According to an article in the August 1, 2012 Wall Street Journal by Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Justin Scheck, entitled, “U.S. Faces Uphill Battle in Retraining the Jobless” :

The effectiveness of workforce training has been debated since 1962, when Congress poured federal money into the Manpower Training and Development Act, which President John F. Kennedy called a “potent tool.” Congress has repeatedly expanded and retooled the approach, adding programs for welfare recipients, youths, veterans and people coming out of prisons.

This week, in President Obama’s “State of the Union” address, he said:

Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so those German kids, they’re ready for a job when they graduate high school. They’ve been trained for the jobs that are there.

. . .Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge, to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future.

Unfortunately, these are old stories. For years, we have all read headline after headline calling for “Training” “and Re-Training” as necessary to America’s economic future. Those headline-prescriptions are applied to both the unemployed and the under-employed. And, the lack of sufficient training is also used as a “reason” behind the exporting of American jobs.

As with so many problems, the cause is clearly visible — but, the means of solution are greatly flawed. And that is because the individuals who design the training and re-training prescriptions are myopic in their knowledge.

“What worked for me will work for everyone,” becomes the mantra for the deciders of these training programs. And the obvious result is that their decisions then become reading-based solutions — leaving most of the people needing the training unable to acquire the skills they so desperately need.

A truly educated person thinks laterally. They accept new information and constantly readjust their conclusions as new learning challenges warrant. Conversely, an advanced college degree is no guarantee of educated thinking if it only guarantees a linear continuation of a status quo that no longer exists.

What are the facts regarding effective training today? What is the better way to achieve significant learning gains for almost fifty percent of our population?

Today, we live in a television age of information and too few would-be learners’ eyes rely primarily on the printed page for information and knowledge. Information, values and opinion are, for the most part, shaped by the two-dimensional images we see and hear on our television screens. Reading for information has been de-emphasized in this natural evolution of knowledge transfer. Today, moving pictures of real people and real actions, making real sounds, are shaping the minds of our citizens.

What are the facts today? Only 24 percent of this nation’s fourth graders are able to form opinions from what they read, and only 34 percent of our high school seniors can. The majority of our working adult population cannot comprehend beyond a fourth-grade reading level.

Most people are visual learners when it comes to skills acquisition. ‘Seeing’, ‘hearing’, and ‘doing’ – in combination – is still the best way. In fact, studies continue to reveal that using “seeing-hearing-doing” multi-sensory media (in a full-motion and optional word-for-word audio 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.

If this nation is truly serious about “Re-Training America” it must look toward the multi-sensory learning programs that are delivered today through CD-ROM, and the best of e-Learning. Only then will we begin to seriously address the “Re-Train America” goals that this nation and its under-employed require.

More on Tuesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning

www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com