About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The future of the training department

Although it's a bit late, and I have my grades to finish (or because I have my grades to finish), I did want to post something as part of the ecollab's blog carnival. ECollab is a bilingual multi-author blog on enterprise collaboration.

This month's carnival was about the future of the training department. As an educator of the future users of the training department, I thought I would give my insight into some of the challenges and expectations of future workers about training and education.

1) Instant feedback
: my students don't want to wait to hear how they have done. If they write a report, they expect feedback immediately, perhaps even as they are writing it. As a result, any training they receive will need to be interactive (either electronically or face to face). It will not be enough for them to post something, for example, without any feedback with an hour or two. They do have more patience if you can give them a specific date. But even then, they will put it out of their mind until that date.

2) Choices in learning: Unlike students when I started teaching almost 20 years ago, students want a choice in what they learn, how they learn it, when they learn it, and who they learn it from. This means that training departments will need to offer both formal and informal choices in a variety of mediums (online, face to face, mentoring, tutors, simulations).

3) Just in time learning: If students don't feel it is important for them to know something (at this point, for a test or a grade), they won't bother to learn it. As a result, students are used to picking and choosing what they learn based on direction from authorities and whether or not they perceive what they learn as being useful. Translated in to work related learning, employees won't go through the training if they think it is not useful to their current work unless they have some incentive (promotion, location of training, paid training). Related to this is the idea that anything they will need to know in the future, they will be able to learn quickly, so why bother learning it until it is needed. Any training will need to be situated in a person's job.

4) Situated learning: My husband just had some standard computer training which he found irrelevant until the last class in which they were able to learn the software based on the problems the trainees were experiencing themselves. While there is societal and organizational push to standardize training, most employees won't undergo training unless it is situational. I see this a trend within organizations so that organizations will require more "targeted" training that allows for the training to be pinpointed for a specific employee. This means training departments will need to do a lot more assessment and develop a different model of training that is not standard across an organization.

5) Assessment tools: My students want tests. Why? Because they have a standard way of assessing how they have learned which they can then take with them to the workplace. More and more I am getting students who demand a detailed rubric on how they will be evaluated and assessed. In the workplace, especially as workers have greater access to informal learning, they are going to want the training department to assess their learning, rather than plan their learning. This means the focus of the training department will move from providing resources to assessing skills and knowledge, but in a way that workers accept. Coming from a background of standardized assessments, this next generation will expect the same type of testing to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The training department will look more and more like the civil service or professional organizations (i.e. legal bar, CPA, NACATE).


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā koe Virginia!

". . . students don't want to wait to hear how they have done."

You can say that again!

It's not accidental that instant feedback was the one outstanding factor that improved learner engagement. This is what I found in a nearly 2 year-long research project at the beginning of this decade.

This applies to digital feedback as well as face-to-face feed back from teacher/parent/supervisor/caregiver/peer.

I found it turns the heads of casual learners when they realise someone (or something) is actually observing what they are doing and responds accordingly.

Getting feedback from assignments - grades - is part of the whole process of maintaining engagement.

Best of the season to you, Virginia!

Catchya later

V Yonkers said...

At some point next year, I'm going to blog about a model one of my professors developed for engagement. The level of engagement in using technology will determine how much effort a student will put into their own learning. A large part of it is feedback and support, knowing the tipping level of when a student will work through a problem and when they will just become frustrated and give up.

Did you ever publish the research? It sounds interesting.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Part of the research I published and presented as a paper at the DEANZ Conference April 2001, and a more complete report was submitted to my employer later that year.

I also published some of the work on my blog last year.

Merry Christmas, Virginia!