The belief that training is a panacea that is bound to succeed is a myth that needs to be dispelled if one is to avoid serious business consequences. The Association for Talent Development reported that 95% of participants enjoyed the training, but only 37% resulted in participants learning. Whereas only 13% reached a level where participants applied what they learned, and merely 3% of training reached a level where the organization felt an impact. A failed training wastes precious resources, time and effort, opportunity costs, etc., all leading to long-term repercussions on business goals. Like all HR interventions, training requires careful thought and planning in the absence of which failure and suboptimal outcomes will accrue.
A training failure may be said to have occurred when-
For training to be successful and effective, a systematic approach that avoids pitfalls is required. Some of the common problems that can lead to training failure and suggested remedies to overcome them are listed below:
Not Doing the Groundwork—not getting a grip on the means and ends and proceeding with training without fully comprehending the various elements is a major pitfall. Purpose and objectives, knowledge about the trainee set, how, where, when, whom, and to what end must be mapped out.
Start with baseline analysis. Get all the data in place. Work out the logistics. Get all stakeholders on board. Set goals and objectives. Match resources. Use feedback from any previous training: prepare, iterate, prepare.
Setting Unreasonable/Over Ambitious Targets— Goals and objectives must be realistic and achievable. There is no need to go overboard. A focused approach will give better dividends. For example, the working of a new machine on the shop floor is required to be taught to the line workers. It will not help if the session contains the history of the machine, how and where it was manufactured, how it was brought to the factory, how it was installed, and what it costs, etc. Such extraneous factors clutter the minds of the learners when all that is required are functional skills or the steps to operate the machine, the expected output, inputs on troubleshooting, and how it will make the work easier and contribute to their productivity.
A pertinent and relevant lesson will be successful rather than an all-at-one-go approach. Choose goals and match content with care. Set achievable goals, keeping the needs of the trainees and training purpose in mind. Stick to specifics.
Theorizing with little/no practical. Teaching theory alone is not conducive to learning. Teaching practical application is a must. The learners must experience how the knowledge can be applied. Otherwise, it will not be retained, and the training will fail.
ourses should have a balance of theory and their real-life application. This will engage the learners, and the knowledge will be internalized. Using videos and real work situation case studies or hands-on experience, where feasible, will mark the teaching for success.
Uninspiring content—Boring, monotonous, talking head delivery, text only, cognitive overload, etc., make learning a chore leading to poor outcomes.
Provide engaging content with extensive use of rich interactive media. Participants must experience involvement and interaction. Give information in nugget forms or small chunks and key takeaways, avoiding cognitive overload. Collaborative tools and gamification must be made an integral part of the training.
Improper closing out—like the start is preceded by comprehensive planning and preparation, the closing and conclusion are equally important. Post-training evaluation, if not done properly, will not throw up action points for future training, nor will it reveal insights on training’s success or failure.
Performance and data analysis are a must for closing the success loop. Information obtained from this exercise empowers training efforts to make it more effective for all stakeholders. Shortcomings, mistakes, plus points, learner feedback, etc. all give meaningful inputs to strengthen learning strategy. The probability of failing gets drastically reduced when the post-training information is adequately applied.
The above set of problems/mitigants should be supplemented by consciously and strategically creating a culture of learning within the enterprise. This goes a long way in preventing failure. The Association for Talent Development defines a culture of learning as "an organizational culture in which employees continuously seek, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance." Top management and senior leaders should frequently drive home the importance of training amongst their workforce and focus on the developmental advantages that the learners will gain.
In sum, to avoid training failures, the above problem areas need to be carefully attended to. A 360° view and understanding of all learning aspects will ensure success. The use of technology is vital and can help immensely. Data collection and analytics will supplement and support informed decisions and planning. User experience and content delivery are crucial elements in learner engagement and participation. A rich content offering with multimedia use- videos, interactive and collaborative exercises, forums, discussion boards, live webinars, infographics, data visualization, social learning, gamification, real-life linkages, simulation, etc. - enable a great immersive experience for the learner.
At Gyrus, we design, curate, and manage all types of learning activities. Our industry awarded technological tools will give an edge to your training efforts, overcome the above type of mistakes, and put you on the road to success. Please feel free to reach out to us.