Corporate Training Myths and Facts

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Performance Problem 2. Training Isn't Big Picture 3. Learners Get It 4. More of the Same MYTHS & FACTS 5. Don't Mess Up 6. Field of Dreams 7. No One Can Understand Us

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Click the “tweet” button above to tweet the information on each slide

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TWEET THIS MYTH 1: PERFORMANCE PROBLEM If there’s a performance problem, training must be the solution. PERFORMANCE PROBLEM CURE

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TWEET THIS FACT 1: Performance can be affected by many things, and you don’t know if training is the solution PERFORMANCE PROBLEM CURE until you analyze the problem.

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Think about companies you’ve worked in. Could every performance problem be traced back to lack of information or poor training? Or were there other issues not being addressed? It’s too easy to assume bad or insufficient training is the root of our performance problems. However, poor management, employee conflicts or an inefficient process can have just as big an impact on performance. Take the time to research the problem before designing the solution.

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Maybe training will be the answer to your problem. Maybe it won’t. But you won’t know until you research and analyze the true origin of the performance issues. LEARN MORE: Not sure if training is the answer? Check out Cathy Moore’s flowchart to help you make that decision.

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TWEET THIS FACT 2: Good training impacts your entire organization, from employees to stakeholders to customers. EMPLOYEES ONLY When only employees complete a training course, it’s easy to see why some people believe only employees are affected by training. The most immediate impact is on the learners. However, they’re not the only people impacted.

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You can’t control your customers, but your employees influence them greatly. Educating, empowering and engaging employees is the foundation to a good customer experience, no matter what industry you’re in. According to a Harvard Business Review report, companies who make engagement a priority rate employee engagement as having “considerable impact” on customer satisfaction. With a strong training program, you can help employees understand how each person makes a difference for the company. When they understand their roles, your employees are better equipped to do their jobs and create a great experience for customers.

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In short, when people perform better and enjoy their jobs more, they create a positive impact on the entire organization. Don’t assume training impacts only the learner. Instead, the impact is felt throughout an organization, and by everyone who interacts with your company. LEARN MORE: TalentSpace Blog put together a great rundown of the financial impact of having engaged employees. See how much not investing in training could be costing your company.

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TWEET THIS MYTH 3: LEARNERS GET IT Learners intuitively know how to make the most of training. WORRY FREE ONE-TIME USE

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TWEET THIS FACT 3: Learners understand content differently based on past experience, prior knowledge, WORRY FREE ONE-TIME USE motivation, critical thinking skills and preparedness.

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People’s ability to grasp new ideas or concepts varies, and many factors can affect how well your learners are going to be able to implement training. Past experience, existing skill sets, motivation or critical thinking abilities can all influence how your audience understands and integrates your training. It does not mean your training was ineffective if learners need extra performance support, such as scenarios, mentoring or explicit goals to make connections between training and on-the-job skills.

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To get the best result, identify your learners’ problems and develop strategies to help them make the most of your training. For example, you may need to explain exactly how the courses build skills. For a less experienced employee, coaching or scenarios may help connect training and real-life applications. Be prepared to help your learners succeed—your organization will enjoy the benefits. LEARN MORE: The Indiana University Bloomington’s instructional design site underlines the importance of helping learners understand key information. “When something is meaningfully understood, it is retained much longer, can be built upon to acquire further understanding, is usually very versatile in the situations and ways it can be used, and facilitates creativity.”

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TWEET THIS MYTH 4: MORE OF THE SAME We shouldn’t give learners control of their training ORIGINAL

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TWEET THIS FACT 4: You don’t need to fight engaging design for the sake of tradition. ORIGINAL

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Why not make training engaging and familiar for your learners? For a long time, instructional designers forced old-school training methods into new technology. They insisted that training couldn’t scroll or that learners shouldn’t control their journey through the information. But now your learners understand the web, and training has caught up to technology. Why limit yourself and your learners when you don’t have the same tech restraints on videos, simulations, scrolling and usercontrolled environments?

