Wednesday, June 03, 2009

#ASTD09 Further Thoughts

It dawned on me while I was bowling that there is another assumption that seeps through training as a profession that may be the cause of much of our resistance.

Training is a one shot deal.

Think about it.

Everything we design is based on "When you walk out of this classroom, you should be able to....."

Whether that class is an hour / day / week / semester.

What about afterwards?

Maybe that's the crux of "informal learning" / ROI / social networks and all the rest.

How are we supporting our students after they walk out of (or close) whatever "learning experience" we give them?

"Training" is really only the start. What support systems are you putting in place for afterwards? Do they have a way to contact an expert? Each other? You? Are there resources you can point them to? Has the organization who is driving the change put in supporting policies and rewards and systems?

Maybe our focus should be less on how we make our training entertaining and "effective". Less on objectives and evaluation tools for that moment in time.

Maybe we need to be thinking longer term....


Robert Kennedy said...

Wow Wendy!! I had not thought of that. Our entire objectives are geared that way. I think other than that, it doesn't fit into our assessment. Maybe its a cya type of thing. Maybe the perspective is that the objectives are not so much about the learners as they are they are the people creating the lessons. That's because once they leave the "classroom" or the "lesson" we can't measure what they are learning. I guess this is where connectivism comes in. Sometimes it doesn't click until another piece to the puzzle is experienced and the piece may happen to be in ANOTHER environment or "classroom". What do you think?

bschlenker said...

Hi Wendy! Its not maybe we should...
Its we MUST support the learning before, during, and after the "training". Designing for single events is not value added any more. In order to impact the bottom line BUSINESS objectives you MUST figure out a way to continually support the learner 24/7.
Great post!

Wendy said...

The lazy person in me shudders - but, as usual, you are right Brent.

I think that is going to prove to be a huge cognitive shift for those who have put training in a very particular box.

Dave Ferguson said...

I've worked in the training / learning field for a long time. Over the years my awareness got raised by people like Mager, Harless, Gilbert, Rummler.

Systems thinking is the key. On one level, if you've got genuine skill/knowledge needs, then you can do training (which tends toward the more procedural) or encourage learning (the more tacit). Lots of ways to help that happen...

But that fit into a larger system, like the human performance model of ISPI, where you look at all the other influences on results at work: job design, information, feedback, etc., etc.

And those in turn fit into a larger department and then organizational system.

You can't train your way out of silos--certainly not with sheep-dip "effective meeting" courses.

More and more I think I need to write a book on workplace learning. Working title: "How Often Must Employees Answer Multiple-Choice Questions?"