Maybe Your Training Failed – Because Your Process Failed

One of the things that The Training Doctor specializes in is something one of our clients dubbed: Training Triage. Another client once said, “You fix sick training.”  Yes, very often we find ourselves re-designing training that is already in-place, but isn’t working so well. Because we specialize in adult, workplace oriented learning, we can analyze the training process without getting caught up in the topic.

 But this isn’t an article about us – it’s a cautionary tale about the fact that having correct content or a knowledgeable presenter isn’t enough to ensure that your workers will learn anything; the correct content, supplied through an appropriate learning process, will help them to grasp your concepts and transfer their learning to on the job.

 Here are a few examples from our work in the past year:

 A software product being taught to field technicians –

–  The training was 4 days of “how to” but the final “exam” was paper and pencil

–  The participant guide was 70 pages single-spaced, typed

–  There was no leader guide yet 4 different facilitators were teaching the topic  (only one facilitator consistently enabled her students to pass the final exam)

 A project management course that had been shelved for four years because “nobody is actually able to do project management after they take the training;” yet it contained ALL the“right” stuff –

Turns out that participants were missing a crucial component: How to manage a team of people who don’t actually report to you.

 A 2-week “residency” sales training program for which participants had to prepare on their own. The client reported that participants were not as prepared as they expected them to be once they got to the face-to-face portion of the training –

Some of the training process issues identified:

 –  No curriculum plan so participants had an idea of what they should do and when and why – they simply got a list of to-do’s

–  No idea how long any of the to-do’s would take to accomplish

–  No contact with the training department prior to attending the face-to-face week – you were absolutely left on your own to train yourself for the first 8 weeks

–  Vague instructions like “review the rules associated with XYZ”

–  No correlation between what one was learning and how it applied on the job

 By reviewing these mini “case studies” you can see the vast variety of process issues that can affect an otherwise great training program.

Take a step back from your own content and consider: do our participants have everything they need to be successful? Have we thought about what support they need or what questions they might have before they encounter them, so that they are fully prepared to be successful?