Questions, answers and discussions about training credibility in the work place, training to improve performance, training to motivate and facilitate team building. Leadership Training.
Offering Multiple Modalities for Training Solutions?
December 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm #148398
What’s your opinion on multiple modalities for training materials?
Firstly, which modalities should be offered for employee training based on our road to utilizing more technology?
Secondly, should different modalities be offered to different groups of employees?
Not to stereotype generations, but perhaps more traditional training methods to be utilized on older, more traditional employees – and modern-day modalities (e-learning, digital training modules) for the tech-savvy employees.
What are your thoughts?
December 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm #148418
Thanks, Michelle. The best course I’ve taken was a hybrid at Villanova:
– Sent hard copy materials in the mail that included both books and CDs with same content
– Online community of practice to communicate with other members of the class and the instructors
– Note the plural there on instructors – there were two
– We met in real time every Monday night with one of the two instructors to talk in real-time about pre-determined topics and/or what was coming up in the online discussion threads
– Best part: practice exams that simulated the PMP exams…and I could see what I got wrong in order to focus my additional study where I had knowledge deficits…this could work for any material
The only thing it was missing that might have made it even more interesting: some kind of gaming element that encouraged people to work in teams to accomplish some kind of group project…that would have led to better connections with virtual colleagues
December 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm #148416
My last two blogs answered a part of your question, but I still think we have to focus first on topic and results appropriate to the training method.
This is probably an answer you were looking for: Yes, different modalities or training/teaching methods can and should be offered to employees in the same organization if only to give them a choice, but with the caveat: we should encourage and reward face-to-face communication. Allowing workers to choose the method they will learn best will work if that is their motivation. Their motivation could be based on “which method gets me done soonest so I can get back to work at what I really think is important.” The training session may not be high on their list.
We should not leave all things up to technology just because we can and assume it has no impact either on on the job relationships or in public society. I wrote a lot more and have reserved that for a blog since I don’t want to take up all your time here. I look forward to seeing the discussion.
December 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm #148414
I prefer delivery channels, I think, because modalities has some other meanings. But with learners motivated to learn what’s “there”, there’s no need for the extra expense of using different delivery channels. The cost to do that properly is huge, and the return is so small.
With people NOT motivated, you might hypothesize that the more you match the delivery channel to what they “prefer”, the better, but that’s probably not the case either. One should also keep in mind that the experience of learning is different depending on channels (media) so that even if the content is the same, the outcomes are, in fact different. That’s why for example, participating in a live traditional graduate school full time is quite different than the same content delivered in other ways.
December 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm #148412
Michelle, just to be clear: we are talking about different modalities covering the same material rather than a blended approach?
Regardless, your point about not trying to stereotype is appropriate to stress. It is important to consider what the learner is going to be comfortable/capable with. We want them learning the content, not spending time learning how to muddle through the unfamiliar modality. Also, I have found in my organization that system-wide training must be offered in various modalities due to some employees’ limited access to computers. This has nothing to do with technical abilities but more to do with the job they do.
Another obstacle with a very larger audience is it just isn’t feasible to support 150+ face-to-face events for non critical training. It is always tough to balance the benefits of a F2F against the cost savings of a DVD or web-based training.
Thanks for asking the question. Like Jack, I look forward to additional comments.
January 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm #148410
I think this course sounds great. It seems to me — instead of offering different modalities for varying course, this course incorporated all the different modalities within itself! I think that’s terrific. By utilizing the online community in conjunction with hard copies, books, and CDs, I think you’ve basically covered the gamut of all training mediums – from technical to traditional.
Let me ask you a question that I’ve been getting a lot. What would you say about the cost of such a course? How is it cost effective to offer multiple modalities within one course (or offering multiple modalities for different courses?) Yes, the interest level is there and yes, you’ve met the preferences of the trainees by offering choices – but what about the cost? From the trainer’s perspective, is it worth it to offer all these choices?
January 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm #148408
I agree with you Tim. Our company recently met with the Army Reserve who explained that there simply isn’t enough time to successfully administer concrete on-the-job training and the soft-skill training with the X amount of hours delegated for training per year. They are more focused on life-saving simulations and emergency reaction skills – than sexual harassment in the workplace. This is why I agree with your statement that it is not always feasible to support 150+ face-to-face training sessions for “non-critical” training. Even if it WAS physically possible — it may be not in the agency’s best interest to utilize training time on these topics.
This is where the multiple modalities come into play. When it’s not physically possible to train in person, or it’s not in the company’s best interest to utilize on-site training hours on soft-skills — that’s the time to turn to our friend “Mr. Technology”. Whip out those hand-helds with downloadable training modules, pop in a CD into your car on the way home from work. Train when it’s convenient for you — and with the tool that best suits your needs.
January 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm #148406
I love the purposeful nature of using different modalities or channels of training for flexibility and priority of training sake, but I think the idea of some employees taking the training on their own with no accountability is a problem–especially for some managers. You mention hand-helds with downloadable training modules or a CD in a car; these work best for someone who wants the training and sees a value in completing–usually the higher levels of management. So, in some circumstances where trust is not an issue that is a great idea. With the soft skills training required by law though there is that accountability feature usually found with some computer training modules that can be incorporated easily. A little more trust from employers on this issue might be nice, too.
January 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm #148404
While I understand the gentleman’s concern, the issue he forgets to concern is that people don’t quit the workplace and leave because they didn’t get the training for hard skills. They quit because it doesn’t feel good to be there; that their manager is a jerk who doesn’t know how to lead well; that their colleague three cubes down is passive aggressive and sends appalling, inflammatory emails, etc. It’s the soft-skills (although I prefer to call them behavioral skills), or lack thereof, that cause people to leave and when they do, it’s at a tremendous monetary impact on the organization.
As for different modalities, completely agree that we should do that for many different courses. Interpersonal communication is definitely not one that should be done on-line. How do we assist people in developing relationships if we’re demonstrating that it’s okay to do this through a computer? Doesn’t work for me….
January 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm #148402
Thank you for using the term “behavioral skills”. I should incorporate that more into my vocabulary. Although “soft skills” is an accepted term, it does imply some level of inferiority. You bring up a crucial point. Behavioral skills may not directly affect a person performing his/her job functions, but they 100% affect a person’s attitude and comfort level, which in turn affects performance. In other words — behavioral skills are vital to the workplace because they affect employee performance — directly or indirectly.
January 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm #148400
I hate to put it this way but….. (and we should never use that word! LOL) People will overlook Bob or Sue’s lack of job prowess if they are trying to work at it or if they’re trying to be a team player. If they are a pain in the butt and incompetent? That just rubs people the wrong way and then they get frustrated, angry, etc and it all spirals from there.
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