HOW TO BUY MEDIA TRAINING“ (Some General Considerations)

May 19, 2014

The purchasing process becomes the key that can open the lock-of-possibility for the potential success of the media skills training you provide your workforce!

More “live to regret it” decisions are made during that buying process than you can probably imagine. Worse, the wasted money that your company will spend — and, the wasted time your workers will invest in ineffective training initiatives — will do far more harm than good, if you make the wrong decisions.

It all begins with the previewing activity — a process that should become routine for almost all training purchases.

In order to make the wisest choices, you should include a committee of individuals who: 1) understand learning; 2) the skill level of the workers to be trained; and 3) the skills required to perform the tasks your trainees will be expected to perform. Plus, one content expert to validate the information presented.

Previews should never be evaluated by an exclusive team of content experts simply because those individuals are looking at “information knowledge” and not at “the basic skills training requirements for the less-skilled.”

The second step in the buying process should be a “Readability Review.”

Ever hear of the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests?

There are two of them: The Flesch Reading Easiness and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level tests. They use the same core measures: word length and sentence length. It’s the latter test that should concern you when making a training purchase decision. Responsible vendors will be able to provide you with that information for their own courseware offerings.

The third step in your buying process should be “The Review of the Media Used.” Your focus should be on the simulations (the “doing”) provided by the visual content you are examining.

While the “doing” is mostly vicarious, the learning results can be close to ideal if the programs you are evaluating have the right mix of visual content and optional word-for-word audio — with minimal inclusion of the written word. (Remember, the written word will mostly fail to communicate with nearly half your workforce.)

You’re looking for full-motion video, animations, graphics and/or stills in order to convey the “doing” part of the training.

All of this is designed to facilitate that “do.” It’s what we mean when we discuss effective skills training.

Education may teach us theory, facts, opinions and intellectual understanding. The best in media learning makes it possible for us to do things better and to acquire new doing-skills.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, “What we learn to do, we learn by doing.”

We’ll look at some specific considerations on Wednesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning