With billions of dollars spend every year on professional development and training, how much really sticks? We have all heard the comments “the training was awesome” and then very little changes. Or how many have attended programs where half the participants didn’t want to be there and the other half didn’t know why they were? Part of the challenge is with the way many training programs are delivered. And even if the content is rich, if nothing changes as a result, what’s the point?
Added to this is the fact that more and more training is being conducted online with cost and time being the major drivers behind this. This makes sense up to a point but cheap and quick are not necessarily the best ways to learn. In some respects many might think it’s almost the opposite of the college system; too expensive and too long. So where does the answer lie? Inevitably, as with most situations, the answer lies somewhere in between. Here are the 5 Key Tips for ensuring an optimum learning experience.
Blended learning has become somewhat of a buzz word recently and is certainly a positive move in terms of utilizing traditional classroom with online / technology. But varied learning extends beyond this in terms of the importance of striking the balance with lecture, discussion, role play, activities, visuals, one on one coaching, all of which should be designed to ensure maximum engagement.
The teachers are the voice of the program and are still the anchors of any developmental experience. They must be knowledgeable, possess the effective communications skills and be able to flex to meet the needs of various learning styles. People are auditory, visual or kinesthetic and good trainers have the ability to mix up how they communicate to ensure all needs are met.
It is critically important that a new skill be followed by practice. This is as applicable with professional development as it is with sports. This could be some form of classroom activity, a peer work outside the class or a project. Make it something that ensures the applicability of what has been learned is being transferred back into their real world situation. Learning + Practice = Doing (and perfecting).
Accountability / Integration
Unless somebody holds us accountable to getting tasks completed, in most instances, it does not get done and the integration of the learning never happens. Having people submit logs of completion, doing exams or presenting projects are needed to ensure people realize the importance of what they are learning and that tasks get completed. Consequently the learning becomes imbedded and the ease of application becomes more doable. Then and only then does the impact become realized and the return on investment achieved.