No one wants to buy “training!” People only purchase training programs when they want to solve a particular problem. Training becomes only a means to resolving issues that management wants to fix.

A decade ago, most buying was done at the plant level. Today more and more purchasing decisions are made in the corporate office. When a plant level purchase is made, the decision is generally in the hands of the Maintenance Manager or HRD Manager — individuals who have first hand knowledge of employee demographics and procedures that need fixing. These people also, often, know the media choices that are available, along with the pros and cons of each.

On the other hand, when Corporate Management makes the purchasing decisions they are generally unaware of the available choices. They also seldom understand the specifics of the procedural problems to-be-fixed. Today, their decision is most often confined to an e-Learning solution, primarily due to the economic efficiencies of that choice.

When making a training-purchase decision, here are a few items Corporate Management should require of any e-Learning provider:

• Always remember that “Content is King!” Review the programs from a content accuracy and completeness point-of-view.
• It is very important that the vendor’s SMEs (the ones involved in producing the courseware) were actually hands-on practitioners of the skills presented.
• Be certain that the video and “stills” used in the program come from actual plant environments rather than being staged.
• Thoroughly review the instructional design used in the course creation, paying close attention to whether the design is focused on “ individual learner control” or, incorrectly, developed from a “cookie cutter” philosophy.

Plant Management (Maintenance Mangers, for example) usually knows what makes training work in their specific environment. Corporate Management needs to pay closer attention to the attributes of effective learning before making any training-purchase decision.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning