The Critical Training Performance Needs You Might Not Know About

The Critical Training Performance Needs You Might Not Know About

Training performance is an issue that affects all organizations as they want to make sure that the money they invest in an employee is a sound investment. It makes sense to have the best trained employees as they are not only able to handle the day to day activities with ease but also in a safe manner. If performance is such an important factor, why is that we see organizations cut corners when it comes to training?

Some Context

In Towards Maturity’s 2013 Benchmark Study of Learning In the Workplace, there are a few figures which shed some light on what drives the implementation of learning technologies.

Training drivers for the implementation of learning technologies

2004

2006

2008

2010

2011

2012

2013

Deliver greater value for the money

*

*

*

*

77%

93%

96%

Improve the quality of learning delivered

*

41%

57%

90%

84%

94%

96%

Reduce training costs

16%

49%

46%

85%

83%

88%

90%

There are a couple of interesting things that are worth taking a closer look at. For instance “Deliver greater value for the money” has increased in importance from 77% of respondents citing this as a concern to 96% in 2013.

 

At the same time “Improve the quality of learning delivered has increased in importance from 41% in 2006 to 96% in 2013. Finally, “Reduce training costs” has gone from 16% in 2004 to 90 in 2013.

This is telling us a number of things. Firstly, that organizations are seeing the need to improve their training. The trend from 2006 to 2013 seems to indicate this.

Most importantly though, it’s showing us that delivering training at a reduced cost is one of the largest driving factors affecting training decisions in organizations. However, despite the cited need to deliver quality training, we’re seeing the opposite time and time again when we see the type of training that’s actually being delivered to employees. What exactly is happening?

Further Information

The answer to why quality training isn’t actually being delivered may lie in a research report by The eLearning Guild titled Learning Technologies 2013: Where Are We Now. This data in this report is gathered from a number of industries of varying size and asks the type of learning technologies that they’ve currently using. There are some surprising insights of note. Below is a truncated list of some of the technologies used. For the full list see The eLearning Guild’s report.

Learning Technology

Usage

Slides (Powerpoint, Prezi)

84.3%

Authoring tools (Storyline, Captivate)

83.0%

Videos you/your organization creates

73.7%

Email

72.3%

Online Assessments

65.8%

Printed Materials (workbooks)

61.1%

Screencasting tool (Jing, Screenr, Captivate)

50.1%

Simulations (software, soft skill)

47.8%

Source: eLearning Guild Research

When I initially looked at the full list of technologies that are used in organizations, one thing became apparent. It’s that the majority of the technologies used are synchronous in nature. Synchronous means that the communication between the technology and the end-user is one way. Think of it like a movie; you watch a movie but you don’t interact with it.

There are some exceptions to this in the list above. Authoring tools and simulations being the two here. However, Authoring tools high placement behind Slides does cause some concern.

As a training tool, slides are simply one of the worst ways to learn. They either provide too much information or the wrong information. As they are synchronous in nature, they provide a simple way to create learning materials that tell the information. And yet, this is the problem. They “tell” the information. “Telling” doesn’t equal performance, showing or doing does.

The reason that the place so high on this is because they are the easiest solution for any organization to implement as almost every workstation has a copy of MS Office. With little or no knowledge of instructional design, slides can be produced easily and in great quantity. This doesn’t make for good training though.

Moving down the list we see Authoring Tools coming up second with 83.0% of respondents using them in their organization. At first glance I was happy to see this as the more online training the better, right? Not necessarily.

A false assumption is that you can take a slide presentation created in Powerpoint, import it into an authoring tool, add a testing component and instantly have something better. While a testing component may be there, the majority of the online course is still synchronous by design.

Only 47.8% of respondents were using Simulations in their training as they are proven to provide the most when it comes to performance gains. It’s one thing being taught something; it’s an entirely other thing doing (whether real world or virtually) something. Despite this fact, it is not found as prominently as it should be.

Adding It Up

There is a disconnect between the desire for better quality training at a reduced cost and what’s currently being implemented in organizations today. The indication is that when it comes to training, cost trumps quality. This and the need to produce training quickly is what’s actually driving training. If organizations are truly interested in performance (and they absolutely should be), then training solutions that drives performance, increases competency and knowledge retention are critical to the success of employees.

To learn more about delivering training to your organization that delivers performance, download our free ebook Learn How To Create Performance Based Elearning.

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