Throw mud at me and see how much sticks!…but don’t call it training!
Posted by Louise Barnfield on March 6, 2009
Firstly, let’s clarify the definition of training, courtesy of Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:
- to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient
- to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill
There have been times when I’ve had to sit through rushed, unimaginative, uninspiring, fact-crammed hours of death by powerpoint. I have listened and watched as some, admittedly well-intentioned, individuals raced through a stream of slides, reading the bullets word-for-word, with a few examples thrown in verbally for good measure, and the promise that the slides will be posted somewhere — of course, I can never for the life of me remember where!
As a result, I feel neither fit, qualified, proficient nor prepared!
I’m sorry to shout, but that’s not training! That’s a data dump; that’s information overload. It may well be necessary information, but when delivered as a stream of consciousness it renders the audience unconscious, if not comatose!
I’m not averse to receiving such information in ad hoc online sessions. I’m a realist! I recognize that, in any demanding environment, the temptation is to roll out information, links, and instructions in the quickest and most efficient (note, I did not say effective!) way possible, but please don’t insult my intelligence – and, more importantly, the intelligence of anyone with teaching experience or qualifications – by calling it training.
I understand that individuals in these situations are given a thankless task and are often carrying it out to the best of their abilities (given that they are not ‘trainers’) – I just want the powers-that-be who constantly send out the stock announcements to such sessions to stop calling it training!
I know I can’t halt the trend of spewing out information in this way, because it’s quick and easy to deliver, but it simply results in the content being poorly digested… the end result is that the audience kinda, sorta gets a grasp that there are a lot of things they should know about, some things they should do, and certain things they should not do, but they can’t quite remember which is which, or where to go next to fill in the gaps. It has not helped to make them prepared nor proficient enough to carry out the task. That’s not training!
So if it’s not training, what can we call it?
Answers on a postcard please, and thank you for your indulgence!