Training has been proven to be the basis for improvement in all areas of industry. Companies, whether based in education, business, government, etc., are only as successful as the professional development their employees receive. While preparation is important, it is ongoing improvement that breeds continued success for the individual as well as the employer. In truth, many industries consider continued professional development to be an obligation for the practicing professional.
With so much expectation given to professional development, it is imperative that companies and schools “get it right.” So how do you ensure that your company or school is developing its employees professionally? How does your training team provide learning experiences that are relevant, replicable, and ultimately meaningful?
Typical Attitude Toward Training:
"Whenever I attend professional development sessions at my school I feel like I am either wasting away my life, serving a mandatory bid of servitude, or dying a very slow and tortuous death.” – Randy, Author/Educator
Sound familiar? Feel familiar?
Try having your employees take this poll,
Which percentage most closely describes your agreement with the above quote?
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably do not need to deliver this poll to know that training and various activities designed under the guise of teaching, learning, and developing your employees are probably NOT their favorite things about work…but they CAN be!
Designing trainings that provide information that is relevant and replicable ensures that companies and schools continue to perform optimally. When relevant information is the focus and solutions can be replicated, trainees have a greater chance of meeting performance expectations. When performance expectations are met, achievement and profit goals are sure to follow.
"Learning [Leadership] begins with sharing a vision with many people in numerous communities from diverse walks of life.” (Barash 2016)
To solve this ever-present issue, we will need to take a page from the medical journals:
In 2003, Dr. Sanjeev Arora founded PROJECT ECHO, a response to the frustrations caused by not being able to spread his expertise far enough. Being one of the only disease specialist in New Mexico, Dr. Arora designed a learning (teaching, training, professional development) model that allowed him the ability to share his knowledge with other doctors throughout his state and abroad. In an effort to serve patients outside his circle, Dr. Arora’s PROJECT ECHO, gathers primary care physicians together virtually to share information about their patients and gain invaluable insight from specialist they may not otherwise have access to. In essence, a patient living hundreds or even thousands of miles away from Dr. Arora is still able to benefit from his advice, wisdom, and experience. Everyone in the session leaves knowing more and being able to apply this knowledge immediately. Now that’s what you call “meaningful training.”
Dr. Arora’s vision for virtually developing diverse professionals from various communities, connecting experts and novices, to discuss real time concerns related to the profession, gain insight, next steps, and solutions, is the embodiment of meaningful training.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Designing meaningful trainings starts with 3 things:
1. Understand the audience. (WHO)
How effective is a cookie-cutter training program? Not at all. In order to meet the needs of your company your training needs to reflect who your employees need to be in order for your company to be who it is. For example, if your brand message is that your company is hip, stylish, and fresh, your training content and delivery should also reflect this message. Even your company’s training design should be “on brand/message.”
2. Understand the need. (WHAT and WHY)
If every student in the 10th grade was failing British Literature, every British Literature teacher and the department head should receive training…but in what? An analysis of data as well as personal interviews need to be conducted in order to pinpoint the issue and either find or design the proper professional development approach. In order to be effective, trainings need to reflect the current daily challenges of the job. Today’s challenges, if gone un-checked, will become tomorrow’s problem.
3. Understand how people best learn. (HOW, WHERE, and WHEN)
Correction, that point should read, “Understand effective content delivery methods,” but that sounds complicated. Basically, you need to determine the best way to provide your training. Consider the daily activities and expectations of your employees and be sure to use tools that will enhance, not hinder. Training on the go for a professional constantly in the field is a possible effective method of delivery. For a more traditional office environment, a mentorship program may be an effective approach to training.
“Keep in mind that the majority of development of new skills occurs informally, through collaborative problem-solving and through the learner accessing resources independently.” (Meeker, 2011) A training program that seeks to understand the bigger picture by defining the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the training first, is well on its way towards providing meaningful training.
For more information on how your Edvance360 LMS-SN can assist in your training program please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Barash, David. Tele-Mentoring is Creating Global Communities of Practice in Health Care Harvard Business Review November 22,2016
Miller, Randy The Need for Meaningful Professional Development The Huffington Post September 16,2012
Hassel, E. (1999) Professional development: Learning from the best. Oak Brook, Il: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL)
Meeker, Kelly Why Is Training Important in the Workplace https://www.quora.com/Why-is-training-important-in-the-workplace