Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Problems with training

A couple of links picked up from Twitter today about the limitations of training.

The surprising science of workplace training
Training is not as intuitive as it may seem.  Eduardo Salas, professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida states that “There is a science of training that shows that there is a right way and a wrong way to design, deliver, and implement a training program.”

Here are some pointers
  1. It is not just what happens during training that matters. Actually, what happens before and after training can be just as important.
  2. Trainers need to distinguish between content that is “need-to-know,” and that is “need-to-access.” For the latter training should teach people where and how to find that information rather so they don’t have to rely on memory
  3. Testing may not be an effective part of training.  Research shows that training is more effective when it’s presented as an opportunity, rather than as a test.
  4. Skill decay is a major problem in training.  Trainees lose up to 90 percent of what they learned within a year.  This can be prevented by giving workers frequent opportunities to practice their new skills, and by scheduling “refresher” training.
  5. Employers can act to increase workers’ motivation: by being clear about the link between what’s being taught and how it will be used on the job, and by making sure employees feel supported in their efforts to learn.
  6. Workbooks, lectures, and videos are usually poor for learning when compared to practice and feedback components.  Training can be improved by making it more active and engaging for participants.
  7. Workers will get the most out of practice when they are provided with constructive and timely feedback that identifies what they may be doing wrong and how to fix it.
  8. Research shows that conditions that maximise performance during training are often different from those that maximise the transfer and retention of those skills.  
  9. Because errors often occur on the job, there is value in training people to cope with errors both strategically and on an emotional level.  Guiding workers to make errors, and then providing them with strategies to correct their mistakes, will lead them to understand the task in greater depth and will help them deal with errors on the job.
  10. Technology must be implemented in a thoughtful way, in accordance with scientific findings, in order to add to the effectiveness of training.
  11. Left to their own devices, workers may not be knowledgeable or motivated enough to make wise decisions about how and what to learn.
  12. Training using simulations does not require the virtual setting to be precisely the same as the one the worker will encounter on the job. What matters is not the “physical fidelity” of the simulation, but its psychological fidelity—how accurately it evokes the feelings and the responses the worker will have on the job.
Centre for Leaning and Performance Technologies by Jane Hart 7 June 2013

In most cases this training requires participants to take time out of their daily jobs – often going to a separate place or room. Although more recently learners have been able to sit at their own desks and complete online courses, they have still had to stop what they were working on in order to study the course. And more and more people are now beginning to question the validity of this model to address all learning problems, citing its ineffectiveness, the fact that it relies on study and memorisation, as well as the cost and time requirements of developing instructional solutions.  
“A recently-published report by the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) estimates that the Civil Service wastes hundreds of millions of pounds every year – some £275m in the last year alone – putting staff through training courses that “do not work”. Less than half of the staff questioned by the NAO felt the training they received in the past 12 months had helped them to do their job better.” (Bob Little, Checkpoint eLearning, November 2011)
“Companies’ spending on training and development accounts for hundreds of billion pounds globally each year. But every year, according to successive empirical studies, only 5 to 20 per cent of what is learnt finds its way back into the workplace. While this failure to transfer and apply new learning in the workplace has long attracted academic interest, practitioners have been slow to change their ways. Despite the imperative that things cannot be managed without being measured, training has been getting off lightly. Surely a training industry that delivers less than 20 per cent cannot be fit for purpose?” Accountability needed for workplace training, Robert Terry, FT, 12 December 2011

Learning in the Social Workplace by Jane Hart (Blog) 23 March 2013

Here are the 10 reasons why you should not produce a elearning course:
    You don’t want to take your people out of the workflow unnecessarily.
    You don’t want to bore your people to tears with page-turner/click-next solutions.
    You don’t want to treat your people like idiots making them click on every link or action button in a course – because their manager thinks that’s proof they’ve read something and hence learned it!
    You don’t want to dumb down the learning process and make your people have to  work through trivial interactions – in a desperate attempt to engage them.
    You don’t want to force your people to stay on a course for a prescribed amount of time – just to prove they’ve had the required length of training.
    You don’t want to require your people to communicate with one another in a course – because that’s what others think “social learning” is all about.

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