Because we’re all creatures of habit – sometimes bad habits – training managers should adjust the way they approach their jobs.
That was the advice of Joe Santana and Jim Donovan, co-authors of Managing I.T. and presenters of “Designing High Impact Development Curricula” at our February 2003 meeting.
In today’s economy, Santana said, training managers increasingly are faced with three demands from corporate executives: they want bottom-line results, they want them faster, and they want more with less.
En route to fulfilling their mission, though, training managers encounter a couple of sizable hurdles. The first is that participants often don’t understand why they’ve been asked to attend the training session in the first place. So they zone out from the beginning of the course. The bigger problem, even for those who know why they’re at the session and want to be there “is getting (them) to use what they learned after the training is completed,” Santana said.
According to Santana, one survey showed participants retained only 13% of what they learned. That was mostly a function of habit, because most people go back to their old ways. The alternative is a three-pronged approach of orientation, training and coaching.
In orientation, the challenge is to explain why the training is important. In the training, obviously, is to teach what needs to be done. In followup coaching (usually within a month of the course) explains how to put all the pieces together. “Attaching coaching at the end really makes the training stick,” Santana said. Retention rates went from 13% o 52%, a fourfold increase.
In his program, Santana uses hour-long coaching sessions a half dozen tomes as soon as possible after the training. He does so in small groups. And while he specializes in IT training, he feels the system he uses is applicable to most training areas.