It continues to amaze me to hear about the number of companies and organizations who are still doing chalk and talks, data dumps, and death-by-power-point presentations, and calling them training. At Langevin, we teach that presentation alone is not training. A solid training program should contain a basic foundation of Presentation, Application, and Feedback, also known as PAF.
Ideally, we want more application and feedback (2/3 to be exact!) because we learn best by doing. When this basic concept is ignored, and trainers are forced to place emphasis on presentation only, there is typically very little improvement back on the job, and training is often blamed for this failure. The question, therefore, is how can trainers, instructional designers, and training managers get this message across? It seems rather simple. Common sense tells us “we learn by doing.” Unfortunately, common sense is not always common.
I often hear from participants that they are rarely involved in the decision-making process when it comes to their training projects. When it finally reaches them, they are often working with an unreasonable number of constraints and are expected to be magicians. They hear, “Make it happen and make it look pretty!” Many instructional designers and trainers feel their backs are against the wall and often feel powerless. It may sound daunting but, with a plan in place, change is possible.
The plan should ensure the training department is included in strategic and operational planning. As part of these sessions, the training department will be afforded an opportunity to use their skills and influence to define what training is and what it is not. Often times this will minimize the push for data dumps masked as training, particularly when management can see how it impacts the bottom line. It’s also an opportunity for the training department to be viewed as an investment rather than an expense, and to feel empowered and valued for the expertise training brings to the organization.
The bottom line is that we know, as trainers and instructional designers, we learn by doing, and that presentation, application and feedback are the key components of solid training. We just need to turn up the volume to get that message across to those who matter—everyone!
We expand on these concepts in our Instructional Techniques for New Trainers workshop. Hope to see you in there soon!
I'd love to hear more about YOUR training best practices in the comments section below!