Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Deep Does Your Training Go?

As organizations grow, the need for employees to apply new skills become more and more important. As a Training professional, I have seen organizations make attempts to equip their employees but their choice of interventions fail to deliver the desired results. My assessment is that it happens because they often fail to recognize how deep they need to go in training their employees. They choose programs that are limited to cascading information or facilitate appreciation and understanding and not much more.  For some more self-driven learners, knowledge and comprehension is enough. They go the extra mile by taking risk and applying what they learned on their own. It's great if all your employees are as self-driven. In many occasions, however, learners need to build confidence to try a new skill on their own. This means, that they need to be helped until that confidence is built. I made a simple matrix below based on Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Learning.  I hope you find it useful. If you want to start a conversation with me on how to setup your learning program to achieve this, just give me a call.

Learning Levels (Cognitive)
Examples
Sample Method
Considerations
Knowledge
Name parts of a car, repeat steps in driving car, recite traffic rules
Lecture, Presentation, Diagrams, handouts, making learners repeat information
Saying it, doesn't mean they got the needed information. How do you make sure that they are capturing the information you are sharing accurately?
Comprehension
Describe the functions of each part and how combination of actions make the car run or stop, gives correct reason for traffic rules
Interactive demo, Discussion, question and answer, asking participants to describe tasks in their own words
Without checking for understanding, learners will have their own take on what you are saying.  What can you do to make sure that they really comprehend the concept?
Application
Demonstrate starting, running, stopping and other related car driving skills
Allowing learners to do the tasks, correcting and letting them do it repeatedly
Some learners need more than one go to really learn to apply a skill.  Classroom training has limited capacity to do this. What can you do to extend training outside the classroom and build learner confidence to do the task repeatedly?
Analysis
Identify appropriate driving techniques for certain driving situations
Giving learners scenario and allowing them to analyze and supply the needed action
Without a component where the learning activity facilitator coaches the learner, he/she will be at risk of making wrong choices
Synthesis
Negotiate through traffic. Follow traffic rules
Allowing the learners to carry out the tasks in real life situation, giving them the opportunity to use their learning to address the challenge of the task
Real life situations provide learners with opportunity to build confidence in making decisions. If there is no one to act as a coach, the learner will depend on his/her own courage to try out what he/she learned. This is where learning often fizzle out because learners become afraid to try their learning in the real world.
Evaluating
Appraises car condition, can differentiate good driving from bad driving,
Allowing the participants to evaluate their own work or the work of others. Providing feedback on whether they made the right evaluation
Coaching encourages evaluation that helps the learner improve his/her understanding and appreciation of information needed to carry out a task or apply a learning.  This is an important ingredient in the transfer of learning that those responsible for training and learning should consider.  

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Strategy Side of Applying Four-Level Training Evaluation

This article is for HR Practitioners and Managers who cannot be bothered with detailed and nose-bleed-worthy analysis of training evaluation data. This is for those who just want to see if training works as a means to bring change in practices and performance.

The first time I read Kirkpatrick's book, I felt both awed and intimidated. What with all the number crunching required and my un-explainable fear of numbers, I wondered how I can do the important task of tracking down training impact without having to deal with so much numbers. Here's what I did: I came up with a set of hypotheses;
  1. For organizational strategies to work, employees must learn to do their work a certain way
  2.  In order for that to happen, they need to be equipped with needed skills through learning interventions
  3. The training program must be effective enough for them to appreciate it, learn the skills and be compelled to apply it in the workplace.
  4. The program must be designed in such a manner that it is more than a training intervention but a change intervention.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Recruitment - What You are Missing When You Focus on Experience Before Competencies

Let me say the obvious here, experience does not always mean competence. While this is common knowledge, I don't understand why  many hiring managers opt to highlight years of experience as one of the requirements for considering a candidate. I think it's okay if we are only talking of one or two years. But when we talk about 5, 10 or 15, we miss out on people who are capable of developing competence early in their career.

I get it, we look for people with long experience because we have better chance that they've seen and went through enough. They've accomplished much to gain confidence and failed enough times to learn. But all these are presumptions that can be matched by this similar presumption: Younger, less experienced but quick learning candidates, are probably smarter, more creative, ambitious and aggressive in their career. Depending on the situation we can all be both right or wrong.

So, if we can't depend on experience and if stating long years of work as a requirement causes us to miss young but very talented candidates, what can we do? We focus on COMPETENCIES.

Many companies in other countries are beginning to describe the competencies they are looking for in their job postings. We have not reached that level of maturity yet. We still look at degrees and years of work experience. I say we start drawing the needed competencies for each position in the organization and use them to look for talent. When we do this, we both broaden and then narrow our search. We broaden it in the sense that we can start welcoming younger candidates who can prove that they have the competencies we are looking for. We narrow the search because we can already drive away those who do not have the competencies regardless of how long they've worked.

Stay tuned. In the next few days, I'm going to start sharing my experience, in helping organizations develop their competency models.

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