“For me, every training session is exactly the same. My methods and my material are always the same because, as a training professional, I know that my one method, or shoe if you like, fits all.
It’s the morning of my next session. I look over my notes. It’s another cloud CRM end user training session, same old stuff! Another group of people who do not know “the cloud” and who will be fascinated with the concept. For this reason, I know I am going to start with my usual opening question, a guaranteed instant engager, and I know I will get the usual response of “I don’t know.” Then I will go into my speech about the future of computing as we know it! Perfect.
I walk into the training session feeling relaxed knowing that I know this material inside out. I set up the room and wait for all trainees to arrive. As they turn up I notice that they are an unusual mix of people compared to what I am used to. Odd. Nonetheless, once everyone is seated, I start with my engager: “What is a cloud that cannot be seen in the sky but is found in space?” I wait for the usual response, but instead something unexpected happens. “Well, the type of cloud that this new CRM is on”, ”Things are too complicated now, we don’t need this new technology”, “One in cyber space!”, “Well in my day the only clouds that existed were in the sky”, “Will this be on the test?”. Everyone either has an idea or an opinion. And then…..
There it is! Hitting me like a slap on the face! The realization that I know nothing about the people here. Some of them know cloud computing, some don’t have a clue, and some just don’t care! Now…I am standing here, all eyes on me, and I am frozen! I’m completely thrown off course and am struggling to get any words out because my mind is completely blank! Um, um, um…
What is going on? How did this happen? How did I get here?”
How did this poor training professional get into this situation?
It’s a classic case of a trainer underestimating the difference there is in teaching Millennials vs. Baby Boomers, who both bring different things to a training session, therefore demonstrating the importance of knowing your audience!
Most companies face the same challenge. Their baby booming veterans have different needs compared to their baby bottom Millennials. And that is just the start of the potential differences between learners. Some learners invented the wheel, some invented the iPad, some like cocktails, some like beer, some are shiny, some are rusty, to name a few. These create a whole bunch of differences between learners!
Okay, so what’s the issue if I don’t know a whole lot about my audience?
Well, if you bring a learning solution to your company’s training table that does not consider these differences – and therefore does not speak to all learners – your company will be receiving the following rather unsavoury training feast: For starters, your company will be presented with a scrumptious negative effect on the team’s efficiency. For the main course, your company will be served a delicious lack of acceptance and adaptability to whatever you are striving to achieve through training. And as a tasty just desert, ultimately the company’s bottom line can be affected. All because the message your training is trying to convey quickly gets lost.
In addition to this, you need to understand the organization’s business practices, culture, and climate as these too can have effects on not only how you convey your message but also how your message is perceived.
So what does this mean for me?
Simply put, when designing training, your first step after understanding what the business needs, practices, and culture are, is to really understand what these “trainees” are all about so that your solution caters to who they are and the differences between them.
AND, don’t 100% rely on your audience analysis to get you through. You also have to be able to adapt the learning on the fly as the personalities in the seats dictate.
The unfortunate trainers encounter above should prompt one to keep in mind that when designing and delivering training one shoe does not fit all and all shoes do not fit into one box!
How is Diabsolut’s Learning & Development team different?
At Diabsolut, we, the Learning & Development team, approach all learning engagements with the realisation that everyone learns in different ways, thus we create training solutions that are as unique as the company the solution is for.
We help learners learn inside as well as outside of the box!
A final thought….
If you are making a change within your company and are looking for a solution, don’t forget to ask yourself the following: Are your new (or in some cases, old) Business Processes clearly defined? Is there any Change Management occurring? Have the Learning Needs been properly assessed?