Most training programs fails to achieve the desired results. Who is more responsible for this – the training manager or the trainer?
I’d say it all depends on how you tasked the trainer. Was he firmly handed over the title and desired deliverables for the training program, or was he informed of your unmet business need and allowed a free hand to discover the training gap for it?
You can take medicine in two ways. You can go to a pharmacist and ask him to give you a branded medicine that you think will cure your illness, Alternately, you can ask a doctor to diagnose and then ask the pharmacist to give you what the doctor recommends. In most case, we use the for former approach i.e. ask the trainer to deliver on deliverables chosen by us, or sometime, even the firm program details chosen by us. All that is left for him is to display his presentation skills, not his trainer skill. If that be the case, it doesn’t look fair to blame him much for the failure.
If we visit Kilpatrick’s levels of training evaluation, we find the following –
- Level 1 – Reaction level – How did the participants react to the trainer/training. This indeed is a reflection of the trainer. However, do note that if there is participants see that the training program does not meet their actual needs, they’ll not rate a program to be good however well packaged and delivered it may have been.
- Level 2 – Learning level – To what extent has there been real learning. This too is a reflection of the trainer, particularly his choice of learning strategy and aids. However, in case the training manager has forced the learner to include some specific content, or games etc, it is a reflection on him/her as well.
- Level 3 – Application/Implementation level – To what extent has there been behavioural changes on the job and/or application of the learning. It is mainly a reflection of transfer of learning from the workshop to the workplace which depends mainly on the supporting influences on the job and also to the selection of the right training strategy. If you use a training strategy of Knowledge domain ( What – Why), it will never transfer in to behavioural changes if the behaviour expected on job is actually all about Skill domain (How) or Affective/Attitudes domain (Why should I?)
- Level 4 – Business results level – To what extent did the program remedy the ills of business which were the trigger to call for a training program. This is mostly a reflection of right diagnosis of the situation and analysis of same for selecting the content, strategy and sequencing of the lesson. If you ask the pharmacist to give you a branded cough syrup to cure a kidney problem, you shouldn’t be blaming him for your inevitable kidney failure, however good the cough syrup!
As you would have seen, the onus of success is as much on your training manager, as on the trainer. Since it the training manager who commissions and controls the trainer, his part seems to clearly more than that of the trainer.
But let our discussion not merely be on training program alone. The program/workshop is only one small part that influences overall training effectiveness. There are several other contributory factors too – pre training and post training measures- which fall squarely in the domain of the training manager.
Here are some pre-training measure on which I’d love to have views of seasoned training mangers –
- Voluntary/Mandatory – Effects of ‘self-nomination versus organizational detailment on courses’ on learner performance.
- Trainee Participation – Should learners have a say in most pre-training decisions e.g. content of courses, schedule of courses etc.
- Group Composition – Effects of group composition (comparable in aptitude and skill prior to entering the program) on individual and group learning.
- Competitive/cooperative – Should learning activities be designed to be competitive or cooperative.
- Transfer climate – what factors affect transfer of learning from workshop to workplace.
It surely will be interesting to hear your comments. Do show off your knowledge of research on these fields as well as your personal experiences.
Let us kick off in the comments section.