The Freedictionary provides the following description of disillusionment;
“having lost one’s ideals, illusions, or false ideas about someone or something; disenchanted”
I’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about the role of training in an organisation and my own journey in to the learning profession. I don’t profess to be an expert, not even close, I didn’t go to university to study psychology or anything related to training & development, HR, business studies or consultancy. My route in to the training department was one of opportunity and chance but they say things happen for a reason don’t they?
I was lucky enough to take my Certificate in Training Practice (CiTP), as I reflect on the last 6 years and the different roles that I’ve had, I think back to my CiTP study and the main things that I remember were:
- The training cycle
- SMART objectives
- Different learner types
- Learning Styles (Honey & Mumford)
- Delivery techniques
- Donald Kirkpatrick evaluation model
It was a mixture of theory and practical assessment with a final dissertation and exercise with observation. If I remember correctly the final exercise was a nerve-racking experience!
As I look back now it was a great introduction and foundation to understand the principles of training and learning pedagogy. What I also now realise is that my path in to training was exactly that, a path in to training. Training as in instructor led, timed events that were away from the work and set in a classroom environment. Parent child situations based on the trainer having the knowledge and to a degree (although we put in exercises for the Activists) very top down.
In the time that I was in a training delivery role the reaction to learning sheets were the most important thing, the paper based assessments validated that the people who attended my sessions could demonstrate they understood the subject matter. These two stages of the Kirkpatrick model were THE most important things for me – confirmation that I had done a good job.
Some would argue that actually these two stages of the Kirkpatrick model are pointless and the only thing that we as learning professionals should focus on is performance and capability. More specifically how we can improve peoples’ performance through developing new skills, knowledge or changing behaviours. I would tend to agree with this view as business leaders don’t care about the first two stages, they want to know what’s changed post training, what are their people doing better, where have they improved and how does this benefit the organisation.
Does your organisation care if people enjoyed the training they attended or passed a multiple choice assessment at the end of the session? I know I’m generalising a little here and there are lots of great training events that do add value, but….if you were to take the 70/20/10 framework and the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve then only 10% of what people learn will be in a formal ‘training’ setting and most of the content will be forgotten after a few hours anyway.
So where does this leave Learning & Development functions that continue to focus on designing and delivering the standalone course, organisations that continue to focus on training to deliver the course and individuals who still associate learning with formal training?
I would argue that it leaves them where they’ve always been because you don’t know what you don’t know, going round and round in circles doing the traditional same old same old. As a Learning Professional I do feel a certain amount of disillusionment about where this place is. Looking to the future I see opportunities to turn this disillusionment in to enlightenment by challenging the status quo in my organisation around training events, the perception of learning, developing capability and improving performance through more effective ways of knowledge sharing in the workplace.
My time in the learning profession has been and continues to be one of discovery and it has been an interesting journey. As learning is a continual process this journey will never end and for that I’m grateful. It’s now time to develop a culture of continual learning in the workplace, how much of this will be made up by traditional approaches to training remains to be seen.
Is there anything that makes you feel disillusioned about training?
Do you agree that training needs to change to add more value in the organisation? If so how?
What if anything are you doing to move away from the classroom?