Let’s put the ‘cat among the pigeons’ right at the start.

Nobody wants to do training.

Maybe some people think they do, but actually they don’t. Let me tell you why.

Delegates don’t want to do training. What they want is to become something else as a result of the training. If they could upload the training, like the character Neo in the film The Matrix, then they probably would.

HR and L&D managers don’t want their personnel to do training. They want what training makes their personnel become. They want qualified, competent and experienced personnel. If people like this grew on trees then they would probably plant trees and pick them from this. (Or get somebody else to plant and pick them.)

Trainers don’t want training. They want the revenue this brings and some (like me) want to feel good about helping people overcome their challenges.

In a nutshell, training represents a means to an end. Nothing else.

Training is not what people want?

In simple terms “Training is not what people want”. What they want is for themselves to progress from how “things are at the moment” to “how they want things to be”. In his book When coffee and kale compete, Alan Klement writes “we have an intrinsic desire to transform our life-situations into something better. The desire to improve ourselves and our life situation is in our DNA.” This transformation requires a “Jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) as visualised in the image below.

Visualisation of JTBD (Jobs-as-progress) from When coffee and kale compete

Visualisation of JTBD (Jobs-as-progress) from When coffee and kale compete

The solution we choose (the middle bit in the image) to achieve the progress is something that we hire to help us achieve the JTBD to transform our situation from the actual self to the desired self. This is an ongoing process so that as we find better solutions our ‘now-solution’ gets replaced with the new improved solution that makes the progress quicker, or more cost-effective or makes the transition in a more desirable manner.

What do people want then?

Not training that’s for sure!  What they want is what the training will help them to become. Delegates want to make greater valuable contributions, work smarter, make less mistakes to become (more) valued, respected, trusted, promoted, and needed and more. HR and L&D managers want to deliver a competent and capable workforce, make training budgets go further, train more personnel to become (more) valued, respected, trusted, promoted, and needed and more.

And if this is the case then the providers of training should at the very least be seeking to create and provide interventions that help those in the process of “becoming” to get there in a way that is most valued by them. By this I mean a method that is time effective, relevant, cost effective, and convenient. Finding an optimum solution can be challenging. In many cases I suspect that the default setting for meeting organisational learning needs remains the traditional face-to-face classroom based course/workshop. But what about when your people are a globally dispersed workforce/community?

Applying traditional face-to-face solutions to meet a global learning need is costly through the need for travel, subsistence, venue costs etc. Then there is the indirect cost and disruptive impact of key personnel being away from their desks, projects etc. And finally, a logistical headache for HRD/L&D in trying to get those nominated for training to one place, at a time that is convenient for all.

Digital Learning Technology – a modern solution?

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At Kingsfield Academy we think the answer to this dilemma can be found through utilising digital learning technologies. The range of interventions possible has grown in recent years meaning that learning providers can select from simple elearning courses right up to the development of bespoke corporate MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) designed to tackle ‘messy’ and complex issues.

We believe that digital learning provides huge benefits for the international engineering construction industry through its ability to bring a diverse and dispersed global team into virtual ‘local’ communities, which can work out project issues collaboratively without the need for leaving the project.

For that reason we have been incrementally developing our digital capabilities to help our clients explore these solutions for themselves.

These are my thoughts. What are yours? Want to talk more? So do I. Feel free to link in with me, comment, share and let’s get talking. Check out Alan’s great book below!

Klement, A. (2018). When Coffee and Kale Compete: Become great at making products people will buy. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Carl Haynes – Managing Consultant, Kingsfield Academy