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 by FernandoLins.com

by FernandoLins.com

This is a very popular discussion question.  It goes along with how do you actually measure training.  This is the first of a series of posts on the topic.  In this posts, I want to talk about the evaluation sheets that are passed out after every seminar, lecture or course.  It includes questions such as:

  • How did you like the workshop?
  • Did you get anything out of it?
  • How did the instructor do?
  • Did you like the lunch?

It’s a lot like a customer satisfaction survey.  It’s never a bad idea to ask customers what they think. 

However, I think the value of these evaluations is very limited.  Just liking something doesn’t necessarily lead to learning, skill building or real change.  This evaluation really won’t tell you if anything will have a lasting effect a day, a week or a month later.  Here’s an example,

One of the training programs that always gets great reviews is style training.  Style training comes in lots of different varieties and people like them.  Everyone likes to here good things about themselves.  However, being able to actually use this information to do anything significant on the job seldom happens.  In fact, it’s more likely to be misused.

So, the point is..it’s nice to have happy participants.  Much better than unhappy participants.  However, don’t confuse happiness with learning.

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Education and training is all to often built around knowing, understanding and sometimes awareness.  As a result, the typical test is a paper and pencil test that is often nothing more than multiple choice.  This is all fine and good in an academic setting where if you add a little more sophistication you take knowledge and use it to compare, contrasts and differentiate. 

However, in a business environment these kinds of learning objectives are really irrelavant.  In that setting, you really don’t care what people know, what you care about is what people can do.  It’s how they use knowledge to perform complex tasks or even multiple tasks at the same time.  For example, salespeople don’t need to know the features and benefits of their products.  Instead they need to be able to describe products in a way that motivates the customer.  They need to be able to assess customer needs and find the best product fit.  

So the next time you write an instructional design document, cross out the words know, understand and aware of and replace them with what students can do with that knowledge.

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One of the great challenges in working on training or any other kind of major initiatives is how to build support and consensus while leading to a successful conclution.  That’s where good consulting skills come in. 

As a side not, I had a discussion the other day about the difference between consultative selling and consulting.  Consultative selling is a style of selling where you identify customer needs, issues and problems and then present an appropriate solution.  In consulting, you’re taking customers through a displined process or problem solving while applying your expertise.  In consulting, you are often the product or service.

Here’s probably the best book to start with Peter Blocks, Flawless Consulting, a guide to getting your expertise used.   The techniques and methodologies are good for both internal and external consulting.

consulting_.jpg  Here’s a link.

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