Why Corporate Training is Broken and How To Fix It
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Why Corporate Training is Broken and How To Fix It

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Informal learning expert, Jay Cross outlines why corporate training is ineffective for most businesses and what trainers can do to fix the problem.

Informal learning expert, Jay Cross outlines why corporate training is ineffective for most businesses and what trainers can do to fix the problem.

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Why Corporate Training is Broken and How To Fix It Why Corporate Training is Broken and How To Fix It Presentation Transcript

  •  Why  Corporate  Training  is  Broken  And  How  to  Fix  It  By Jay Crossjaycross@internettime.com    
  • Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................... 3Where Corporate Learning Came From........................................................................................ 3Corporate Learning Today ............................................................................................................ 5Training is not the same as learning ............................................................................................. 6Corporate Training Is Broken ........................................................................................................ 7 Senior managers are dissatisfied .............................................................................................. 7 Chief Learning Officers Know Training Is Not Working ............................................................. 8 Managers Feel Training Has Scant Impact ............................................................................... 8 Real learning takes place elsewhere ........................................................................................ 9 Workers are disgruntled .......................................................................................................... 10 Training is out of sync with the times ...................................................................................... 11 The Collaborative Organization............................................................................................... 13 1. Collaborative Culture ........................................................................................................... 14 2. Collaborative Motivation ...................................................................................................... 14 3. Collaborative Infrastructure ................................................................................................. 15 4. Collaborative Learning ........................................................................................................ 16 What’s the hurry? .................................................................................................................... 18About Jay Cross .......................................................................................................................... 19About Internet TIme Alliance ....................................................................................................... 19About GoToTraining .................................................................................................................... 20References .................................................................................................................................. 21 2
  • Executive SummaryCorporate training is broken. Training departments are no more at fault than bankruptcompanies like Blockbuster Video, Borders, Silicon Graphics, Nortel Networks, Circuit City,Bethlehem Steel, Smith Corona, Polaroid, Wang Labs, or Underwood Typewriters. They alloffered great products. They all fell behind the times. They were all eclipsed by newtechnologies.The world around corporate training has changed. What worked twenty years ago doesn’t workwell in the social, always-on, networked world of business we now inhabit.Traditional training departments cannot build courses fast enough to keep up with the speed ofchange. Service industries challenge workers to acquire tacit knowledge -- the kind of know-how one learns on the job, not in the classroom. Person-to-person instruction is no longer cost-effective.Industrial organizations are morphing into collaborative organizations. Traditional training isbroken and needs to get back in step with the times.Where Corporate Learning Came FromThe 20th Century was the great age of training.Corporate training was invented in the early 20th century when instruction by senior managersreplaced apprenticeships. General Electric opened the first corporate school. NCR’s JohnPatterson invented the flip chart and conducted the first formal sales training. Managementbecame recognized as a profession, Harvard Business School opened its doors, and the term“executive education” was first used. Frederick Taylor promoted Scientific Management, andtraining’s mission evolved from how to do the job into how to do the job more efficiently.Training became much more formal and important with the advent of World War II as themilitary used boot camp and training films to train millions of men rapidly, while women weretrained to do the jobs the men left behind. The American Society for Training and Developmentwas founded and designers brought a systems focus to training. After the war, big corporationsreplaced small companies. Drucker wrote The Practice of Management. Bureaucraciesmushroomed. White collar workers outnumbered their blue collar colleagues for the first time.Training became a department and a standard facet of every business. 3
