Homer Simpson had it right

9:14 pm Training

Probably the most common way of providing staff training is to put on a course – maybe over one day, two days or more. The reasons for this are many, but it often comes down to cost and convenience. It costs a lot to provide training, so it is most cost effective to get everyone in a room at the same time, and for the least amount of time, so they are not away from their jobs for too long. Often it appears that the factor least considered is effectiveness in terms of the employees actually learning something.

There are lots of ideas about and definitions of what learning actually is, but it is widely accepted that learning is some change in capability or enhanced knowledge or understanding. It is questionable then, whether getting a group of employees into a room and giving them information verbally, by powerpoint and handout, and even with an assessment at the end, is going to lead to the desired change in capability or enhanced knowledge or understanding. Several things make learning by this means difficult, including lack of opportunity for reflection or to practise with the information.

The problem is if you don’t use it it you lose it. Our brains are bombarded with information all day every day, and they are programmed to let the information fade away if it does not occur again soon in some context where its relevance is clear and a reason for long term storage provided. Homer Simpson was on the right track when he said, “every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out of my brain”. However, the old stuff isn’t information already stored for the long term, it’s the stuff that has just gone in and our brains are trying to decide whether to keep it or not. If you don’t start to use the new information pretty quickly your brain will dump it as the even newer stuff comes in.

This is an area where an eLearning or blended learning approach can help. Obviously, if we just provide employees with an online slide show, animated and narrated or not, which they view once, with a quiz at the end, we will have the same problem. eLearning can go much further, providing an opportunity over time to work with the information being learned; to view worked examples, try exercises and learn more thoroughly. Having the learning materials available online means that the inconvenience (from the employers’ point of view) of having employees away from their jobs for long periods is avoided. In addition, employees can learn when they find it convenient and training professionals can provide ongoing support to the learners as e-moderators.

Leave a Comment

Your comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.