October 29, 2014

Up until the last decade most training purchases occurred on the individual plant level. Those purchases were typically made by individuals who either had actual plant floor experience or by professional skills trainers.

Recently, driven by e-Learning technology, many of those same purchases are now being made at the corporate level and, far too often, by individuals who have come out of an HR or technology environment. Few of these corporate buyers have had prior shop floor experience or were ever professional trainers in the industrial skills arena.

It’s past time to get some of the supervisors with plant floor experience and plant training personnel back into the corporate decision process – if only in an advisory role.

Buyers at the corporate level can seldom evaluate course content. They are usually limited to examining catalog course titles and matching them to corporate need.

But, simply put, “A title is not a title.” Just because you create or purchase a course entitled, “Centrifugal Pump Maintenance” does not mean that the course described will actually train anyone in how to perform maintenance on a centrifugal pump. It is merely a title until the innards have been examined by someone who knows the subject and understands instructional design principles.

Far too many course catalogs are simply marketing camouflage.

Some courseware vendors have done nothing more than stock their e-Learning catalogs with re-purposed written procedures and PowerPoint presentations that had been produced years earlier on a customized basis. The fat catalogs they publish are actually listings of nonsense. They’ve called these re-purposed programs e-Learning but that claim could not be further removed from any effective learning process. These vendors are relying on corporate buyers seeing the large number of titles being peddled and, then, making the mistaken assumption that those titles will actually contribute to the learning process.

Other vendors will send their courseware production activities overseas where the courses can be templated and stamped out, one after the other, with no awareness of the design requirements disparate subjects require.

Nope. Won’t work. Just because you want to be a professional baseball player doesn’t mean you can! And, so it is with the creation of effective learning. Just because one wants to doesn’t mean they can!

Let’s bring our subject knowledgeable personnel and our training knowledgeable employees back into the corporate buying process. Only then will we return the focus to the end-user —- and, away from both this over-emphasized concentration on technology and the misguided efforts of the amateur creators.

Happy Halloween! More on Monday – – – – –

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