  • The social revolution of the 1960s gave rise to the concept that learning is individual. RobertMager and others promoted the profession of instructional design. Malcolm Knowles pointedout that adults learn differently than children. Training technology focused on the person, notthe group: PLATO introduced computer-based training; Stanford pioneered instructionaltelevision; teaching machines and programmed instruction enjoyed brief popularity. DonKirkpatrick proposed a model for measuring the outcomes of training. Standardized coursesand workshops multiplied.The 1980s saw the shift from an industrial to an information economy. Peter Senge promotedfive disciplines that are finally kicking in now, twenty years later: personal mastery, mentalmodels, shared vision, team learning, and systems thinking. Forward-looking companiesestablished corporate universities and tried to become Learning Organizations.In the late 1990s, the web changed everything. eLearning was born. Venture capitalists fundedscores of eLearning companies, most of which disappeared in the dot-com crash a few yearslater. Remember Digital Think, SmartForce, Pensare, NETg, KnowledgeNet, UNext, Docent,One Touch, Centra, InterWise, and their brethren?Many of the corporations that adopted eLearning fell under the same mistaken spell thatbeguiled investors. They counted on big savings in salaries, travel costs, and facilities ascomputers replaced instructors. Some companies bought employees PCs so they could learnat home, on their own time.Vendors churned out page-turners and shovelware. Training departments purchased librariesof this garbage and touted cost savings. Unfortunately, workers avoided these awful courseswhenever possible and training departments sullied their reputations. Apologists who hadfallen for the lure of computerizing all aspects of learning supplemented eLearning with face-to-face meetings and other forms of support and dubbed it “blended learning.”CFOs questioned the return on their companies’ investment in training. Training directorslearned enough accounting to talk about ROI. Unfortunately, Generally Accepted AccountingPrinciples value intangibles such as employee know-how, reduced turnover, and wisdom atzero. As Einstein observed, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everythingthat counts can be counted.” Training became the first area to get the axe when times weretough and many sound programs were gutted. 4
  • Corporate Learning TodayThe American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) reports that companies spend$1,067 per employee (2.7% of payroll) to deliver an average of 32 hours of formal trainingannually.Instructors lead 70% of this training, about 80% of that in person. Many companies are stillcutting expenses by off-loading instructor-led training to automated eLearning but they have aways to go.The remaining 30% of training is delivered via technology, about half of it self-paced (i.e.instructor-free, often dubbed eLearning) and a third by online instructors.However, go to any training conference, including ASTD’s own International Conference andExhibition, and you don’t hear much about instructor-led training or self-paced learning. Peopleat the big events are talking about informal learning, social learning, simulations, webinars,mobile, virtual classrooms, community, interactivity, and web 2.0. What’s up? 5
  • Training is not the same as learningASTD measures only formal training, the workshops, classes, and assignments meted out bytraining departments. That accounts for a mere 5%-10% of the way workers learn their jobs.Workers mostly learn informally, from experience, by trying things out, mimicking what worksfor colleagues, asking questions, making mistakes, and conversing with friends. Savvymanagers expose people working for them to stretch assignments to expand their breadth ofexperience. None of this activity shows up in ASTD’s and other trade organizations’ statistics.The times, they’re a-changin’. The Industrial Age is giving way to the Network Era. In theIndustrial Age, workers were cogs in the machine. They were rewarded for efficiency and formeshing smoothly with their fellow cogs. In the Network Era, workers replace the machine;workers create the value. They are rewarded for delighting customers in innovative and non-routine ways.Training is imposed on people (for example, by the training department), as if they are cogs.Learning is what people choose to take in (whether or not through training), as if they canmake decisions for themselves. Training assumes the trainer is in control; learning puts thelearner at the helm.The distinction is vital because networks are democratizing the workplace, and workers havean increasing amount of say in what they learn and how they learn it. At the risk of soundingageist, it sometimes seems that the younger the worker, the more likely they are to resentbeing told what to do and to expect to be in charge of their own development. The Millennialsare used to having information at their fingertips, used to digesting, sharing and creatinginformation on the web.Training departments are mired in Industrial Age, top-down attitudes, and that’s not playingwell with Network Era, customer-focused workers. 6
