A friend recently attended a training that was refreshed based
on new policy and handed to a new team who inherited it from another team. This
new team decided to take a new approach to the training because they were making
changes anyway. I like this approach to revamping training if you have an opportunity to make changes when you have
the files open, take it!
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always go as expected. Luckily, when training goes poorly, my friends ALWAYS tell me. Instead of a great training experience, the majority of the class time was spent with the participants correcting the facilitator’s out-of-date or misinformation. Let’s break down what went wrong with this training, so we don’t make the same mistakes.
Content is King
While we may not be the content experts, our materials guide
us. The task of this training team was to update the content consistently across
the new policy books. They became so focused on the new interactions and cool
new training that due diligence was left out. It doesn’t matter if you are
teaching pilots how to fly or philanthropists how to engage, content must be rigorously
The first time the class corrected the errant information, they
chalked it up to a mistake. As the day went on, the frustration grew, and eventually, it was not a good learning
environment. To put it bluntly, they checked out.
Pilot all Training
Skipping steps in the design process is always tempting, especially when it is just an update. I regret skipping steps every single time. My team is pretty awesome at reminding me of this when I get in a hurry because this is one of those steps that is tempting to skip. By adding a small pilot with a few subject matter experts, this team could have easily identified the gaps in content before presenting. By putting the pressure on themselves to be the content experts, they gave themselves blind spots and set-up points of failure.
Do pilots take time and cost money? Sure.
Is that better than a course failing in front of a bunch of participants
who are taking time away from their jobs and family? Absolutely!
First, I really don’t like that term, but it is industry
jargon and I don’t know how to kill it (pun intended). When a project goes
poorly, or well, sit down with the team and reflect on why things went the way they did. Start with what went well, then
discuss what could be improved next time. Never place blame, and always walk
away with an action plan.
What else could this
team have done to prevent this issue? Where have you seen training like this breakdown? Let’s keep this
conversation going in the comments below!