Friday, October 12, 2007

Kill Compliance Training

Actually Donald Clark's post title is Compliance Killing Training. But I prefer mine ;-)
Donald nails it. And every now and then it takes a sobering moment to see that 90% of what training organizations do is done out of fear. USERS care about their learning, but they don't go to their training department to get it. Donald sums it up nicely here...
The driver is NOT learning or people development, it's 'fear'. It's a crude attempt to reduce risk by delivering crude courses, measured only by bums on seats, that do nothing more than protect organisations against their employees.

This is why training departments make a huge mistake spending large headcount dollars on Graduate educated ISD professionals. You simply need anyone with a highschool diploma and some tech skills to fire up the latest rapid development tool and start entering content. Remember, governing bodies don't know what effective training is nor do they care. So if the goal of the training is to be compliant then you're wasting your money doing anything more than just a simple converted powerpoint with a test at the end.
Training departments are a traditional tops down organization and I think this helps answer Donald's question. Most of what training departments do is because of Senior management mandates, Gov't regulations, or in some way complying with an external driver (ISO certification comes to mind). Keeping the business compliant is now just part of the business. This is why rapid development tools are so popular. We all know WHY the training needs to get done, and so we just get it done in the most painless and cost efficient manner. Nobody really cares if people learned anything in the sexual harassment training course. Its only important that there is a report that shows how many people have completed the required number of training sessions or hours. This is what drives both the rapid development and LMS industry. Automating the mundane process of compliance training. It has NOTHING to do with learning.

So, once we can all get past that, then its not so frustrating. It is what it is...a good business decision that has nothing to do with learning.

Side note: Please send all of your hate mail to Donald...he started it ;-)

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Clive Shepherd said...

I'm at one with you and Donald on this. Endless 'going through the motions' training damages the reputation of the l&d department so that its more valuable contributions are treated with cynicism. But is there really a way round this?

Anonymous said...


Yes, you are right. But honestly, I know its a blog, and your stage to rant, but what can anyone do about this? It is what it is..

bschlenker said...

Hi Mary Kay and Clive,
There truly isn't anything we should do about it. Mary Kay, you are correct "it is what it is". Its part of doing business. And so in the spirit of being smart about business we should be treating this little annoyance (or reality) with our best entrepreneurial hats on.
Is it a good business decision to use a Graduate level Ph.D. (paying her a fantastic salary of course ;)
in ISD to spend weeks or months creating a course?
No. Get yourself an intern and have them crank out some captivate movies. Free up your expensive resources to help tackle business problems that can be solved with learning systems that take a lot more thought and creativity.
Sorry about the rant. I'm devoting the rest of the year to being more possitive on this blog.
Wish me luck ;-)