As an intern in United Airline’s 767 fleet, I had the opportunity to see what state-of-the-art training is all about. With United, my learning included the best-in-class instructors and the use of sophisticated flight simulators that allowed every imaginable variety of scenarios a pilot could encounter, from engine failures and smoke in the cockpit to thunderstorm penetration and instrument malfunctions. From the simulator, I graduated to actual flight checks in the airliner that exposed me to all types of critical events and often to emergency situations. I was constantly evaluated and always debriefed in ways that had direct repercussions on the stages of my training and determined when I required remediation of knowledge or skills I had not yet mastered. Such sophisticated mechanisms will not surprise you in this environment, for airline pilots, like surgeons, are considered the best-trained professionals in their industries.
If you went right now and polled your own employees, I doubt that many would rate their training as engaging, rigorous, or highly effective. For most, often for trainees and trainers alike, job-required education is viewed as a necessary evil. Yet your guts tell you that good training matters a great deal. You probably have no instruments in place that allow you measure how it impacts your bottom line, and, as a company leader, most likely you’re largely unclear on the actual skills and knowledge of your workforce and whether they are providing a competitive advantage. If so, you’re certainly not alone. Most executives have no idea how training can be used to provide the same effects as sales and marketing. Because of this, most likely training in your company hasn’t changed much over many decades. The company may have moved some of its training onto the web or added tablets or remote instructors to the mix, but the presence of technology should not be confused with quality teaching or carefully designed instruction. Our experience at S4 NetQuest suggests that most training still relies heavily on traditional methodologies. These traditional methodologies include:
- Lectured-based classrooms taught by subject matter experts
- Emphasis on the teacher rather than the learner
- Learning as a singular event rather than a continuous process
- Online “page-turners” where learners rush through slides to quickly complete a test
- Assessments that test rote memorization of facts rather than the ability to apply specific skills and knowledge in authentic situations
These methods will never provide measurable business results or a competitive advantage. But they are what most companies continue to use because they have no idea how to design, develop, or implement truly innovative, highly effective learning solutions.
In Chapter 1, we’ll dig deep into why traditional training methods don’t work and begin to demonstrate why the M-Pact Learning approach S4 NetQuest has developed has proven so effective.