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The Evolution of Employee Training

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 19, 2008

Experienced, knowledgeable employees are an organization’s most important asset. So why then are training and employee education programs the first to get the ax in an economic downturn?

The problem lies in the way the programs are designed. Current education and training programs tend to emphasize event-specific activity. The result is a program that focuses more on attendance than actual learning. But combining a learning management system with an online social community can create an incentive for employees from all departments to participate (without threatening job termination) and helps foster better, deeper, and perpetual learning by marrying formal with informal learning.

A few points to consider when developing a social media model for a workplace environment:

• People learn at different speeds. A traditional one-hour training program will be less effective than giving your employees a forum to discuss new ideas and share past experiences.

• Event learning is flawed in concept. You cannot learn to ride a bike in a seminar, and people cannot master new skills in a one-time training event. Employees need an environment that allows and fosters perpetual learning to support skill mastery.

• Learning is work. It is much more cost-effective to create a social community where employees can quickly relay information and resolve problems than to send them to a week-long retreat.

The bottom line is that traditional training using courses and workshops are effective for establishing company conventions and framework, but most employees are already beyond that stage. What they need is a social learning community where they can gain relevant information in bite-size increments and exchange ideas quickly to fill in gaps in what they already know.

Matthew Bowman
President and CEO
Provo, Utah

Reader Comments


November 20, 2008 12:17 PM

Great post. I work at Intuit and several years ago, we set up an in person and online training program for our employees.

The training was developed by the Community team, legal, privacy, and finance.

The training consisted of:
- How to use certain sites, such as FaceBook, Twitter, etc.
- Legals do and 'think abouts' before you do

Finally, we position the training is
- Guidelines, Guardrails and Guidance.
** It is an opt-in program. Not required.

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