What Workers Want

20140910What2“On-site training tops the lists of what workers want, according to a recent survey of office workers and HR managers. More than one-third of those surveyed say that in-house, instructor-led workshops are the type of professional training they value most.”

OfficeTeam – a division of Robert Half – conducted the survey, which was featured in ATD’s magazine (http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2013/10/Intelligence-What-Workers-Want)

The findings call into question the trend companies are taking in providing access to more online training, choosing to replace their face-to-face training with eLearning courses.

As a training design geek (and an old one at that), I’ve had a lot of experience in designing and developing all sorts of training. In fact, my first job outside of elementary school teaching was designing and developing computer-based training (CBT) for a computer company. I even published papers and articles on designing and developing CBT and later WBT (when the internet transformed the delivery of CBT). So it’s not that I’m a luddite and against self-paced online learning. It’s just that I’ve been around long enough to know that self-paced online learning requires a motivation and tolerance that is fairly unique: to be successful, the learner must be self-motivated and learn effectively in relative isolation.

While most of the programs we create for clients have self-paced components to them, the bulk of the training we create is designed for face-to-face classroom instruction. The reasons are simple:

Much of the training we create is “mandatory”; employees are required to attend and – for some – their motivation to participate is … shall we say … significantly wanting. A skilled facilitator can often change the attitude of those participants or, at the very least, get them to pay attention.

The client sees – and leverages – the benefits of the face-to-face connection:

  • Participants can network with their peers, sometimes from different functions in the organization. This builds cross-functional awareness and appreciation.
  • Adjustments to the training can be made quickly. A skilled facilitator can see and sense when the class is struggling. While you can design a modicum of this sensing into an eLearning module, it takes a lot of sophisticated programming AND a hefty price!
  • Participants see others struggling as they are. This helps overcome the fear of failure. Likewise, when a participant helps her classmate overcome a challenge, confidence increases.
  • Participants get insights and feedback from their peers. This builds their network.
  • Important non-training elements can take advantage of the face-to-face time. For example, most of our leadership development programs include a dinner with an executive who shares personal stories about “how I developed as a leader” or “what it means to lead here at XYZ Corporation.”

Read more valuable leadership and management-related articles in this month’s Unleash Your Leadership Potential newsletter…

September 2014

Author: STEP Consulting