Saturday, July 08, 2006

Training departments NOT best at facilitating learning

From Dave Lee at Learning Circuits We're #3!  We're #3!
"It's my belief that an honest appraisal of any good size organization will likely show that two departments would prove to be more efficient and effective in helping their target audience meet their learning needs.  They would be the IT Help Desk and the Customer Service Center.  This doesn't consider the Sales group who through various techniques prepare their field staffs for battle against the competition.  Often without help from the corporate training group.   Throw in a quality OD group or a Finance team who prepare their folks well and it's easy to find L&D dropping to 5th or lower."
This is interesting timing for me because I have recently had conversations with Intel colleagues about this exact point.  To be more effective we need to switch our focus from delivering training to facilitating learning.  Its important to realize that the most valuable information that needs to be learned is extremely dynamic and necessary right now for employees.  That same information may not be relevant 6 weeks down the road after we have spent that time creating a "course". 

This is not to say that courses are not necessary anymore.  But we need to be more certain that the only information that goes into a course is information that is long lasting and less dynamic. 

Basic presentation skills are useful for everyone and could make for a fun and interesting course for beginners.  However, there needs to be platforms that support current opinions and knowledge from experts, the latest examples, platforms for practice and peer feedback.

Training is currently NOT the closest to the customer, but we need to get a lot closer if we intend to make a significant impact.  Relying on single "content experts" or SMEs simply contributes to the mediocrity of past training offerings.


jltitus said...

I think you bring up some good points aobut training. I think too often people think of training as a single event rather than an organic process. For most people it's more helpful to get the training when they need it, rather than drinking from a firehose and hopign "it sticks". I work in a training department with in Intel, supporting a large sector of the company and we always struggle with getting the right content in, in the right amount. The content experts usually think, it's all important. I thinkg your post also presents a good reason to think about other types of training and delivery. We're looking into podcasting and the benefits of having just in time, wherever you go training.

N Kilkenny said...

Amen. Excellent post. I work at Intel as well. I've seen it happen time and time again - where projects decide to use the SME to deliver or create training packages because they are a less expensive option than engaging with training professionals. And to be honest, I've seen instances where the training didn't really meet the needs so that SMEs filled the gap with powerpoints and desktop procedure documents that resemble phone books. To require groups to rely on 'static'/universal content would mean that you need them to stop 'customizing' everything. This is a cultural battle that needs to be waged, but I don't think there are enough people allied to make this a demand. Natalie Kilkenny aka. N. Laderas.