Posted by: gotrain | June 5, 2008

Does training and development really improve productivity and performance?

We often do not give enough credit and attention to learning and training and development. Actually is their a difference between those two sets of words? I think that training and development implies putting into action what we have learned whilst learning may only mean acquiring the necessary knowledge to do something. For example my son learns a lot from watching TV and has an expert opinion on just about everything but does not do to much with it. In other words he does not walk his talk because although he thinks he knows something, he does not show that he can do those things.

I am writing this because this morning I was watching a part of a training video I purchased for learning how to use my new HD video camera so I can make high quality videos for my work. This requires getting professional results from this awesome little prosumer camera (the Sony HRDC1)

As I was watching the video I recalled a conversation I had with my friend Peter who graciously video taped me giving a seminar last month. He has the same camera and convinced to buy it after explaining the features and how great the video turns out. When we were setting up for the shoot that day I asked Peter what settings he was using on the camera and he replied none. He was completely relying on the automatic settings of the camera, and replied saying that the camera does such a great job itself, why bother changing anything? After watching the video this morning I realized he was saying this because he did not know any better. He does not realize the tremendous potential one has to control the camera through it’s manual settings and get far superior results. The video explains why one should opt for the user controls in order to get truly professional results.

As I was watching the video and learning how I could control the various options to improve the quality of the video I was thinking back to some of the things I had taped recently and how this information would have greatly benefited me at that time. In fact just 3 days ago I was taping a speaker and could have used more appropriate settings to assure the best results.

Of course watching the video is not enough. I need to pick up the camera and actually practice applying the settings that is recommended. In fact this reminds me of the steps to training that assures skill development and not just knowing something. These steps are:

  1. Explain the purpose or objectives of the training and why it is important
  2. Explain each task or skill that you want the person to learn
  3. Demonstrate the task or skill
  4. Have the person perform the task or skill while you the trainer observe
  5. Provide feedback on the person’s performance. Reinforce what they are doing well and redirect on what needs improvement
  6. Repeat the above steps if needed
  7. Provide follow-up. Agree on the level and frequency of follow-up required

Following these steps always delivers greater results. Just ask yourself how many things have you learned that actually stuck and were put into practice? The cause for this is probably reflected in the above list.

I was very impressed with the quality of the video I watched as steps 1-3 were done extremely well. Of course they could not do steps 4-7 without being there with me, so it is up to me to practice. This is where training often fails to produce the desired results. Those doing the training do not always consciously follow the above steps and easily forget about the follow-up. This is why in organizations managers are the ones who should do as much of the training themselves as they can or develop a follow-up plan with the trianing provider in order to make sure the skills learned will be practiced.

I can safely say that I will put these new camera techniques into practice. In fact I brought my camera to work with me and plan to do some video taping tonight to practice immediately. I will soon be bragging to Peter about how knowledgeable I have become about my camera and I know he will be begging to borrow the video so he can learn to.

So you see training can help us to claim our right to brag and thus increase our self-confidence and esteem. This is a good thing as long as we don’t go overboard. I also feel that my investment in my camera, which costs quite a bit more than the average models was well worth it as I feel I now know how to use the tool to get the superior results I had originally envisioned.

What are your thoughts on training and it’s importance to results and goal achievement? Please provide your comments.


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