Unless the training courses you are designing are mandatory, you may struggle with what too many trainers struggle with: enrollment, engagement and satisfaction.
People are usually not thrilled about “another” company training, specially if they are facilitated as part of an e-learning curriculum, where the lack of a face to face experience works as an added barrier.
Even if you come up with the most thrilling and eye catching title and tagline for your course, people may feel disappointed if the training doesn’t live up to the expectations.
For instance, a few weeks ago I enrolled in a training called Approaching Passive Contacts Tsun-Tsu Style.
I decided to enroll because I was interested in the topic and the title seemed like an original approach to sourcing candidates.
Long story short, I was disappointed. The Tsun-Tsu Style analogy didn’t make it past the second slide and it was shallow and weak. The rest of the training was just like countless others I’ve taken in my career… generic and boring.
Conclusion, I lost interest 5 minutes after it started. From there after, my attention was limited and when I finished, all I could say to my coworkers was “meh” and “I feel betrayed”.
There will always be complainers…
because those who don’t put time and effort into making something are the most difficult customers to satisfy… also -probably-, the most objective ones when it comes to assessing results.
Getting rid of complainers, motivating people to enroll and keeping them engaged
This is the traditional way of doing training:
And yes, I’ve heard of and I’ve taken courses where you are taught how to avoid creating passive experiences for participants and enabling them to be active instead of you preaching for an hour.
Thing is, it doesn’t solve the problems we have: enrollment, engagement and satisfaction.
Now, what if we could neutralize all three just by changing our approach?
Letting the trainees become stakeholders of the trainings you put together, becoming producers of the contents that they will later on consume -it’s also a good way to use your company’s assets-. In other words, crowdsourcing training.
By letting your target audience have a degree of control with regards to what will be taught you’ll be driving interest and motivation to enroll and participate.
When people are able to contribute their experiences and knowledge, they become part of the training -versus being recipients of “wisdom”-. The course is not something that is pushed, but something that they seek and pertain/apply to them directly.
The training session becomes the employees’ co-creation. They’ll attend not only because they’ve contributed to it but also because those next to them -their coworkers- are also a part of it.
As an added bonus, by using the staff base hands-on knowledge, you’ll end up having a training session rooted in reality; practical, actionable and not just abstract concepts that R&D/Learning or some other employee who doesn’t have first hand experience put together. Besides, who knows a job better than those who do it?
This is just one way of doing it. You can come up with any other process that suits your company’s guidelines or needs.
The learning department will define the need for a training and reach out to employees to gather information.
Contributions and feedback will then be compiled by the training department, which can also collate the information and request further input.
Once all the information has been gathered you can go back to your “default mode” and design the course as you would with any other trainings.
On the downside, there are two factors that can negatively impact crowdsourced trainings: time, resistance.
Due to the higher number of people -not all of them working in the same area- involved in creating this type of training, it will take considerably more time for the Training Department to design the sessions. On top of it, if the information gathering process is not streamlined, it could lead to a chaotic spiral that may threaten the success of the endeavor.
Another obstacle that this methodology may face, is that some companies may perceive the fact that by “transferring power” from the training department to employees outside of it may pose a threat to status quo.
If you intend to try the crowdsourcing approach, at first, do a pilot test in a sandboxed environment -i.e.: 1 business unit- and after evaluating results make the decision to deploy on a larger scale.
An assessment of the impact of this type of training on organizational culture is also highly recommended.
Traditional training is here to stay
Obviously, crowdsourced trainings are not here to replace the traditional methods.
There are processes, guidelines, rules and regulations that “just are”. Yes, those are typically boring and usually mandatory. What I mean to say, is that crowdsourcing is not meant to replace trainings as we know them. It’s a different way of approaching training topics. It doesn’t fit all scenarios and will definitely not replace traditional approaches.
What do you think? Do you see any obstacles? How would you gather information?
If you would like the Powerpoint presentation (editable) where these slides come from, just ask for it ;-)