Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Trading Off - the Big Question Jan 2007

What are the trade offs between quality learning programs and rapid e-learning and how do you decide?

I don't know how many of you are in the same boat I'm in, but I find that the decision is not entirely mine.

In my environment, I have 4 considerations:
- What do I need to train?

- Who is my audience and what is the best way to tackle training for the majority of them?

- How much time do I have to design and implement my training?

- What resources do I have to work with?

I seldom have control over these considerations. I DO know that my organization is all about speed.

Therefore, I am forced to build the minimum, get the training out there so that "training" box can be checked and the implementation project can be considered "complete."

Nevermind the weeks of cleanup that needs to occur afterwards or the months of ill-will from the rest of the organization.

Dr. Karrer puts this situation in a broader perspective -

Do they really care about effectiveness: changing behavior and driving business results? Many clients don't really care about this. They have a particular product/project in mind and they want you to get that done. As Karyn said in her post, the client will tell you, "Don't worry, your job is safe." They don't care about business outcomes. You'll often find this out pretty quickly when you start asking questions about "What do you expect people to do differently after this intervention?" or "What numbers are we trying to hit?" A blank stare often indicates that they don't really care. I actually think a surprising number of "training" projects involve clients who are on the don't care end of the spectrum.

In my experience, the reason why they don't care is because "training" is a check box on a project and seen as the "last step" of an implementation. Once "training" is done, the project is done and everyone can get on with their life. I'm not just talking software projects - I'm also including customer service initiatives, new sales procedures, etc.

OK, I really haven't answered the question yet.......

I WANT to build quality training. By "quality", I mean effective. Something that will improve performance and give my students / clients what they need to be successful in that particular thing. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just requires time, interactivity and a bit of ingenuity. It could be an easel pad and some crayons or reasonably fancy interactive courseware (Adobe Captivate 2 is a marvelous thing).

The organization wants to check the training box as fast as possible.....


Karyn said...

I think your experience mirrors a part of my post that Tony didn't include in his quote - namely that the box must be ticked so that the staff can't complain come review/performance appraisal time that there is a lack of development opportunities. And like you, I hate being forced to play by those rules. It's tantamount to schoolteachers teaching to the test for the sake of grades and not caring whether the children have actually gained anything useful from the material.

Argh! It's called education dammit. It's called learning dammit. If people are not being educated, if they are not learning, then it's all a waste or resources - ours and theirs.

Sorry - soapbox moment.

Dave Lee said...

The comments on this post are being tracked and aggregated as part of Learning Circuits Blog's The Big Question for January. Thanks for participating,

Tony Karrer said...

Wendy - I think you are in the same boat as a lot of people. Do you find that you have some leeway though? Can you reduce cost on parts and then focus your higher quality on other parts?

I also wonder if anything (other than changing jobs) is good advice to someone in your situation?