Corporate training is broken; so why are you still doing it?


TheMarch 2014 Training Journal had a very thought provoking article by Libby Drake of Consalia, which immediately got my attention from the title, “Corporate training is broken; so what are we still doing it?”. In it she discusses  some outdated practices out there that people still cling to and quite frankly this is the stuff that gives training a bad name. So I thought it would be good to look at what she is discussing…..

Issue #1: You know training alone won’t solve your performance issues – so why are you still doing it?

Libby quotes Dr. Brent Petersons study demonstrating that 25% of learning effectiveness comes from the learning event itself but a huge 85% of the training budget goes on the event. Does this make sense? What about pre learning and post learning?

Issue #2:You  know that failing to get line management support is potentially fatal – so why are you still doing it?

There is a wealth of evidence to support how a line managers influence is crucial in imbedding new behaviours and the transfer of learning. But are these line managers themselves getting the training and support they need to support their staff? Says Drake; “Leimbach and Maringka found that the more managers are trained in how to support and coach the skills their employees learn, the more those skills will be used in the workplace”

Issue #3: You know that neglecting to invest in post-course follow-up can seriously affect transfer of learning – so what are you still doing it?

Using and applying new skills is vital to reinforcing them otherwise people revert to their old ways, just like “memory foam”. Practicing a new skill until it becomes a habit is crucial. “A 2006 report by the American Society for Training & Development showed that 70% of training failure could be attributed to lack of follow up after a training event.”

Issue #4: You know that ineffective L&D design hampers storage and recall from long-term memory – so why are you still doing it?

Learning design has to ensure that new information and learning moves into long term memory, but many trainers just do not understand how to do this. Stories , repetition and an understanding of the quirky ways the brain works are just a few things trainers should really get to grips with.

Issue #5: You know that condoning poor-note taking impairs learning – so why are you still doing it?

Studies have shown that good note taking can aid retention. Putting the information into our own words and then the physical act of writing stimulates the motor cortex, gives an opportunity for recall and moves information into the long term memory.

I loved this article as it highlights beautifully some bad practices out there – but this does not apply to everyone! Those organisations who fully take on board these 5 key point will not only be improving learner retention, but engagement as well the impact of the learning on the organisation. Take heed!!!


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