human of reasons: They simply forget!

Send reminders. Email is the easiest and least expensive way to communicate with training registrants. But to stay top of mind, mail training giveaways, like a foam puzzle with the training date printed on the side.

Organizer Foam Puzzle Cube

Remind registrants about your training with this fun cube!

Email is the easiest and least expensive way to communicate with training registrants.


BARRIER #3: Keeping them engaged

Learning improves when attendees are engaged. How do you keep their focus? Eventbrite offers some tips:

Turn statistics into stories

A study by the London School of Business found that people only recall 5 to 10 percent of the statistics they hear. But by telling the same information as a story, retention skyrockets up to 70 percent.

Keep it short

Training sessions should last no more than two hours. If you’re offering daylong training, take several breaks to get people moving and rest their minds.

Reward Participation

Participants will be more likely to pay attention and answer questions if they get something in return. Try a piece of training swag. Financial analysis software company Visible Equity used the Nike® Workout Plus Duffel as a prize during their software training sessions.

The Nike® Workout Plus DuffelSurprise trainees with prizes that showcase your organization!

While attendees didn’t know at first they could win participation prizes, the promo item got them talking.

“We give out the Nike bags to those who answer questions correctly during the training, or who do something to win them,” said Director of Marketing Valerie Jackson. “We have funny competitions, and the winner will receive the bag. It’s more of a prize giveaway—they don’t expect it but love it.”



BARRIER #4: Helping them retain what they learned

Learners lose 56 percent of information after one hour, 66 percent after a day, and 75 percent after six days.

Information lost: 56% one hour, 66% one day, 75% six days.

There are ways to slow this process:

  • Have trainees explain the information to one another
  • Review important information at regular intervals
  • Quiz attendees on key points
A speaker addresses a crowd.

Break down barriers for learning success

By toppling the barriers that prevent people from learning and retaining information, you’ll help them become better employees. Use training swag for an A+ presentation.

Keep your learners engaged with these promotional giveaways.

Mini Journal with Pen, Flags,& Sticky Notes


Wave Monitor & Keyboard Cleaner

Digital note takers will appreciate keeping laptops tidy.


Pic N' Mint

Share a refreshing treat to keep them motivated.