Unfortunately, in a tight economy the first item to be slashed on the company budget are training programs, when in actuality training should be increased. One reason you should be looking to increase your training dollars is that you want to retain your star employees and show them that the organization believes in them and is looking to develop their skills to be even more valuable to everyone.
Let’s look at the different types of training that may be important to your organization.
- Job Skills Training – A responsible organization will take steps to provide employees the means to improve their skills. This is especially true with new hires, who are not fully up to speed and may need a program to help them not only develop their skills but to reinforce the company policies and procedures. This type of training will help off-set the time to answer questions or to re-do a job because it was not finished to company standards.
- Compliance Training – Employment compliance issues are constantly in the news and are always changing. Staying current on compliance issues may be critical to the liability of the company and may be crucial for new supervisors and current management to take. If your company is mandated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to provide safety training, you may be at risk if you do not comply.
- Employee Development – Helps a company place employees in the right position to reduce turnover and poor morale. Effective training will not only address the needs of the individual employee, but also communicate to the employee the needs of the organization.
- Succession Planning – Training of your star employees into lower, middle, and upper management will give them the opportunity to learn new techniques and to develop new skills. This type of training helps the organization to plan for growth and retirement issues.
- New Supervisor Training – All too often, a good, hard worker is promoted into a lead or first line supervisory role – without any training. By taking the time to analyze the capabilities of the employee and training them into this new role, will safe the company time and money and the individual the peace of mind of knowing what is expected in this new role.
Training, just like other functions, is a process. If you plan ahead and put a good, solid program together, training will only benefit your organization. With proper training, you can transform disengagement into employee engagement.
david burta says
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david burta says
Borrowing from the YouTube Playbook for Training
By: Dave Burta, Senior Consultant, Latitude Consulting Group
It is no trade secret that the half-life of formal learning is measurable in barely more than clock time. And the holy grail of trainers and learners is how to expand that half-life in meaningful ways (i.e., how to make learning “Stickier”). A part of the answer to “stickiness” may lie in borrowing a play or two from the YouTube playbook.
YouTube has enjoyed mass acceptance and adoption rarely seen around the globe and across many subject areas. What is it about this approach to communications that has caused its amazing reception and “stickiness”, and how can that be applied to training and learning?
I would suggest that it is some combination of the following YouTube attributes:
• Ease-of-use and access
• Sound bite-level learning of low density content
• Variability of content
• Informality of media and messages
The last attribute, the informality of the YouTube, perhaps has the greatest impact on what makes YouTube so habit forming. These attributes make a YouTube-like environment a remarkable candidate to help the learning community extend the half-lives of learning events and delivery technologies. These same attributes applied to learning would make it far more inviting to the learner and thus have them readily returning for more.
Ease of Use and Access
Learning management systems (LMSs) all face the same challenge. They trade off simplicity and ease-of-use for functionality (or vice versa). The more substantial the content and the enterprise requirements for administration and delivery of learning, the more inherently complex the LMS environment must be to accommodate those requirements. This often adds layer upon layer of rules, criteria, and complex pathways of learning. These complexities are an inherent turn-off to students, so who can blame them for looking for more comforting content and ease of use and access?
YouTube is the “fast food of content” and the beauty of it for users is that it provides instant access to limitless, “comfort content” with the user having to do nothing more than virtually point, click and use. Removing any administrative, technical, and pedagogical burdens from e-learning content delivery may just be one of the insights gleaned from the YouTube experience.
Learning Bites and Low Density Content
How many trainers have witnessed (when training was instructor lead) students nodding off? We aren’t quite able to witness the same ‘nodding off’ outcome when training is E-delivered. Even if distance learning students are not nodding off, there are many other distractions that can disrupt longer lessons. When unobserved, students may feel free to multitask with only peripheral attention to an e-learning lesson.
To maintain attention and enhance retention, many trainers have learned (if they are successful) to deliver messages in bite-sized portions, hitting students with many variations of the same theme, instead of beleaguering them with long boring sermons on a single subject. Political campaigners have learned the same thing. Sound bites “stick” while dry, lengthy diatribes and pontifications are rarely absorbed for long if at all.
YouTube has mastered the art of video sound bites as the basis for producing and delivering content. Short, low-density snippets attract YouTube users. Low density means content is highly focused on a single thread. Similarly, learning bites could be repeated in multiple variations. Such low density content is all it takes to find and keep someone’s attention and have them remember what they saw or learned.
Variability and Many Options to Choose From
Each YouTube experience varies significantly, even in the same subjects and venues that users frequently browse. This occurs because content is drawn from a large, diverse population. This diversity allows one to see many things from many vantage points, and, frankly, is the perfect prescription for short attention spans. As trainers—and even students—know from the most primitive rules of learning, repetition works; it works so much better when it is not boring and adds new perspective with each iteration.
