Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds My name’s Anna Chapman. I’m an independent organisation development specialist and coach. I’ve been running my business for just over two and a half years. I’m working with a range of clients to support them with learning and development projects for their staff, team development, leadership and management development and coaching. Training is so important because it’s the way that people can acquire the fundamental skills and knowledge that they need to be able to do something. So, there’s many different forms that training can take place. It can be attending a workshop in a classroom type setting, it could be working with an expert in a particular skill or competence, it could be having some shadowing. But I just think it’s that…
Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds a way that people can acquire the essential skills and knowledge that they need for their role.
Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds So, obviously I’m going to say no because training is part of what I do and part of I love. But I think it can be a waste of time and money. And I think it’s very easy to organise and run training that actually doesn’t have any value or any impact or benefit to the individual or the organisation. So, I think where training is done as a stand-alone activity and then the skills or the learning isn’t reviewed and followed up by the learner’s manager or by someone else in their organisation so that what they’ve learned is forgotten or they don’t have the opportunity to put it into practice.
Skip to 2 minutes and 1 second Then I think that’s when it can be a waste of time and money.
Skip to 2 minutes and 12 seconds Training is sometimes used as a quick fix. So, a manager might spot a problem with a member of staff or the team. And I think an easy route is to say let’s get some training, let’s have some training to address that problem. But in my experience training is often used as a sticking plaster. And it doesn’t address the real problem. So where training is used to try and provide a solution but it isn’t really, I think that’s the danger. I also think another reason why training can be a waste of time and money is because of time itself.
Skip to 2 minutes and 53 seconds So, people can attend the training or take part in the training and then they get back to the workplace and it’s so busy and so hectic that there isn’t the time or opportunity for them to embed or practise what they’ve learned, and managers are very short of time and don’t have the time to sit down with their employees and say what did you learn. How are you going to put that into practice? What are you going to do differently?
Stage 3: deliver training
This stage of the cycle pertains to the delivery of the actual training programme, in line with the training design.
Watch the above video in which Anna Chapman, an independent organisation development specialist and coach, discusses why training is so important for development and when it can just be a waste of time.
The flow of the training needs consideration to ensure that information is sequenced appropriately. For example, training in hairdressing would require the theoretical knowledge before the practical application. Therefore, the flow of information would first cover the necessary theory, which can then be applied to practice and feedback opportunities (as discussed in the previous step).
The choice of training methods will have been ascertained in the training design stage, dependent upon the training needs analysis. It is important to plan how the training will be delivered. For example, if there is a mixture of learning styles, multiple methods may be required such as role plays and lectures.
To ensure that the trainee has an understanding of the planned content, the training should have clear learning objectives. Explanations of how the content of the training programmes meet the trainee objectives also need to be explained (Steptoe-Warren 2013).
A consideration of the time allocated to the training is also needed. Trainers need to manage the time throughout the programme well, ensuring that all necessary tasks are completed in order to meet the objectives, as well as allowing time to respond fully to trainees’ needs on the day.
Both in the planning and delivery stages, questions should be asked as to whether the time allocated is sufficient to cover all the training material in enough breadth and depth to meet the individual’s learning needs. The trainer also needs to consider the diverse needs of the learner including race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age and educational ability.
Considering these factors at the outset ensures the learner is provided with the best learning environment. However, other factors need to be understood as being critical to an individual’s learning. These factors include the importance of practice.
Have you ever attended training that is very information-heavy, with very little opportunity for you to practise new skills? How do you think this impacted upon the effectiveness of the training?
Earlier, we saw that one of the laws of learning (Thorndike 1932) is ‘exercise’, meaning practice. The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ has some evidence in research, which has shown that the more an individual practises a skill, the better they will perform. In a review of literature on practice, instruction and skill acquisition in football (soccer), Williams and Hodges (2005) found that practice plays an important role in the acquisition of skill.
Although practice is important, the feedback on practice is also key to performing well. Feedback allows individuals to improve their performance or change their behaviour. A synthesis of more than 500 meta-analyses by Hattie (1999), representing 20–30 million students, found feedback to be important in the student learning experience. In the absence of feedback, individuals tend to assume they are doing well and therefore do not make adjustments that may be necessary.
Feedback is paramount as it identifies areas that need improvement and allows for changes to be made to improve performance. Feedback is also important as, when positive, it reinforces self-image and may motivate the individual to try harder. However, feedback should be timely so that individuals can apply the feedback to the tasks just completed and understand how to move forward.
With training delivery in mind, think back to a training experience you’ve had that you particularly enjoyed at the time. In your opinion, what made the training delivery enjoyable and engaging?
How do your impressions relate to the principles of training design that we have examined so far?
Hattie, J. A. (1999) ‘Influences on Student Learning’ [online] available from https://cdn.auckland.ac.nz/assets/education/about/research/documents/influences-on-student-learning.pdf [30 July 2019]
Steptoe-Warren, G. (2013) Occupational Psychology: An Applied Approach. 1st edn. Harlow: Pearson Education [online] available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/ [5 August 2019]
Thorndike, E. L. (1932) The Fundamentals of Learning. New York: Teachers College Press
Williams, A. M., and Hodges, N. J. (2005) ‘Practice, Instruction and Skill Acquisition in Soccer: Challenging Tradition’. Journal of Sports Sciences [online] 23 (6), 637–650. available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/permalink/f/1ea4mrv/TN_informaworld_s10_1080_02640410400021328 [5 August 2019]