Sunday, 3 May 2015

We have to stop pretending…

When it comes to the training of our young people we have to stop pretending that what we’re doing isn’t boring, that learners find meaning in what we’re covering in class or that having our learners sit still for hours can consistently result in a meaningful learning experiences.

Where does all this take us? This article explores some exciting possibilities

70: 20 10 insight as a strategic development weapon
The belief that anyone can actually do anything practical after sitting and listening to another for a 40 minute stretch (or longer) is too much to expect from any trainer or learner. How can we move away from the concept of the trainer as a font of knowledge and information? How can we find better ways to utilise those with experience and expertise as custodians of technology and quality who can act as workplace education, training and development practitioners?

Handing everything over to an external provider delivering off the shelf courses and then expecting those emerging from such training to hit the ground running on their return to the office is, at best, wistful thinking.

There is a 70:20:10 model which shows that most learning occurs as part of the workflow and not in away-from-work training situations. This model suggests that "development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences, working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need, and 10% from courses and reading.” *

So how can we use this type of model to make the "working on tasks and problems" and the “feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need” an integral element of our training strategies?

Flipping the workplace into the classroom
Information surrounds us at every turn: Google is a part of life. If this is the case,  then what role does formal training have and how can experience be harnessed in such an environment?

The solution lies in facilitating a process in which the individual builds his own store of knowledge in a way that he or she can best apply it.

This means that we first need to closely defined what behaviour must be produced or modified as a result of any learning intervention. In coming to this decision we will inevitably identify problems which the individual will need to solve by following learnt procedures, applying learnt knowledge or techniques or a combination of all of these. These problems will be workbased. Once we know this, it is then a question of designing a workbased programme in which individuals are given problems relevant to the competence required. It is then up to each individual within that group to identify any skills or knowledge gaps they which need to be addressed before they can solve the problem at hand.

The tools which each learner will require will be different and will probably involve acquiring information, gaining practical know how in the workplace from an experienced person and then repeated practice in applying what has been learnt in an environment where mistakes are not expensive.

This is where the blend of e-learning, social learning and practical, on the job training comes into its own.

In such a programme there may well be a need for face to face interaction between learner and facilitator but these interactions must have the form of exploring what the learner has acquired through his or own efforts and how this can be used to solve the given problem. “But where,” you ask, “does the learner acquire the theoretical background needed to solve many problems? Development of many supply chain solutions, for example, requires a strong background in statistical theory”. The answer lies setting problems in which the learner will need to acquire that theory as part of the problem solving process and not in an academic vacuum. This is not to say that some outsourced, off the shelf training may not be useful but its context needs to be clearly understood if it is to be effective.

E-learning is of itself not a means to this end and neither is on the job training. If they are carefully coordinated however, a very powerful multiplier effect is created.

Do you see a need for coordination between outsourced learning and on the job training?
Do you have strategies to ensure that experienced gained over many years is retained in your business?
Are you staying abreast of developments in e-learning, social learning and blended learning?