Why Corporate Training Fails – Part 3

We’re now ready to examine the most important roadblock to effective learning . We’ll spend a few blogs on this ultra-critical and far-too-often-ignored impediment to learning and retention.

Training Challenge Number Three: “The failure to provide training that is designed to meet the needs of the 21st Century Learning Culture.”

FACT: Today, more than 40% of America’s workforce cannot read above a 4th grade level.

FACT: Little more than one-third of our current high school seniors are able to form opinions from what they read.

I would suggest that in order to effectively educate/train a group of people, an instructor must have some awareness of the “learning styles” with which he or she is working today.

And no single vendor can help the trainer make the correct choices. Don’t most courseware providers have but a single solution to offer? Their own! And isn’t their task to get you to bend ‘your problem’ to meet ‘their solution’ so that they can sell their own proprietary products to you? Do they genuinely care about your needs, or do they really only care about your money?!

An educator/trainer has to first solve the problem of differing learning styles within his/her organization. This may not be as difficult a task as one might initially think. For example, some jobs require good reading ability. If the instructor knows this skill is required, then the networking technology that places lots of words and graphics on the computer screen is an acceptable choice. The same would also hold true for books and manuals.

But, what about the vast number of jobs that do not require reading skills in order to be successful? Are we going to throw these same books, manuals, PowerPoint presentations and CBT technologies at those individuals?

If we do, we will be wasting the resources of our organization – for little learning will be the result – and, consequently, skills improvement will be minimal.

Most people are multi-sensory learners when it comes to skills acquisition. ‘Seeing,’ ‘hearing’ and ‘doing’ – in combination – is still the best way. Stand-up instruction (with hands-on exercises), distance learning (with good facilitation), videotapes (with hands-on practice), self-paced interactive multimedia (with full-motion video and full audio) are all more effective media for the large majority seeking to acquire, or improve, skills. And, appropriately designed E-Learning is becoming the best of all. (But, don’t think for a moment that most E-Learning instructs well. It does not – and in later blogs we’ll see why.)

In fact, studies continue to reveal that using “seeing-hearing-doing” learning-media (in a multi-sensory environment) will increase the majority of learners’ understanding by more than 50%, resulting in a 25-50% greater learning retention, and with a 50-60% greater consistency in content understanding – the ultimate aim of all learning. Stay tuned for more . . .

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning