Time for “new” training approaches


Corporate learning has not changed much since the days when it was first delivered. Still, we often see learners sitting in classrooms that are arranged so that all of the eyes face towards the front of the room – towards the expert who knows everything we need to know. The designated trainers deliver the course content according to the time allotments and sequence prescribed by the course agenda. There are too few opportunities for the learners to network, discuss, and collaborate. The learners remember very little and do not often believe that the training was too relevant to the challenges and opportunities that they will face back on the job.

Yet we continue to deliver most of corporate training like this – day in and day out.

Now is the time to change the way we develop and deliver training.

I want training that is memorable and unique, relevant and of high quality, that has been endorsed and regulated by my learning community. Training that is presented from differing viewpoints and perspectives and that is adaptive to my needs and learning style.

Why not inclusive training whereby anyone and everyone produces and consumes training material?. I want to see rewards and recognition programmes that encourage people to collaborate and share.

How can we further close the gap between training and working? How can we create more opportunities for people to learn from the place where they work without having to schedule the training at times that are only convenient for the trainers and venues? Can we build a learning ecosystem with easy and direct access to training materials and experts, and where the pursuit of new knowledge and skills results in improved networks and a stronger sense of belonging?

Rather than creating relatively large training modules that take hours to complete, lets organize and disseminate learning nuggets that last minutes and that can be re-arranged by the learner.

Rather than delivering training that is prescribed by an agenda, within the planned timeframes, let’s allow for more interaction, discussion, collaboration, networking, and participation before, during and after the training event.

Here are a few ideas of how we might change the way we develop and deliver training:

Before a training event

  • The learners use social networks to form relationships with the other learners and trainers. The intent is to look for common ground, understand the differing motives for learning, and to form learning groups.
  • The trainers produce blogs that contain their objectives for the course, their expectations of the learners, and their main ideas about some of the content. Learners read these blogs and provide feedback and reactions to the trainer via blog comments.
  • Learners access discussion threads that are organized around the key learning objectives. This is an opportunity for learners to ask questions, debate ideas, and share insights. This preparatory step helps learners get into the right frame of mind.
  • Learners create and share learning segments that relate to the course objectives. This might also include sample deliverables, presentations, lessons learnt, or best practices.
  • The training agenda is published on a wiki and presented to the learners before the training event and learners have an opportunity to offer revisions. This feedback will allow the trainers to consider making changes that will increase training relevancy and effectiveness.
  • The trainers and learners produce and publish podcasts stating their expectations of the training and why the training is important. This will help all trainers and learners become more familiar with each other and enable more effective learning group choices.

During a training event

  • At the end of each major training segment or day, the trainer creates a blog entry with his or her reflections and ideas on how to make the training more effective next time. Learners provide comments and feedback for others to see.
  • Learners continue to revise training materials on the wiki.
  • Learners and trainers use the discussion threads to capture key questions, opinions, and answers.
  • Trainers and learners continue to use the social networking tool to arrange meetings, share ideas, and build deeper relationships.
  • Trainers and learners produce more podcasts to summarize their key take aways, opinions about the training, and suggestions for how to apply the learnt knowledge and skills back on the job.
  • Trainers record lectures and demonstrations so the learners can access and replay them again during or well after the training event.
  • Trainers and learners use chat rooms during lectures and demonstrations to share comments and ask questions.

After the training event

  • The learners continue to revise the training materials on the wiki after trying to apply the learnt knowledge and skills back on the job.
  • Trainers continue to moderate discussion threads.
  • Learners continue to network with each other and with the trainer.
  • Learners continue to share learning segments in the form of podcasts, presentations, white papers, and sample deliverables.

There is no reason why learning should stop and start at designated times. Trainers should continually provide learning guidance and assistance to all of their learners each and every day.

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One response to “Time for “new” training approaches

  1. headmaverick

    Great thoughts on how training should be a richer and more fully integrated with the learner’s needs. The ‘Show Up and Throw Up’ model doesn’t work anymore (did it ever?) and the technologies you mention can lead to much more effective learning…provided there’s adequate motivation to learn. Check out my blog at http://mavroundup.blogspot.com/ for my thoughts on this and read an inspiring story about New Seasons Market in Portland, OR. They’ve created a work environment where learning happens naturally.

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