Any organization involved in training and development for their staff should consider what improvements will take place as a result of greater research. When you look at the results of the key developments so far it can be reasonably expected that the trends will continue.
These three significant trends will have a considerable influence on the future of training and learning.
Firstly, how training is delivered. Up to a few years ago, organisational training was delivered generally in programmes that lasted 3 to 5 days. And generally it was delivered off-site. Although this had benefits, it was a “one-size-fits-all” process that created only very limited results back in the workplace. Attempts to improve the process included computer based training. High hopes were held for this sort of training but early attempts to produce the sort of content delivered in the traditional manner were mostly unsuccessful.
Currently, one day training programs are commonplace and are often regarded as good value. Businesses are reluctant to take people out of the workforce for extended periods of time because of the cost and the loss of productivity. Small modules of e-learning are also popular because of their relatively low cost and short duration of an hour or less.
Secondly, integration. Traditional training programs would be delivered through one medium. This was often the face-to-face event and cynically named, “spray and pray.” This was the process of talking at a group, spraying information and praying that some of it would stick. At this time, computer based training and e-learning were considered as supplements to the face-to-face instruction type training. There was considerable hype regarding the future of e-learning and predictions were made of huge cost savings by replacing all face-to-face training methods.
There has been a strong trend towards “blended” learning. This is an integrated programme which combines face-to-face training and e-learning modules. This can be effective from a learning point of view and economical from the organisational point of view.
Thirdly, tailor-made learning programs. There has been a gradual movement from the “off-the-shelf training programs” to ones which are designed specifically for the organisation to produce desired results. Whilst you used to attend the same management program as all your colleagues, this is changing. Although the “off-the-shelf training programs” did have some results they often fail to meet the needs of the individuals.
As programmes have developed into shorter, more concise modules it has been easier to tailor programmes that meet the needs of the organisations and individuals. This has required the development of more sophisticated training needs analysis, better design and more stringent assessment of behavioural change in the workplace.
These trends have been driven by the needs of the organisation in terms of efficiency and productivity to improve their competitiveness. This has created a more intelligent approach to learning and development. In turn, this has driven a better diagnosis of individual needs based on the gap between their current skills and their desired skills.
There has been a more individual and job-centric development in terms of training and learning programs. The focus has been on the delivery of knowledge, understanding and practice by using the most appropriate methods to create the desired result. One of the more successful outcomes has been that the learner’s progress is supported during the learning process through coaching on-the-job.