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Graham David

There’s a Training Revolution coming … are you ready?

Recently whilst speaking with a potential client, they mentioned that their organisation was “looking for more innovative, more engaging ways of training”.

Of course – everyone wants training which engages – training which delegates want to attend.  Crucially training which makes a measurable difference to the bottom line.

Interestingly, the client then started taking about some e-learning they had been using.

“How does that work for you?” I asked.

“Terrible.  Its really dull” was the reply “You get these awful little graphics, then stupid four point multiple choice questions and at the end its the easiest thing to go back in again and retry until you get 100%”

It got me thinking – given the speed of development of new Apps these days, why are we so dependent on wildly outdated “test” programmes on our organisations intra-net?  Think about it – you can have your steps measured and real-time feedback provided, your food intake collated, your mileage monitored and allocated to personal and business all pretty much automatically.  You can select music and videos from around the world, and share and recommend them to other people, and your device can even learn what you like and make other suggestions “If you like this, we think you will love that…”.  We have text, picture, sound and video ability to link and connect to anyone else with a signal … and yet …

…. despite all of these options to share and spread ideas, to transfer learning and expertise, to record best practice and share experience, the majority of Learning and Training still makes use of expensive, inflexible and (dare I say) boring training programmes.

The challenge, surely, for any training company today is to find ways to make connections using these Apps and the devices most of us have.  Not to use this (largely free) technology is a worse than strange choice to make.

Not to use this technology is a dangerous choice to make.

Organisations surely need to consider the good that can come from a workforce that can develop and grow ideas and skills at the speed and breadth of the network, in comparison to the slow, step by step process of “putting people on a course”.

I asked the potential client about making use of the many free sites and apps that proliferate and the response was typical of many – apparently “marketing” were concerned about not controlling any content that maybe got into the public domain, and that HR had suggested it was “unfair” to require people to use their own devices in a work related activity.

This means that for this organisation, the speed of learning will be dictated (for now) by whether or not the potential client can find some e-learning which they consider engaging and innovative.  The fact that the last big spend on e-learning for their organisation was in 2008 suggests this will not go well for them.

By contrast, one of my clients was telling me about their customer service programme.  They told me that the content (what the organisation wanted from its staff) was fed into teams at high level sessions.  Short and sharp, expertly delivered, using drama and activity and simple clear ideas.  Then, crucially, the training company and the business trusted the teams to spread and propagate and develop the ideas.  How?  They suggested that as and when team members had success, they posted a message into a Facebook-type page.  Any one could contribute and ask questions, make challenges and post solutions.  Learners started making their own videos showing how they had adapted and made better use of training tools they had learnt.  Inspired by those, learners then started making their own “training videos” to support what they were teaching.  Just three months after the initial training, and the population had taken the work, developed it and started using it.  Re-worked and shared their findings.  Peer to peer learning occurring naturally.

All of this development happened because the organisation in question has embraced the technology and ideas available to us all.

Any business that refuses to adapt will find things increasingly difficult, less agile, less able to move forward.  Any training provider that seeks to “hold onto” its IP is surely not long for this world?

Believe me – there is a Training Revolution Coming – are you Ready?