Training materials? Training materials? We don't need any stinking training materials
Training is a turn off! Learning is what I go for. Training is what you do to me. Learning is what I do for myself
I hope "training" is discontinued on an ongoing bases - requirements change.
More sunset laws for training programs. What we did yesterday/last year differs from now and tomorrow."
Those are some of the comments I heard on a recent lrnchat. It seems to me that training is fast becoming a taboo word. In several other conversations, I've often people quite agitated very mention of the word. I agree that a lot of training that we've seen is not just ineffective, but an absolute waste of time. That said, bad training doesn't mean that training is bad; just like a few bad cars don't make all cars bad. Now, if you follow this blog you'll know that I'm of the view that training isn't a solution for all learning problems. On the other hand, I still believe that training does have a place in the corporate world. In fact training will continue to hold it's place for a long time to come. I write this post in defense of training and to make my case for the fact that it is not a bad word.
We're beating up on an old definition of training
A lot of the criticism for training seems to stem from a very outdated understanding of what training really is. We seem to beat up on the 'sage on stage' mode of training. Frankly, most serious training practitioners adopt more of a 'guide by the side' approach. To tell the truth, some of the best training I've seen in the recent past, involves a lot more meaningful interactivity than elearning page turners. And when I talk about interactivity, I'm talking about modeling real world tasks. Now, I don't believe you can use classroom training to make sea changes in behaviour. At the same time, I can tell you that effective classroom training can raise as much awareness as some of the high quality elearning you'll see across the world. I request practitioners of technology enabled learning to research modern training methods before criticising a mode of teaching that most of us don't practise anymore.
Training can be an extremely Social process
At ThoughtWorks University, we've stretched training to being a very social process. In fact, we use technology quite liberally, we sprinkle in elearning for the purposes that it makes sense. We rely on communities of practice and social learning to stretch beyond the best practice education that elearning provides. Through a blend of technology and SME led facilitation, we've simulated a workscape that lets individuals learn while at work and creating real value for the organisation. I call ThoughtWorks University a training program -- it embodies what a modern induction experience should look like. The fact is that we've evolved training to be what it can be in today's world. If there are some programs that aren't evolving, we need to help them change. The slow pace of change however, doesn't make the world of 'training' ineffective.
Don't Underestimate the value of Presentation Skills
There's no saying how valuable great presentation skills are. I write about this almost untiringly, because this is a skill that excellent trainers bring with them. When driving change, elearning and technology enabled media helps a lot, but nothing works like person-to-person contact. Short, 30-45 minute training sessions, powered by excellent presentation skills can be an excellent, low cost, yet interactive approach to build awareness. A traveling roadshow of select, highly skilled presenters can be significantly cheaper and more effective than a multi-million dollar multimedia extravaganza which may not have a huge shelf life. Think about it, your trainers are not ready to be extinct yet!
The role of trainers is changing. As Jane Bozarth once famously said, "Trainers won't be replaced by technology, they'll be replaced by trainers who are willing to use technology." That's all that's likely to happen. On that note, I request that we hold back our criticism for training and realise that it has a small, yet important place in corporate learning strategy. That's my only defense for what looks like a dying competence - I hope you see my point. Do let me know what you think, by commenting on this blogpost. One way or another, I'd like to hear your views.