A recent report “The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice” informs us about how to best apply training solutions. One of the most important things that “matters”, is that training should be viewed as a whole system and not a one-time event.
Not only does this mean that what happens before and after the actual training is just as important as the training itself. But more importantly, training must be applied appropriately as part of a larger set of solutions.
Looking at things holistically it is easy to see that there are performance challenges that can not be solved by training. For example, looking at the Six Boxes Model below, we see the categories of factors that influence behavior. How many of these can be “fixed” via training?
Training is only appropriate for application to factors within Skills & Knowledge category. Using training in an effort to impact other types of performance factors will not likely be very successful and can even do more harm than good. (Not to mention the impact to your and your departments reputation.)
So before you run off to build your next training program, make sure you’ve validated that training is an appropriate response. If training is appropriate be sure that your effort is “informed by the science”.
Often a solution may require several other elements in addition to training, so even when a training component makes sense you should also look to see if there are any additional complimentary approaches that will take you closer to your goal.
Remember most of us are no longer living in a world of generous training budgets (if you were EVER lucky enough to have that experience!) so looking for solutions holistically and expanding our solution set beyond training will enable us to be more efficient and therefore that much more valuable to our organizations.