Self-Directed Learning


thAs a human being that wants to know how to do something, not much can get in the way of that objective.  When we want to learn, we seek out the information and most of the time are not willing to wait very long to get it.

This is why a training function needs to realize that they need to release the reins on learning and allow it to be more self-directed.  You can still have your formal workshops scheduled quarterly on the calendar, but you also need to release content in forms that allow adult learners immediate access.

Personal Example:

I love to cook and I am always interested in learning new techniques, or getting a new appliance to make cooking easier or tastier.  I recently received one of the new electric pressure cookers as a gift, but it did not come with a recipe book.  It had instructions on how to operate the machine, but the expectations as to how it differs from a traditional on the stove pressure cooker were missing.

I immediately went to search online for a cookbook, and landed up on one of the most popular websites, YouTube.  After watching several videos for various recipes that I have used a traditional pressure cooker, I discovered that the recipes were the same.  I not only had several cookbooks on the shelf, but I learned rather quickly they would work the same with my new cooker.

It took me a few days to realize that without thinking, I needed to learn something and I used online content to learn it.  In a few minutes I got my questions answered and was able to go to work.  Self-directed learning was available, and without hesitation I used it to obtain the information I needed.

You can expect your employees to do the same thing, and to once again show value in a corporate training function, work related content should be easy to access and readily available.  Is that the case in your company or do you have some work to do to get up to speed?

Your Training Efforts Are Pointless!


Pointless Training CoverI hated to be the barer of bad news this past week, but after completing a full Training Physical for a client, I was searching for something positive to report.  While I entered this work agreement with the client telling me that he had little faith that I would find anything that training was doing that made a difference, I was convinced that no training effort was without some redeeming quality.

Well, after performing countless Training Physicals on organizations of all shapes and sizes, I was forced to agree completely with the client.  Absolutely nothing they were training had any impact or return on investment.  Their training efforts were pointless and needed to stop.  Not only were they wasting money, the lack of quality and purpose in their efforts was clouding the future of any training effort.

So while I didn’t have to stress over how the client was going to take the news, I have been concerned about what to recommend doing from now on.  How should I direct this turn around?

First it may be helpful to know that their “Training Manager” had resigned 2 months ago, coincidentally I’m sure when the contract was signed to conduct the Training Physical .  This has afforded me complete access to the operation with nothing diverting my attention from known problem areas.  So now I am recommending they approach the redesign of the training function before they hire a new training manager.

I am suggesting the design first, so they can interview with expectations.  The design is something I can facilitate with management in a few weeks, where a new training manager could easily take 90-days before they begin implementation.  Now a new training manager can start implementation within their first week on the job.

I know I will start with an annual training plan that matches the existing strategic plan, and then begin a general clean up.  This will mean tossing what doesn’t work and replacing it with better solutions.  My biggest concern is how to demonstrate a new training function to the masses quickly.  I believe I have a topic that could benefit the entire organization, and my pitch will be to engage all employees in a new learning process at the same time.

Getting everyone engaged at the same time creates that positive buzz that moves around the population within days.  Once we have people being wowed by the new way to learn, we can begin implementing other training solutions one after another.

It is my sincere hope that this time next year we can say that training is running with a purpose, and no one is saying anything remotely like the word “Pointless” ever again.