“Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” – Plato
What Plato said then holds true for training today. From the days when training was deemed a crucial element in the development of an individual to today when it has come to become a bitter pill forced down peoples’ throats by HR. More often than not, there are glitches in the learning needs analyses, the design of the training content, the choice of delivery mode, the choice of the trainer, and other such. Sometimes it is the way the training is presented to the learners – not as an opportunity but almost like punishment.
Five reasons people have developed distaste towards training courses:
- They are a distraction from work
Most people don’t enjoy going to training because they are distracted by the work they left behind at their desks. They spend time thinking about it while they are in training. Most managers don’t consider ‘time spent training’ in employee evaluations as enthusiastically as they might mandate it in the workplace.
- The wrong selection of candidates
Many times when a training program is organized by HR where managers are required to nominate subordinates, then rather than selecting candidates who deserve the particular training, such individuals are selected who can be easily spared from work. This training is irrelevant to them. In turn neither the individual nor the organization benefit from the training.
- Wrong notions
Attending a course means accepting that you still can learn something. There are people who avoid going to training about certain subjects because this would mean accepting a weakness in the area. Some people don’t like the name ‘training course’, because they think they know everything there is to know about a subject. In such cases, it may be a better practice to change the name to “information sessions” so that it does not insult their intelligence levels.
- Lack of relevance
Training, no matter how great, holds no value if it is not relevant to the learner.
- No implementation of the new skills
Often, even when a right candidate undergoes the right training and comes back with a strong urge and enthusiasm to implement what been learned, he is given a cold shoulder by his boss and questioned about missed targets rather than priority to learning and implement new ideas.
What can be done?
Breaking this non-sustainable loop requires a deep understanding that training has only one purpose: to develop individuals so they can out-perform on their current tasks and be-prepared for what business leaders have in mind for the future. This in turn, requires an alignment and strategic collaboration between the business leaders and their HR partners.
“Training” itself as a concept and process needs drastic changes. In today’s environment training means – Knowledge and Best Practices sharing. No one is interested in a session where the ‘Trainer’ owns 90% of the session with 10 % given to the participants to participate. It requires more interactive and interesting methodology and process with different delivery modes (eLearning, mLearning, Instructor Led Training etc.) weaved in for the potential benefit of every single participant. The blended approach gives learners and teachers a potential environments to learn and teach more effectively.
Training should provide value to the participant. Education in whatever form, formal, skill-building, development, or training, comes down to the same factors of success. It’s got to be relevant in one way or another, it’s got to be challenging, it’s got to be useful, it’s got to be inspiring, and each participant has to feel like you’re talking to them. It’s the responsibility of those in charge of organizational learning, those in charge of instructional design, and those in charge of class/workshop delivery to make it so. Anything less, and you get the kind of mediocrity that makes staff actually prefer to stay in their office than to get a half-day, a day, or more, rather than having fun and learning stuff to improve themselves and improve organizational performance, away from it.
The training and development initiative should also be “evidence based” with pre and post measures being taken to evaluate performance and development improvements. This can be brought about by using Learning Management Systems. UpsideLMS is one such Learning Management System that is equipped with a scalable assessment engine and automated feedback mechanism, which helps bring about effective evaluation of your organization-wide, multi-location, learning programs.
The bottom line is that effective learning requires an interesting topic, interactive and diverse in delivery style and delivery mode, developed/delivered according to best practices, with considerations given to the context, content and application needs of the learners (i.e. on-the-job) and most importantly it is about the participants (attendees).