The Necessity of Training Systems (Instead of Training Sessions)
In my daily business, one major mistake I see many HR leaders and executives do (and that could be one of your advantages if you use this knowledge), is this: They rather invest in single training measures, (that can be labelled all kind of things like coaching, feedback, or knowledge facilitation session) than to think strategically and systematically about their skill development. We take a look of that can be different, here.
The limitations of standalone training sessions
Standalone training sessions may appear effective on the surface. They provide an immediate sense of accomplishment, both for the organizers and the attendees. However, their limitations are not trivial:
The decay of information retention is astonishingly rapid; estimates suggest that 70% of information is forgotten within 24 hours.
The enthusiasm for applying new knowledge dwindles fast, especially without a structure for implementation.
The absence of follow-up mechanisms renders it difficult to measure the efficacy and ROI of these sessions.
In other words, single training measures, if at all, amount to covering up larger knowledge wounds as bandaids. Such limitations prompt us to look beyond individual training sessions and advocate for a more systemic approach.
The 4 value pillars behind Training Systems
A Training System is not a mere aggregation of training sessions, but a strategic continuum of learning. Here’s what makes them an imperative:
Pillar #1 - Sustained Engagement: The ongoing nature of a training system ensures a consistent and continual development of skills, adapting as the business landscape evolves.
Pillar #2 - Accountability and Metrics: Structured training systems allow for the continuous measurement of performance metrics and KPIs, facilitating strategic adjustments based on data-driven insights.
Pillar #3 - Personalized Learning Paths: Training Systems offer the flexibility to adapt to individual learning needs, creating a more tailored and thus more effective (and enjoyable) learning experience.
Pillar #4 - Practical Applicability: Training becomes genuinely effective when it moves from theory to practice. Systems enable real-world application, converting your workforce into a laboratory of constant improvement.
"Achivement rather than knowledge remains both the proof and aim of management." Peter Drucker
Initiating a transformation towards Training Systems
If you find merit in pivoting to a systemic approach, here are steps to guide the transition:
Step #1: Commence with a pilot program
Transformation needn't be abrupt. Begin with a small, scalable program and expand as you glean insights into its efficacy. This is vital - there are always great lessons in pilots.
Step #2: Introduce gamification elements wisely
While making the learning process engaging is crucial, ensure the gamification aligns with your organizational ethos, your culture, and the sophistication expected in professional development.
Step #3: Institute periodic reviews
Regular assessments serve dual purposes: they update the learning material to keep it current and also identify areas for improvement in both content and methodology.
Step #4: Executive commitment is non-negotiable
A systemic change of this nature requires an organizational commitment, starting from the top-tier leadership. A well-presented case, highlighting the ROI and long-term benefits, can secure the necessary resources and attention. If this piece is missing, the failure of any Training System is highly likely.
In sum, the debate between training sessions and training systems isn’t merely academic. It speaks to the very core of how organizations should approach learning and development in an era of relentless change. The implementation of a Training System isn't just an operational shift; it's a strategic imperative.
About the author:
Marc Breetzke, M.A., M.A. is the founder of MB Inspirations and Europe's leading strategy expert. He works as a consultant, trainer, coach, speaker, and lecturer all over the world for large, international businesses (e.g. Fortune 500) and leaders. He studied Strategic Communications in Germany and in the United States. Today, he operates
from his head-office in Stuttgart, Germany.