  • Corporate Training Is BrokenTraditional training is not keeping pace with reality.Senior managers are dissatisfiedSenior managers don’t think Learning & Development impacts business results. Three-quarters of the nearly 1,500 senior managers at 50 organizations interviewed by the CorporateLeadership Conference were dissatisfied with their companies’ Learning & Developmentfunction. Only one in four reported that L&D was critical to achieving business outcomes.(CLC) Corporate Leadership Council Survey, 2011 7
  • Chief Learning Officers Know Training Is Not WorkingChief Learning Officers aren’t satisfied with the outcomes of current corporate learningpractices. Fewer than one in four Chief Learning Officers surveyed by Internet Time Alliancesaid their employees were learning fast enough to keep up with the needs of the business.(ITA) Internet Time Survey of CLOs, 2009Managers Feel Training Has Scant ImpactUpon reflection, experienced managers agree with what’s come to be known as the 70:20:10model. Knowledge workers learn more than twice as much from experience as from bossesand coaches, and the training department accounts for less half of that. 8
  • Real learning takes place elsewhereTraining professionals acknowledge that social and collaborative activities account for most workplace learning, followedby self-directed learning. Company training comes in dead last. (Hart)   Learning Mode Number of Social & Collaborative Personal Learning Internal Documents Responses Activities Strategies and TrainingCollaborative working within 446 Xyour teamPersonal & professional 426 X Xnetworks & communitiesGeneral conversations and 420 Xmeetings with peopleGoogle search for web 415 XresourcesExternal blogs and news feeds 403 XCurated content from external 377 XsourcesSelf-directed study of external 357 XcoursesInternal company documents 341 XInternal job aids 330 XCompany training 296 X Informal Survey of Importance of Sources of Learning, Centre for Learning Performance Technology, 2012 9
  • Workers learn their jobs in the course of doing their jobs. Study after study finds that 70%-95%of learning in the workplace is informal and experiential. (Studies) Most corporate training is anexample of the “Streetlight Effect.” A police officer asks a man searching for his keys under a streetlight, “Are you sure you lost them here?” To which the man replies, “No, think I lost them in the park.” “Why are you searching here instead of in the park?” asks the police officer. The man replies, “The light is better here.”This analogy is evocative of HR departments that think formal learning courses and workshopsare the way to achieve learning and development success. These departments are searchingunder the streetlight rather than in the park.Workers are disgruntledWorkers are frustrated with corporate training because outside the firewall they have betterequipment, enjoy unrestricted access to the riches of the Internet, and find it easier to networkwith friends and acquaintances.Training has such a bad reputation that executive coaches have been forced to change thewords they use in conversation with senior managers. Instead of bringing up learning, they talkabout working smarter. Here are what the forbidden words really mean and how executivesinterpret them. 10
  • Taboo Term Meaning What Executives Hear Better to Say Training Building capacity, improving performance Schooling. Ineffective. Not on my Working smarter dime. Social Collaboration, collective intelligence. Goofing off, Facebook, the football Collaborative pool. Informal Predominant way people learn to do their Haphazard, lackadaisical, sloppy. Experiential jobs. Continuous. Natural. eLearning Generally, useless shovelware. Inexpensive alternative to training. Online Learning Definition of training terms in the minds of executives.Training is out of sync with the timesTraditional training departments can no longer build courses fast enough to keep up with the speed of change. Serviceindustries challenge workers to acquire tacit knowledge -- the kind of know-how one learns on the job, not in theclassroom.Most workers have better connections to the Internet and social software at home than on the job. 11
  • INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS COLLABORATIVE ORGANIZATIONSTimeframe Industrial Age Network Era 1800 - 2010 2010 – futureOrganization is... Machine, clockwork à Living organism, collaborative, networkExpected from workers... Loyalty, compliance, efficiency à Create value, higher purposeTime orientation Past, conformity à Future, innovationControl Top-down, push, obedience, à Bi-directional, pull, autonomy, command and control and shareGovernance Dictatorial à DemocraticIncentives Extrinsic, carrot and stick à Intrinsic, purpose-driven, fulfillmentInfrastructure Rigid, factory à Flexible, openRelationships based on... Power à TrustLearning Classes and courses à Conversations and experience The world of business is undergoing a profound shift. Workers are making more of their own decisions. They don’t want to be told what to do. They want to learn but they don’t want to be trained. Learning is shifting from top-down to bottom-up and sideways. Collaboration is replacing command and control. 12
