"Now we are finding a new way that is already yielding significant benefits."
There is a challenge for those of in the training world: how do we bridge learnings from a formal learning experience into practice? How do we move it on from being a purely theoretical experience?
Let me explain with reference to a classroom training approach.
A delegate comes on a course, and no matter how engaging the material, how relevant it seems, as soon as the delegate returns to their routine, they seem to be swept up by other, more urgent matters. It may be several weeks in the life of a busy manager before they think to reference the class materials they have brought back with them. By then, the course is a distant memory. The classroom experience is dissociated from the real demands of their job.
Some articulate this sense of dissociation from the classroom such words: "I enjoyed the course, but a lot of it was too theoretical for my everyday work."
And so the real return on their investment in that training event is significantly reduced.
As trainers, we have wrestled with this in pearcemayfield quite a bit:
- We make sure we introduce a challenge and self-accountability to immediate application at the end of some of our courses: "What one thing will you do at work tomorrow that will take you no more than 20 minutes?" (We feel 20 minutes is about do-able as a practical commitment in most people's working day.)
- We offer consultancy, sometimes in clients' own centres of excellence, to reinforce and embed these learnings back on projects.
- We provide action learning sets and one-on-one coaching.
All these are oriented towards gaining real, measurable improvements in a manager's behaviour and performance.
Now we are finding a new way that is already yielding significant benefits. Instead of the conventional accredited model of a 3-to-5-day course with professional exams at the end - some exams have the so-called 'Practitioner' title but in truth that are still rather too theoretical - we are launching a series of one-day modules this summer where delegates leave with an open exam paper. They complete this paper over the next month against their own work, and in doing so bridge the classroom to their workaday experience. It is returned for independent assessment and, if successful, gains an award that builds up to a Change Management Certificate. We are launching this as the Leading Change Summer School at Eynsham Hall near Oxford.
The results for delegates and their organisations are astonishing. We are seeing so much more learning over a shorter period of time and positive application that is of immediate value to their organisation.
I'll write more on this exciting new approach.