If you are in a rush the answer is
Focus on the outcome, and then design your training to deliver the result.
For those with a little more time…
Let’s start with a question: What makes a car more effective?
- Better fuel economy?
- Improved handling?
- Higher brake horse-power?
- More cup holders?
How about making training more effective?
- Is it better learning from the participants?
- Great trainers and facilitators?
- Easy to implement the changes when back to work?
- Higher levels of competence?
- More fun exercises?
Let’s extend the analogy a little further.
The main purpose of a car is to get you from A to B.
- You need to be safe.
- You don’t want to break down
- You want to want to enjoy the experience.
It is not that different with training.
The main purpose is to move individual and organisational performance from A to B.
However risk, reliability and the quality of the experience are also factors.
The key we find is to be clear both where A is and B is.
Often if trainers don’t have a really clear and well-formed outcome and we start to get scope creep.
Both client and trainer need a clear, agreed and worthwhile result in mind.
They can then engineer the training to deliver that result.
Fair to say though, that in many cases there may be more than one desired outcome.
- Better performance against a key business target
- Plus embedding transferable knowledge and skills that will help deliver sustained performance over time.
The latter may be harder to measure but is no less important.
Having a clear outcome is an absolute pre-requisite for making your training more effective in the same way that you should know your destination before you start your journey.
That way “Success in the moment” connects the learning to transferable skills that people are motivated to apply.
This leads to techniques like ‘real play’ simulations rather than mythical role plays real work problem solving, live case studies, action planning, post-event objectives, assignments, follow-up days, and all those things that help people work out how to harness their learning and use it in the real world….
Keeping the end result in your sights also brings into focus the need to give as much attention to what happens afterwards back in the workplace, like building line manager commitment, as we give to the event itself.
That said, the quality of the whole experience is important.
Research shows that great delivery from someone with experience and credibility is the most important factor.
The skill is in eliciting the real gems, in getting them to stick and in winning commitment to an idea, not just tell people about it.
The richness of the design, the tailoring of the content and the venue are also important (as anyone who has worked in a room that is too hot/cold will know).
In fact attention to all the detail is what is needed if you want to really lift a programme from mediocre to excellent.
Car manufacturers do put in cup holders for a reason: the niceties matter too.
I hope that you appreciate us sharing our views with you and that the suggestions have given you food for thought and action..
Give us your thoughts too firstname.lastname@example.org