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And by holding onto old ways of instructional design, you restrict your creativity. For example, to design in HTML5, you must allow learners to interact with the page by clicking and scrolling. If you choose to limit learners’ interactivity, you miss out on opportunities for responsive design that HTML5 offers. Or if you don’t think learners should scroll, you could be fragmenting information that is better grouped together. It’s time to stop fighting the technology people know and make it work for you. Embrace engaging design principles to improve your training design by making it more intuitive for learners. By working with what your learners are used to, you remove learning barriers and strengthen retention. LEARN MORE: AllenComm Chief Learning Officer Michael Noble outlines his thoughts on how to make web-based training more engaging.

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TWEET THIS MYTH 5: DON’T MESS UP Don’t let learners make mistakes because it will demoralize them. THE ART OF TRUTH TELLING

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TWEET THIS FACT 5: Mistakes can be valuable learning experiences. THE ART OF TRUTH TELLING

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No one likes to fail all the time, but if your learners have opportunities to succeed it’s okay to let them fail sometimes. In fact, as Rita Gunther McGrath, Columbia Business School professor, points out, there is no way to avoid failure, and organizations who teach employees how to deal with and learn from failure are stronger and more innovative. Allowing people to make mistakes lets them find a better way, and form stronger connections between information and actions.

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There’s also a good business reason to show people it is okay to fail. If you expect zero mistakes from people, you also get zero innovation. Innovation requires experimentation, which includes failure. By communicating in your training materials that it’s more important to work toward the best answer than to be safe on the first try, you encourage creativity and innovation. Help your learners understand how to work through failure, and you’ll build a stronger company. LEARN MORE: In his book Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization, Edward Hess helps companies overcome the fear of mistakes so they can create a better learning culture. In an interview with the Columbia University Press blog, he says, “Mistakes and failures are a necessary part of innovation, experimentation and learning. Most learning comes from mistakes—fixing things or trying things and learning by iteration.”

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TWEET THIS MYTH 6: FIELD OF DREAMS... If you build it, they will come. ORIGINAL

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TWEET THIS FACT 6: You need to market your training programs to your learners. ORIGINAL No matter how good your training is, you need to let your learners know that it’s there. The right communication plan builds engagement with your training course and motivates people to participate. In many companies a simple email or intranet notification isn’t enough. You put a lot of time and effort into creating something awesome, so make a little noise!

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HP is a great example of how to market training. HP loved the net promoter score game they were launching, but they knew their large voluntary audience would need an incentive to check it out. HP launched an intense internal marketing campaign to foster competition within their teams. They sent out emails to supervisors and managers each week with the scores of each team, a list of the team members who had not yet completed the training and incentives for full team participation and teams with the best scores. With this strategy, they reached more than 250,000 voluntary completions.

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Even with a mandatory program, you should help people understand the value of training. The right communication plan lays the foundation for a more successful course. Communicating and marketing to learners about the importance of the training helps overcome the bias some learners have against training. LEARN MORE: Listen to the Building Better Training podcast to find out how marketing and training are converging and why they should be working together even more.

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TWEET THIS MYTH 7: NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND US We could never have a vendor help with our training because our business is too hard to understand. MAGIC ELIXIR

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TWEET THIS FACT 7: Good vendors have proven processes to marry your expertise with adult learning principles and best practices. MAGIC ELIXIR Nobody wants to invest time and money creating training that doesn’t meet its goals. But the truth is that a high-quality vendor will know how to get the information needed from your experts and package it into a training curriculum that creates results.

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By using the right processes, your vendor can transform highly technical information into a format that makes sense to your learners and targets your goals. By analyzing your pain points and objectives, your vendor can identify need-to-know information and extract it from your experts. Then the vendor’s consultants conduct extensive questioning to make sure they understand the content. Your subject matter experts’ involvement doesn’t end there. Effective vendors will engage experts throughout the process to ensure your content is accurate and on brand.

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Training and development vendors have decades of instructional design knowledge and experience in building high-impact training. An experienced vendor will know how to engage subject matter experts to minimize time and maximize impact. So go ahead and look for a vendor to help you take that complex information and put it in the right format for your goals. Good training can change your company and boost the bottom line. Training isn’t a magic cure, but with the right planning and a good strategy you can boost employee engagement and transform your organization. Ready to start? Talk to AllenComm today about your business problem and see how we can create a program to meet your goals.

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Looking For Guidance on How To Implement The Right Training Strategy For Your Organization? Contact one of our training experts today. CONTACT US

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