The Number 1 Challenge Faced by Training Departments

In my earlier post, i wrote about the 7 key problems that the training industry must address if it were to stay relevant in a changing world. Continuing on the same track, I would like to bring to your attention a key argument that Karl Kapp and Tony O’Driscoll have made in their book titled “Learning in 3D”.

My conversations with training departments in large enterprises sometimes reveal more than what I could glean from reading a bestseller on learning. But reflecting on the points from the book, juxtaposed with my own conversations with the training departments,  accentuates the yawing gap between real training challenge and the perceived training challenges as articulated by the people that run the training departments in enterprises.

Most of the times, I am trying to help customers build online learning content or solve LMS challenges. These are classic examples of solving issues associated with Productive Learning. Productive learning refers to delivering training on how to do a specific set of tasks or activities that is already known. Example: How to operate a machinery? how to greet a customer? how to promote a service? how to answer a call or route a call? While there is a need to deliver productive learning, it doesn’t answer a key question i.e how can employees learn to innovate?

The number of companies that are truly operating their training department at a level demanded by their business context is still a tiny fraction. But an encouraging trend I am seeing nowadays is the large number of inquiries around implementing on-demand learning solutions, collaboration solutions, mobile performance support tools. There is a gradual shift towards what Kapp and Driscoll call “Generative Learning” (although I am sure they did not coin the term). Generative Learning not only involves absorbing existing information but also creating new solutions to unanticipated problems. This is the kind of learning that results in innovation.

By far the biggest challenge that training departments should address in 2013 and beyond is setting up the infrastructure for generative learning. The only way this can happen is to start thinking beyond the classroom or just formal learning content.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy


I love to read and share thoughts on technology, enterprise learning, mobile and any thing cool that impacts enterprises.

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Posted in eLearning, Training
One comment on “The Number 1 Challenge Faced by Training Departments
  1. Paul says:

    Spot on! The the Order Taker mentality will be exposed for the weakness it creates in the new “world”. It will be very difficult for T&D departments that are comfortable being reactive since this new paradigm is a proactive strategy.

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