November 17, 2014

Too many people have forgotten the goals of “Training.”

Information transferral has begun to blur the lines.

And unfortunately, the real losers will be those workers who need to learn the necessary skills their organizations require.

The distinction between Education and Training has been clear for centuries. While “Education” is difficult to pin down, generally, 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 arises in the mind of an individual when that person interacts with an idea or experience.

Socrates argued that education was about drawing out what was already within the student. (the word “Education” comes from the Latin “e-ducere,” meaning “to lead out.”)

Training, on the other hand, has historically been associated with “skills acquisition.” We learn to do something by being exposed to doing it —- either in a workshop lab or through video-based instruction.

Skills training involves the practice of Doing. That Doing may be hands-on or it may be vicarious through well designed multi-sensory media courseware and simulations. Information is merely the background knowledge that may, or may not, be 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-only courseware today? (Repurposed PowerPoints are prime examples,)

Because it requires no knowledge of either the learning process or of knowledgeable instructional design. (Shamefully, they can simply convert their information-only PowerPoints and written procedures —- and label the results as e-Learning.)

Effective skills training is more difficult to produce because it offers genuine value for one’s customers. A decade ago, almost all vendors in the media-based skills training business were committed to “Learning” and to sound instructional design. Unfortunately, most of those visionary men and women are now gone.

Today, cheap, ineffective information-only courses are being passed off as skills training in order for their producers to make a quick buck. And, uninformed buyers are not holding those charlatan vendors to the higher standards of effective skills acquisition.

We need to change that equation! We need to refocus our attention on training “how to do!”

More on Wednesday – – – – –

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