People and Productivity

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Why is training a waste?

Throwing away our training?

Throwing away our training?

….and what should we be asking instead?

Ever left a training course intending to put it into practice? But not?

Ever sent a staff member on training and not necessarily noticed any change?

Ever wondered how much we truly take away from training?

“Yes” to any of the above suggests wasted learning opportunities. And not because we’re not motivated – we often leave excited and thankful..

Workshop. Plan. Action..

..is what we probably expect to happen. But does it? Attending (rather than delivering) a recent course, I had a informative morning which prompted me to write a long action list.

Immediately intimidated, I knew I wouldn’t do it, even though highly motivated. A stark reminder that, however much we absorb, become informed, think afresh, get excited about possibilities, see how it could raise our confidence, or even have a good idea of “how to”

…it’s ONLY a start!

How do we get learning to “land”?

We need:

  • To want to
  • Encouragement
  • Accountability

Sometimes – as managers sending staff on courses, or as individuals booking ourselves onto workshops – we think learning is complete on leaving the formal programme. Or at least, with a bit of practice, skills will develop and attitudes change – with behaviours following suit.

Are we wasting learning opportunities?

…A big fat YES!

People tend to experience behaviour change when there’s more at stake, when it’s relevant, applicable, in context and more self-directed. That’s why coaching and learning by “doing” something relevant – rather than just sitting back “consuming” content – seem more valuable.

Training works in the right setting, with the right support. Without a manager (or mentor figure) taking an interest and helping put it into practice, it’s largely wasted.

Avoiding waste

When booking training or any learning programme then we should pay attention – but not to the long list of content. The detail is usually available in a book or online! Plus a long list is probably over-promising or, at best, rattling the “onlooker” through text-heavy slides.

Paying attention to how we’re going to spend time doing this “learning” and how it gets applied to us – before, during and after the training – is vital.

3 ways to get learning working harder:

1. “How managers support staff learning”

..this should probably be THE most important management programme!

How many managers have “How are you going to apply the learning?” routines? Or inbuilt team tactics to encourage peer learning? Following up may not come naturally but with a small nudge they should experience an easy win.

2. #FOMO learning

In social media the hashtag #FoMO (meaning “fear of missing out”) relates to “Connectedness” – one of our 3 key motivational drivers (alongside Competence and Autonomy) according to Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan, 1985.)

Asking “What are you going to do with the learning?” gives it value – and a desirability that connects participant, team and manager perspectives.

In answer to “Why are you on this course?” instead of “”My manager sent me” and “Sounded useful” we want to hear “To make the system work better” or “To feel in control in a negotiation.” It has to be personal.

3. Chuck out the learning “quick fix”

Just because “Management training” is easily sourced, if certain sections are irrelevant or it’s not pertinent to the job, then it won’t “fit”. It wastes time, energy and a learning opportunity.

We need flexible learning, safely structured and easily accommodating, where participants contribute their context for it to make sense.

Of the 11 things I’d like to put in place from my course there are probably 3 I’ll prioritise and execute.

Many of us aren’t prepared to give our email addresses to a mailing list without being certain that the inbox invasion is worth it. The same should go for learning – any time spent or budget invested – for it to be worth it.

“Trying it out” is where the wealth of learning exists

To listen, read and turn up…it’s meaningless if we don’t try it. Putting it into practice is the priority.

Getting learning to “stick” is also known as “embedding learning.” But simply..

Let’s make “How will I use it?” take precedence.

Please comment.

Other articles you may like:

Suggestive language for learning

Tactics for taking learning back to work after training

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