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8 Reasons Your Employees Hate Training
By Mike Phillips on
Saturday, February 21, 2009
:: 7836 Views ::
I’ve seen it over and over again.
Class is supposed to start and half the students are missing. Over the next 15-30 minutes a few more dribble in, listlessly taking their seats. It’s “training day” and oh boy are they excited. Not!
But why? Let’s take a look at why your employees don’t enjoy training courses, and how you can make better decisions to make your training sessions more enjoyable, powerful, and effective for them.
#1 Boring Instructor
I don’t care how well-focused the material and how relevant to employees’ job needs, if you have a less than excellent instructor the day will be a dud. Instructors should by dynamic, interesting, flexible, and able to tailor the course to students’ needs on-the-fly as much as possible. I’ll devote another entire article to finding great instructors, but for now suffice it to say the person has to hold your students’ attention.
#2 Topics Not Relevant to Employees’ Jobs
I’ve mentioned this in other articles, but it bears repeating. If class topics are not tailored to your employees’ actual job needs, and relevant NOW (not in 3 months when management finally rolls out the update for which students are taking the course), then students will turn off. They know the material isn’t relevant, or at least not relevant for quite some time, and they resist the learning process—after all, can they possibly remember the material for weeks or months without using it? We all have an innate resistance to new things at times, and with this atmosphere employees basically feel they are wasting their time in the classroom.
#3 Instruction is Not Modular
By “modular” I mean that the course should consist of a series of separate exercises that can be understood by themselves, in any order, without requiring the same exercise file from the previous lesson. So many of my students nowadays are only able to attend for part of the course, and if the instruction is not broken down into small, easily understood chunks then many busy students cannot make heads or tails of what is happening.
#4 Class is Too Long
Yep, you heard that right. Management and HR tend to look at training as a quantity situation. The more time spent in the classroom, the better, is the thinking. Makes sense; after all, the more time they study with a qualified instructor, the more they will get out of the course, right?
The theory sounds great. But the reality is, after 18 years in the classroom, I have seen that no matter how great I present the material, students can only absorb so much. Usually, 5 hours is about the maximum limit of instruction time—and I mean, the absolute maximum. Add in 1 hour for lunch and 2 fifteen minute breaks, and the course is 6.5 hours long. Any time beyond this, and not only does the Law of Diminishing Returns take effect, but it is my contention that harm is done to student’s recall of prior material. In other words, it all becomes a great big blur. Surely you remember this feeling in school?
So make your training sessions shorter rather than longer, and you can still hold 2 half-day sessions if necessary, with far better results overall.
#5 Student Skill Levels Vary Too Much
Have you ever been in a class where a know-it-all took over, answering questions and “pushing” the pace of the course to match his/her desired speed? Or how about when a fellow student was clearly slower than everyone else, slowing down everyone’s experience?
A computer course is not like a lecture course, where the instructor can just present the material and if students don’t understand, they can ask later. In a hands-on computer course, everyone—and I mean everyone—has to be in-sync with the instructor, or the class falls apart. But this is almost impossible when the skill levels of the students vary too much. I cannot emphasize this point enough.
Total beginner students in a subject are usually the course killers—and arguably they are the ones who need it most. There is no easy answer, as these students really do need the training and it is not always possible to hold separate sessions for beginner and more advanced students. One thing that can help is to have the slower students do some self-study prior to the course, or have them go through some of the material on their own. Just keep this point in mind when scheduling and your courses will go much more smoothly and students will enjoy them much more.
On to Page 2 for three More Reasons Students (and instructors) hate training…
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By Gina @ Friday, April 17, 2009 1:48 AM
very informative, my biggest pet peeve is when a teacher is not prepared. it makes it for the student to learn. also if a teacher is just reading notes, so boring. I hope a lot of teachers learn from this article.
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