March 12, 2014

Quoting from Paul Davidson’s article (“More Employers Spend to Raise Workers’ Skills”) in USA TODAY this week, we find some good news for those of us committed to training and learning:

Employers say a skills gap that’s keeping them from finding qualified job candidates is widening. But they finally may be doing something about it.

About half of businesses say they plan to train new hires this year, up from 39% in 2013, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.

“Training budgets that were diminished or nonexistent during the recession are starting to make a comeback,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and author of The Talent Equation. The firm surveyed 1,025 employers in computers, healthcare, manufacturing, engineering and finance — fields with many open skilled positions. . . .

Gardner Carrick, vice president of the Manufacturing Institute, the industry’s training arm, says manufacturers aren’t restoring apprenticeships they cut as factory jobs moved offshore. But with about 500,000 jobs unfilled, he says a growing number of producers are working with community colleges and technical high schools to create a pipeline of workers for modernized factories.

That is, of course, half the battle. The other half (and, in many ways, the larger half) will be when these same forward-looking employers recognize that without full-motion simulation combined with actual on-the-job practice, these training investments will not succeed.

For several decades, we have seen dozens of well-intentioned training initiatives fail —- both in the public and private sectors. And, although reluctant to admit it, the reason for failure is almost always the same —- throwing lecture/reading/testing programs at a workforce that has grown up in a learning culture of television, smart phones and tablets.

But, the old beliefs die hard. And, particularly for those individuals whose ego-investment in the “what worked for me” philosophy has blinded them to societal advancement.

What works today for most world-be learners is actually quite simple: full-motion video or animations (with optional word-for-word audio); simulations; and, gaming.

Ignore that reality at your peril. If your aim is better on-the-job performance and longer term retention, there are far better ways to get there than the traditional lecture/reading/testing regimen that was the standard many decades ago.

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning