There are ten major reasons why training programs fail. We considered the first five reasons in Tip #1004. We’ll consider the remaining five reasons in this Tip.
- Training content is poor. If no training needs assessment is conducted, it is likely that the training content is not relevant to the participants. It is important that the content is meaningful to the participants and is current, which means the trainer needs to do some research.
- Conduct research to ensure that the content is relevant and up to date.
- Training methods are ineffective. A training program that primarily consists of lecture and death by PowerPoint has been proven to be ineffective. Lecture can only accomplish knowledge, and, without more interactive methods, there is no way to ascertain if the participants have understood and can apply what they’ve been taught. Participants need to participate and interact with their new learning and apply their new skills.
If the trainer doesn’t model assignments or provide clear activity instructions, the participants can easily get confused or frustrated.
- Use a variety of training methods that can achieve at least comprehension or application, keep PowerPoint as a supplement to the training but not the training itself, and make sure to model assignments and provide clear directions.
- Training doesn’t include skill practice. Unless participants have practiced their new skills during the training program to become confident in their new skills, they are highly unlikely to use those skills for the first time in their worksite.
- Provide ample opportunity for participants to practice their new skills and receive timely, constructive feedback to help them improve and build their confidence.
- Training is poorly facilitated. A competent facilitator will begin and end on time, provide hourly breaks, keep one or two participants from dominating discussions, and handle with tact and diplomacy both disagreements and participants who are acting out. It is up to the facilitator to keep the group on task and on time. Otherwise, the participants will get uncomfortable and frustrated.
- Demonstrate effective facilitation techniques that ensure that the agenda is accomplished, all participants have an equal opportunity to speak up, and disruption is handled in a respectful manner. Make sure to give hourly breaks so participants stand up and move around, sending more oxygen to their brains and keeping them alert.
- Training is not reinforced. New learning that is not put into practice immediately and frequently reinforced will be lost. Management has a role to play, but so do the trainers. Prior to the training they can send messages that anticipate what the participants will learn to arouse curiosity. During the training, they can have the participants create action plans and set participants up with an accountability buddy. After the training to keep learning fresh, they can send photos of flip chart or white board work, use microlearning nudges, offer coaching, and/or schedule a follow-up session.
- Accept responsibility to help increase and reinforce new learning by building in activities both before, during and after the training program.
Most of these issues can be avoided if trainers have the skills that enable them to design and facilitate effective results-oriented training programs.
P.S. Laurel and Associates, Ltd. offers a variety of train the trainer programs that teach your trainers what they need to know to avoid these ten issues. Contact Deborah Spring Laurel for more information.
May your learning be sweet,
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