  • It’s not that training departments have started screwing up; it’s that the world around them haschanged. Training departments push training, while workers search and ask for the informationthey need. Both just want to get the job done, but they’re operating in different eras. Thedisparity creates a power struggle that the workers are destined to win.Industrial-age hierarchies are evolving into collaborative networks. Corporate learning mustfollow suit.The Collaborative OrganizationEvery business has one foot in the Industrial Age and the other in the Network Era. It’s noteither/or but rather a matter of degree. The evolution from Command-and-Control tocollaborative organization occurs along many dimensions.Organizational transformation is a journey of a thousand steps. One aspect moves forward andanother tugs it back. Momentum builds and progress occurs on multiple dimensions. It’s nothealthy when one sector of the organization runs far ahead of the others. Simply bolting oninformal and social learning as a new technique doesn’t work. A company cannot take fulladvantage of networked learning without shifting its values, culture, and practices. It mustmove toward becoming a collaborative organization.Aspects of the Collaborative Organization 13
  • Let’s examine four early steps toward becoming a collaborative organization:1. Collaborative CultureTrust is fundamental to being collaborative. You don’t collaborate with people you don’t trust.Conversations are the stem cells of learning and trust lubricates conversation. Together, we’reall smarter than any of us; that’s why collaboration works.Bill Graham was a salesman for Allis-Chalmers in New Jersey before he became a rockpromoter in San Francisco. He told me that when it comes to trust, the cultures of the EastCoast and the West Coast were really different. “On the East Coast, nobody trusts you untilthey check you out, know where you went to school, who your friends are, and where you live.On the West Coast, everybody trusts you until you screw up.” (Graham)Managers in collaborative organizations trust workers to be guided by corporate values andmission. Trust drives out micro-management.2. Collaborative MotivationGallup reports that 49% of employees are not actively engaged and that 18% are activelydisengaged. Those who are not actively engaged aren’t adding to the bottom line; the activelydisengaged are subtracting from it. (Gallup)When management has high expectations of workers, they generally live up to them. Whenexpectations are low, workers live down to them. Collaborative motivation dispenses with theconcept that managers control workers. Instead, managers should inspire workers, setexpectations, and get out of the way.Dan Pink’s marvelous book, Drive, the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,demonstrates that knowledge workers are motivated by a sense of autonomy, mastery, and apurpose that is great than themselves. (Pink) • Autonomy, the desire to direct our own lives. • Mastery, the urge to get better and better at something that matters. • Purpose, the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. 14
  • Autonomy, mastery, and purpose motivate people more than money. In fact, too much moneyeradicates intrinsic motivation and degrades performance.“Getting out of the way” is the path to autonomy. Wise managers take control by giving control.Mastery of skills and accomplishments are the direct result of applying that autonomy. Purposesets the goals and frees the worker to act in their pursuit. Collaborative companies inspireworkers by replacing rulebooks with shared beliefs and freeing workers to make their ownchoices in upholding the organization’s values.3. Collaborative InfrastructureCollaborative Infrastructure is the circuitry that connects workers with what they need to workand learn: co-workers, information, customers, news, models, plans, directives, gossip, andmore. I call these the “knows.” This table maps the knows to the infrastructure elements thatsupport them: Supporting Infrastructure The “Know” Profiles, expertise locators Know who Conversations, network Know how Purpose, aspiration, motivation Know why Content management systems, wikis, blogs, Know what curation Feeds, Tweets, streams Know now Search, tags, indexes, rankings Know where Know when Project management, shared calendarHow workers connect to colleagues and knowledge. 15
  • Workers collaborate to solve problems and come up with fresh thinking. They donʼt learn aboutthese things; they learn by doing them. Deep learning is experiential.You can put knowledge into a worker’s head through learning, or into the job itself which wecall performance support. Should we make people learn the knowledge or should we put it intoan app? Do I need to memorize something or simply know where to find it when I need it? It’s aperennial trade-off.Job knowledge stored in worker’s head (Kelly)In the old days, when knowledge workers were not tethered to the Internet, workers storedmost of the knowledge they needed in their heads. Now they store information in their outboardbrains -- their hard drive, or, more likely, the cloud. Performance support is a vital piece of thecollaborative infrastructure.4. Collaborative LearningCollaborative Learning is learning without borders. Organizations improve it by removingobstacles, seeding communities, increasing bandwidth, encouraging conversation, andgrowing networks. It’s a natural way to learn and grow.The pace of progress is faster than ever before. A rising tide of information threatens to swampus all. People work at one career after another. Workers must learn all the time to remainproductive and relevant. Organizations that fail to learn will die.Learning can no longer take place outside of work: you’d miss too much. Besides, learning onthe job is more effective than learning outside of the job. Learning must be embedded in work.As a result, work and learning are becoming indistinguishable. The work is learning andlearning is the work. 16