When users get bored with a piece of content on YouTube, they have the ability to instantly move on and choose from many other options. Providing avenues of escape might not seem to serve the objectives of training professionals in their quest for stickiness, but students weaving in and out of a training program should be preferable to students completely tuning out content.
Before doubting the power of variability and options, consider how many exist in automobile driving lessons and the modes in which they’re taught. If driver education simply resorted to lectures or just placed kids in a driver’s seat and said “drive”, it would give them a very limited perspective and understanding of what is involved and what they need to learn and understand. Also, think of a driver cutting off other drivers, weaving in and out of traffic at top speeds, and then imagine that a student’s orientation to driving was provided exclusively by that driver.
Creating diversity of options for both the content and modality of delivery (text, video, blended instruction, etc.) for learning provides far greater stickiness than more traditional monolithic methods.
There is a quality of immediate familiarity with most YouTube segments. This familiarity exists, because content providers offer a semi-intimate slice of their own lives, perspectives or even a moment of personal creativity that they wish to share with the world. Such intimacy and familiarity is due largely to the informality of both the content and the ease-of-use and access environment provided by YouTube.
Content on YouTube comes from virtually anyone and anywhere on almost any subject. The “authors” only don’t always put great effort into their productions, and yet most of the material is highly informal and generally feels good. On YouTube we peer into someone else’s life or perspective at will and most of us enjoy it immensely because it is intimate, familiar, and informal.
The appeal of this electronic version of informality and learning intimacy is little different from the college experience, as students go from formal lectures with hundreds of students to small seminars and even workshops where everyone is on a first name basis. These small, intimate, informal learning forums are the ones that have a long term impact and stick with someone decades later. Psych 101, Eco 101, PolySci 101, and other lectures with over a thousand other students tend to be a blur. So why wouldn’t the same informal conditions help someone e-learn what someone else has to e-teach?
Some training websites have embraced many of these YouTube attributes:
LatitudeU (www.latitudeu.com): Free, open public exchange of diverse content and knowledge.
CWERTY (www.cwerty.com): Inexpensive Executive Presentations from top business execs.
Google’s KNOL ( http://www.google.knol.com )
Apple’s I-Pod e-learning ( http://www.apple.com )
E-Learning for Kids (www.e-learningforkids.org): Free content and training materials for kids, educators and parents.
Ehow (www.ehow.com) is a great example of free “how to” content for consumers.
The YouTube phenomenon and the attributes described are not new. They have existed in various forms of public communications from radio to TV to the advent of cable and satellite TV, where users can pick from hundreds of content options. While academicians can argue about the pedagogical virtues of these media as constructive learning environments, there is no argument that their appeal is potent. The YouTube model applied to training and learning is simply the next generation of electronic media being the glue for achieving effective transfer and acceptance of knowledge.
Perhaps a powerful bit of evidence that a YouTube-type model works is the recent Democratic Debate “powered by” YouTube. The debate forum reflected the public’s YouTube expressed desires to be educated by the candidates about themselves and the issues they (the public) care about most.
This article does not suggest in any way that all systems that support training and learning should push content through a YouTube model. Not all subject matter is applicable to such a model. (Who would want their cardiologist to have studied at YouTubeU?) What it does suggest is that training professionals all keep one eye on the YouTube playbook as they provide content, learning systems, and training services and embrace these YouTube attributes wherever applicable. Each of us has a lot to learn, many have things to teach and all can learn from the YouTube model how to improve teaching and learning in many areas and make it stick.
Dave Burta is a senior consultant for Latitude Consulting Group, a Michigan-based e-business consultancy. Burta is also the project manager for latutideU.com – Latitude’s peer-to-peer e-learning portal. Prior to joining Latitude Burta served for 12 years as president of ProVent associates, a business consulting and training organization for information technology services companies. Over that span Burta coached and trained more than 5,000 consulting and information technology professionals.
Great ideas! I would also add diversity training to the list. Workplaces have become so fragmented that finding common ground among employees and managers is more critical than ever for companies, and especially their bottom line!
Training is the first thing you should fight to keep on the budget in a tight economy. Training improves employee loyalty and keeps employees engaged in the company. It helps you hang onto the key people who contribute the most to the bottom line.
If you think your company can’t afford it try looking for less expensive alternatives to how you’re currently training employees. Simple changes like moving training in-house and online programs will eliminate the travel expenses you once paid. Before throwing training out the window, get creative and find less expensive options.
Thanks for sharing. Training can transfer very good information and let the org do better.
why not to concider Action Learning? Most of hte time this would not result in increased spending but may provide a greate learning opportunity for all employees?
Shelley Moore says
Technology can help assist in tracking all of the topics you mentioned. Employee performance, role definitions, company goals, compensation management, and more can all be monitored through several software systems. The use of these software solutions will help track business processes more effectively and efficiently and align employees with the overall company expectations.
Technology has made our world easier in more ways we can imagine. But the problem is it evolves quite so fast. Training your employees will definitely benefit you on the long run. As nothing beats a well oiled machine than a great personnel.Thanks for a great share!