Friday, April 04, 2008

Removing a Political Gambit

Will Thalheimer has done a comprehensive study within one organization that formalizes what many of us has expected. (See how little most folks felt they learned from "District Trainers.")

I don't know whether this is even a related thought, but my first thought after reading this article was "So where do the folks who insist on being "trained" by a "trainer" fall?"

Self-directed? In its best instances, yes. Usually done by folks who have been learning on their own and are just stuck. Example - my favorite project manager who was looking for better ways to develop an interactive presentation with two moderators. He wasn't happy with what he found so far and needed someone to show him other possible techniques.

I have also heard that phrase recently (with alarming frequency) as a gambit to check a box and pretend they are doing something. Tell them "No" and you get a whole litany of politically-motivated excuses and whining.

But the trainers aren't available - I can't help that! We don't get enough support!!!!

This is where I'm thinking e-learning will be invaluable. The "I need a trainer" gambit becomes much harder to use. Resources are available 24/7. The training is consistent and not as dependent upon the experience of the trainer. Synchronous training time can then be used to facilitate conversation and provide for specific needs rather than generic knowledge transfer. Responsibility for learning then falls where it is supposed to be in the first place - the learner.

I just introduced our new e-Learning tool to one of our neediest customers. This customer has been coming to us with the following request.

We need to learn (name software application here). Can you show us how to use it?

This situation has devolved into one of our team going out to this site at least twice a month to do generic training on "whatever." Oh yeah, and they still don't know why they actually need to use (name software application here).

The e-Learning tool contains some solid tutorials on a wide range of software programs. The tutorials range from very basic (here's how you open the program) to very sophisticated processes.

So I'm getting a chance to test my theory that eLearning will help reduce the "I need a trainer" gambit from this team. I walked this person through the online tutorials and how to find them yesterday. I'll let you know how this goes.

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