How to Kill a Training Program (Excerpt)

Our CEO, Kim Barnes co-wrote an excellent article on training programs for  Professionally Speaking, the blog for the Executive Communications website. Kim co-wrote the article with John Castaldi, formerly a trainer with Sun Microsystems. John is currently in a similar capacity with Symantec.

Kim and John tackled the subject of training programs with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. The title of the article is “How to Kill a Training Program: Eight Easy Steps to Make Your Training Programs Irrelevant.” Kim and John have a combined 50 years of training experience; they certainly would know what works and what doesn’t!

Below is a brief excerpt from the article (1):

1. Call any required pre-class study “pre-work.”
First and foremost, if you call any pre-class assignment “pre-work” you will discount its importance. This will convey that the “pre-work” is not part of the “real work” that happens in the workshop. Besides, who enjoys studying in their free time, anyway?

Bonus: During the actual class, be sure to ignore the pre-work and avoid all references to the “pre-work” assignment.

2. Ignore lessons from media or game producers.
Television newscasts utilize many techniques to keep their audiences from switching channels. Video and computer game producers have mastered ways to keep their users engaged. In these media, viewers observe a change of pace, variation in tone, and a range of activities and movement. We are not in the entertainment business, so these techniques do not apply to the classroom. By staying frozen in both position and voice, you can be sure that more important work, such as answering emails and sending text messages, will occur during class. These days we need not worry about keeping our audience engaged. They probably will be engaged—just not with us.

The rest of the eight steps are listed below:

3. Make sure slides emphasize quantity, not quality.

4. Remember that the devil is in the details.

5. Celebrate training for training’s sake.

6. Keep leaders out of the way.

7. Lecture for 100 percent of the classroom time.

8. Bury online learning resources.

If you are a trainer, facilitator, and/or presenter, do yourself  a favor and read the entire article.

–Joel Kleinbaum

(1) “How to Kill a Training Program” by B. Kim Barnes and John Castaldi, published on Executive Communications website, September 19, 2009

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