  • Work and learning are converging.Follow these steps to get a jump on collaborative learning in your organization. . • Focus on helping high performers work smarter; novices aren’t the only people who need to learn. • Stop punishing people for failed experiments; if you never fail, you’re not innovating. • Create a directory that enables people to locate who knows what. • Apply the 80/20 rule to critical functions and seed communities of practice around them. • Encourage people to narrate their work, documenting what they do to share with others. • Root out information hoarding; make sharing the norm. Some companies fire hoarders. • Reduce cycle time: with instant messaging, Twitter, and podcasts, the world’s not going any slower. • When feasible, substitute self-service and peer learning for workshops. 17
  • What’s the hurry?The urgency of boarding the train to collaborative learning depends on your organization. Ifyour company is becoming a social business, installing social networks, and experimentingwith collaborative culture, your train has already left the station. Traditional training will be leftbehind, but companies who evolve and move toward informal learning will not.Aside from the opportunity to emerge a hero instead of a goat, bear in mind that: • The generation coming into the work force has no patience for spoon-feeding, single- track instruction, or working alone. • Boomers are leaving the work force, taking their knowledge with them unless it is transferred to newcomers by collaborative means. • As the global economy shifts from factory work to service work, workers need the human, judgmental expertise and emotional intelligence that one doesn’t learn in class. • A flat world means global competition, faster production cycles, and more to keep up with. • Time is speeding up. It’s impractical to try to learn in advance when what you need to know won’t stand still. 18
  • About Jay CrossJay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He is CEO and Chief Unlearning Officer of Internet Time Alliance, which helpscorporations and governments use networks to accelerate performance.Jay has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by theUniversity of Phoenix. A champion of informal learning and systems thinking, Jay’s calling is to create happier, more productiveworkplaces. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He literally wrote the book on Informal Learning.Jay works from the Internet Time Lab in Berkeley, high in the hills a dozen miles east of the Golden Gate Bridge and a mile and a halffrom the University. People visit the Lab to spark innovation and think fresh thoughts.http://jaycross.comAbout Internet TIme AllianceThe Internet Time Alliance advises organizations how to get their people learning, working, and innovating in Internet time. Social,collaborative learning enables corporations to draw strength from the competence, ingenuity, and autonomy of their people.The Internet Time Alliance helps its clients minimize time to performance, increase responsiveness to customers, and challengeworkers to be all they can be.http://internettimealliance.com 19
  • About GoToTrainingOnline Training Made Easy™Citrix GoToTraining is an easy-to-use online training service that allows you to move your entire training program online for moreefficient customer and employee training. Hold unlimited online training sessions with up to 200 attendees from around the worldright from your Mac or PC. Reach more trainees, collect real-time feedback, record and store your training sessions and more – allwhile slashing travel costs.To learn more, visit www.GoToTraining.com. 20
  • References(ASTD) ASTD 2011 State of the Industry Report: ASTD’s Annual Review of Workplace Learning and Development Datahttp://astd.org(CLC) How can we improve the impact of the L&D function on business outcomes?Corporate Leadership Council, Corporate Executive Boardretrieved from the Web June 14, 2012.https://ldr.executiveboard.com/Public/PDFs/Driving_Business_Impact.pdf(Studies) Where did the 80% come from? http://www.informl.com/where-did-the-80-come-from/ This page lists research from theBureau of Labor Statistics, the Institute for Research on Learning, Connor, Raybould, Education Development Center, CapitalWorksLLC, Canadian National Research Network on New Approaches to Lifelong Learning, eLearning Guild, and Good Practices.(ITA) Internet Time Survey of CLOsretrieved from the Web June 22, 2012http://www.jaycross.com/wp/2009/09/corporate-learning-not-preparing-workers-for-the-future/(Hart) Only 14% think that company training is an essential way for them to learn in the workplacehttp://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/2012/04/16/only-12-think-that-company-training-is-an-essential-way-for-them-to-learn-in-the-workplace/(Gallup) Employee Engagement Overview http://www.gallup.com/consulting/121535/Employee-Engagement-Overview-Brochure.aspx(Pink) Drive, http://www.danpink.com/drive(Kelly) The New Knowledge Worker: Enabling the Next Generationhttp://clomedia.com/articles/view/the_new_knowledge_worker_enabling_the_next_generation 21