Training waste – an expense we cannot afford

Group 3
How often have we turned up to run or been part of a training event where you experience the following:

  • Participants have been told they need to attend and they don’t want to – their behaviour gives a clear message, “I would rather be somewhere else”
  • Participants have not done the pre-work – they come in ‘cold’ rather than ‘warmed’ up to the experience. Valuable time is lost getting people onto the same page
  • Participants see the event as ‘time-out’ from the day-to-day rather than ‘time-in’ a learning opportunity
  • Participants do not see the relevance to their role and how these ‘new’ ideas are likely to sit with the way they currently practice. I have been doing things my way for a long time so why change?

As we all know the attitudes of those present (who are not present really) do many things to any learning event.

  • It contaminates the experience for those who can get something from the experience
  • It creates a conversation post event back in the workplace that undermines the learning experience so that others who come to the next workshop are more likely to begin with a negative position to the learning
  • It makes the job of the facilitator really challenging. They often spend more time dealing with non-compliance rather than getting the key learning ideas/skills across to the participants

This is a costly problem. Taking staff offline, cost of facilitation staff, venue hire, travel and accommodation, catering etc., adds up. An average week of in-room learning is going to set you back significant resourcing as any L&D manager knows. L&D budgets are scary beasts at times and generally the first thing to be seriously reduced when overall operating costs are looked at.

That is why I am a firm believer in blended learning to ensure learning transfer. A well thought out learning experience is based upon the following methodology:

  • Learners have met with their managers and identified the purpose of the learning opportunity and their individual goals – any reluctance is dealt with by the manager. We find teaching managers motivational enhancement techniques makes a real difference in supporting good learning engagement
  • Having participants undertake a set number of pre-workshop exercises so that they make a ‘warm’ rather than ‘cold’ start to the learning experience. This often involves e-learning modules around the theory and ideas that underpin the learning
  • When undertaking in-room learning draw on the experience of those present (learner centric approaches)
  • Follow-up back in the workplace with the manager or mentor to answer the question, “What we will see difference in your behaviour?”
  • Reviewing one, two and three months out from the learning experience closes the loop around the learning experience

We can boil these ideas down to three simple ideas:

  • As a learner I am present to the learning experience
  • As a learner I have the ability to use the acquired skills
  • As a learner I am willing to use the acquired skills back in the workplace

Developing a learning culture in an organisation is what counts at the end of the day. Learning is an expensive part of any business – let’s make it count.

Let me know of your experience of learning waste. Love to hear your thoughts.

Published on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016, under Learning & development

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