I love working on cars. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment after changing my own brake pads and rotors, or the satisfaction of putting new oil in my car. Or it could just be the fact that I no longer pay north of $60 for a synthetic oil change at the local mechanic’s.
But before I got into working on my own car, I was somewhat naïve on the inner workings of those magnificent mechanical horseless carriages. As a youngster, I asked my dad how they worked, and he verbally described in exact detail the process of an Otto cycle internal combustion engine. My head was swimming: you could have beckoned me over and whispered in my ear in total confidence that my car was powered by a small, little gnome named Gerald in an oversized hamster cage that was coupled to the driveshaft. And my eyes would have opened wide in understanding as I exclaimed, “this explains everything!” And I would have happily caromed down Lombardy Street in San Francisco, a la Steve McQueen in Bullitt, hollering, “GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT, GERALD!”
But instead of continuing on my path of blissful ignorance and taking my car to the mechanic with the complaint of “Gerald’s tired all the time!” I decided to read about my car’s make and model and increase my knowledge so that I make minor repairs myself.
Reading wasn’t enough, so I would seek out videos on the internet, pictures of parts, and examine my own car so that I wouldn’t make a fatal error and require a new Gerald. Engine. I meant require a new engine.
The point is that I sought out different types of materials in different mediums: print, discussion forums, tech manuals, pictures, and videos. And I was certainly better for it. How many of us have had to sit through PowerPoint presentations, and thought a picture would work better, or watched a training video and wanted the steps and instructions written down?
Learning occurs a lot of different ways. Most companies realize this, and are moving towards providing their employees with different training methods and different training media to increase the amount of learning. If you’re not satisfied with overall training outcomes, try examining your delivery method and see if you can’t present it in a different way, or couple it with a visual or collaborative portion.
Besides, the last thing you want to see is one of your employees go up to your VP when they finish parking their Corvette in the morning and ask, “So how many Geralds does this baby have?”