Skills training is the antithesis of the memorization techniques incorporated in education and information conveyance.

Skills training demands “doing” — whether it be:
a) hands-on , or
b) vicarious (videotape or film), or
c) simulation (IVD, CD-ROM or knowledgeably designed e-Learning)

We memorize to learn new information. But, we practice by “doing” — if we want to acquire, or enhance, a skill.

It’s also worth noting the history of reading-based (with a few stills thrown in) skills training. Obviously, the reading/lecture approach and CBT, that sprang as a look-alike for the slide show/textbook presentations many of us witnessed in school, are the traditional examples.

And that textbook/slide-show evolution continues to this day — most unfortunately — with the adapted PowerPoint presentations and the adapted written procedure presentations that are dirtying up E-Learning as a valid training medium.

These programs will not train anyone. They may pass some information along to the trainee but that trainee will not be able to perform any of the skills discussed without additional “doing” exposure –- probably, hands-on.

What a waste of the buyer’s money! What a waste of employee time!

And all because, too often, the buying decisions have been transferred from the local plant management and training personnel to the corporate office where few people with buying responsibility have any insight into training values, effective skills acquisition, or knowledgeable instructional design.

Do I believe that this new iteration of the old textbook/slide shows (posing as E-Learning) will die away? Yes. But it will take a longer time to do so than it did in the 1980s because individuals who understand the importance of training outcomes do not have the same purchasing leverage they once had.

I earnestly hope we can change this situation before too many skill sets begin to erode. Reading-based skills training is definitely not the answer — and, never has been!

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning