Archive for February, 2012

What’s In, What’s Out for Training in 2012

Having just returned from presenting at the Training 2012 Conference, it’s a good time to reflect on the emerging trends for the year, using this major event as a litmus test for the industry.  Hours spent walking the expo floor, talking to numerous delegates, listening to the keynotes and participating in many break out sessions, I’m left with the impression that our world has changed in the last year or two.  My own observations would lead me to believe that we have shifted from being caught up in many futuristic technologies to the more pragmatic development and delivery of effective training.

Here’s my top 3 “What’s In and What’s Out” list.

WHAT’S IN

#1 A Results Orientation
This top trend was not just apparent in the conversations regarding measurement and business impact, but there was also a prevailing theme of the importance of how we deliver training.  There was a much stronger emphasis on the training method as being vital to achieving the desired impact upon the learner and the organization.

#2 Blended Learning
There is a continual and understandable focus on delivering training, or better still enabling training, in multiple and different ways.  I was at the conference to deliver a session on best practices for live virtual training as part of the very extensive and well-attended conference stream on the live virtual classroom.  Although I haven’t counted, I would estimate that at least 30% of all the breakout sessions focused on what we could call a non-traditional way of delivering training.  There is clearly a plethora of ways to enable training other than putting people into a physical classroom and yet there is some sort of notable fear of change that leads people to cling to the tradition of the physical classroom setting where learners are held hostage for several days while information is fire-hosed at them.  Seriously, is that the best we can do?  Wake up and look around you, that isn’t the way we work, play or learn anymore!  Let’s step up as learning leaders and focus on the new methods that translate into more effective ways in which to develop and deliver training experiences.

#3 Sales Training
It has been a few years since I saw the emphasis on training sales teams that there was at this event.  A number of the breakout sessions were focused purely on training sales people.  Connecting this observation with my #1 above, I also saw that just about every session or conversation on sales training revolved around how to deliver sales training that directly impacts sales results.

WHAT’S OUT

#1 Avatars
The focus we saw just a few years ago that would have led us to believe that the future of training would see us all immersed in virtual reality and learning through the use of an avatar has all but disappeared.  Not to say I didn’t see some very effective ways in which to learn using the online word and simulation, but the total simulated “second life” style of learning seems to have lost its gloss.  Perhaps this is a direct result of the undeniable trend of cost cutting.  To create effective immersive virtual reality is anything but cheap.

#2 Technology for Technology’s Sake
No doubt many participants had iPads and various tablets with them, and many of the exhibitors may have been using these devices too, but the focus we saw a year ago on mobility and technology seems to have diminished.  Once again, I would suggest that this is the result of tightening budgets and a focus on what we can do today to impact results.  It is no longer about the technology itself–it’s about how we enable effective learning.

#3 Motivation Masquerading as Learning
For far too many years we have seen what I would call motivational events, games or speakers being used in the training landscape.  While there is nothing wrong with a good motivational event to “pump up” the crowd, these can’t be mistaken for training that delivers new learning.  Perhaps as a result of my #1 observation of What’s In, I see the focus moving away from motivation masquerading as learning.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the motivational speaker at an event as much as anyone else, but as was noted at several times throughout the conference, enabling effective learning and delivering results does not come down to a motivational event.

As ever, I enjoyed the ability to mix and mingle with so many leaders in the world of training, and perhaps pick up on a few of the trends that will drive us and the industry during the course of 2012.

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Live Virtual Training That Works

It’s easy to get lost these days in all of the choices that exist around learning options and technology.  This can be especially true at a conference like the one we just attended, ASTD’s Techknowledge 2012, where the choices were abundant and almost overwhelming.  Mobile learning, just-in-time, social media, blogging and micro blogging just to name a few.  Furthermore, as  learning and development professionals we have to ensure that we are embracing the different learning styles and expectations of the new workforce.  It is clear we can’t stand still or continue to do things the way we have always done them.

Today’s learning leaders are increasingly tasked to find new, better and less expensive ways to train and to accommodate the growing number of new, mobile and remote workforce learners.  Given our experiences with customers around the globe, we have seen that for many organizations the move to virtual has been overwhelmingly driven by the obvious cost and time savings of this modality.  At the same time virtual training is often viewed as inferior or not being able to offer the type of results associated with more traditional training approaches.  This is not because web-based training is an inferior training modality; it is because it has not been widely-used in an effective and compelling manner. As leaders responsible for the results of their training initiatives, is this the ROI that we are willing to live with OR is there a better way?

Top concerns that emerged during the recent were:

  1. What does it take to deliver a virtual classroom experience so that it is more than a traditional webinar?
  2. How can we create engagement in virtual classroom experiences?
  3. How to create a blended experience and leverage assets that companies have already invested in?
  4. Change management:  what is needed in terms of an overall program to gain adoption, apply learning and change behavior?

To gain the true impact of any training program the answer to a strong ROI lies in the overall organizational learning strategy and in the architectural footprint of the learning environment and NOT in tactical implementation, training technology or clever instructional design. Of course, these elements do matter but they are secondary to strategy and architectural design.  The strategy must consider the business impact that is required and then map the change management, skills, and behavior requirements necessary to enable the organization to deliver those results.  The architectural design must then accommodate who needs training and the most effective modes in which to deliver, or enable, the requisite learning to occur.

So where does live virtual training fit in?  With the learning strategy and architecture serving as the foundation, learning and development leaders can ensure that the most effective modalities are employed to support the organizational learning needs by  providing the right training to the right people at the right time.   With an emphasis on supporting the workforce in the way in which we now live and work, live virtual is worth a strong hard look for how this modality can truly transform the modern-day learning experience.

Come join us at Training 2012 and hear more about a Best-In-Practice Design to Live Virtual Training.  Find out more about the event on our website.

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3g Selling Delves into Best-in-Practice Virtual Training Design at Training 2012

3g Selling Training 2012 Session Details 

Georgia World Conference Center, Atlanta

Session #VCS05
A Best-in-Practice Design for Live Virtual Training
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
8:00-9:00 a.m. Room A314

More information on our website.

Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile and in need of more effective and convenient approaches to transformational training.  As such, live instructor-led virtual training is increasingly becoming a critical component of the organizational training strategy. But this virtual world can leave the participant with a less than satisfactory experience.

Join us next week at Training 2012 in Atlanta where Martyn Lewis, principal and founder of 3g Selling and virtual training pioneer, will share the journey 3g Selling has taken in offering live virtual training that does not simply mimic the physical classroom, but offers the learner a richer experience with more immediate and impactful learning outcomes.

Workshop Giveaway
Anyone who attends the 3g Selling Training 2012 session will be eligible to win a FREE one-day, onsite consulting workshop from 3g Selling: “3 Steps to Effective Continuous Learning: Creating the Enabling Architecture.” The workshop is valued at over $5,000 and includes facilitator travel and accommodation. For anyone not attending TechKnowledge, information about purchasing this workshop can be found on our website.

Virtual Training Case Study
Adobe recently published a case study highlighting 3g Selling’s innovative, best-in-class use of the Adobe Connect platform in our live virtual training programs. To get a glimpse of some of the topics we’ll be covering in our Training 2012 session, you can download the Adobe case study on our website.

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