December 4, 2013

Why have so many of us forgotten the real meaning of “Training?!?”

Information-only programs are beginning to blur the lines. And, unfortunately, the real losers are those employees who need to acquire new skills — both for themselves and for their organizations.

The distinction between “Education” and “Training” has been clear for centuries. While “Education” is difficult to pin down, the accepted definition revolves around the acquiring of knowledge for one of a variety of purposes. And, there is a plethora of research indicating that knowledge will arise in the mind of an individual when that person interacts with an idea or experience.

Training, on the other hand, has historically been associated with “skills acquisition.” We learn to do something new by being shown how to do it.

Information is merely an ingredient successfully incorporated into both education and training.

So, what’s the big problem?!?

Raw information is being packaged today by many training vendors and passed off as skills training. And, too many uninformed buyers mistakenly believe that information programs are examples of successful skills training.

Too many fail to remember that skills training results in “Doing.” That “Doing” may be hands-on or it may be vicarious through interactive (user-controlled), multi-sensory media courseware. Information is merely the background knowledge that is often necessary to the “Doing.”

We learn to pack a pump by doing it — not by reading about it. In the First Grade we learned to hold a pencil correctly by practicing the doing of it.

So why are so many vendors passing off Information courseware while, at the same time, labeling it as “training?” Because it requires no knowledge on their part of either the learning process or of knowledgeable instructional design. Their courses do not result in “the Doing” — which means that your employees have no way to apply the learning to the tasks assigned.

Effective skills training is more difficult to create because it is video-based with designed branching. However, it also offers genuine value for that customer committed to increased skills acquisition. Effective skills training will give you a better-trained workforce — a workforce that will positively contribute to your organization’s productivity and its bottom line.

On the other hand, information programs are easy collections of simple facts — while ignoring the applications of those facts. Without including “the showing” and simulations, those information courses (today, posing as e-Learning) will result in precious little new skills acquisition. And, both your employees and your organization lose.

You’ve got to be able to distinguish between training and information when developing your training initiatives. Go for the “training answers” every time.

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)