Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2018 - 55
SECRETS OF SOURCING
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF
TR AINING FUNC TION
There continues to be a lot written
about the need to transform the training
function. And for good reason. Many
training leaders are looking for ways to
improve the training function and to
make it more economical and effective.
TECHNOLOGIES TO BE A
SOLUTION WHEN THE BASIC
PROCESS IS NOT SOUND.
Much of the discussion is focused on
digital transformation and how to use
technologies more effectively. I believe
we are not talking enough about what
we should be transforming our training
function to. Are we managing the function
correctly and what behaviors should we
be displaying? These are the basics, or
what I like to refer to as the fundamentals
of managing the training function.
At Training Industry, we study the practices
of high-performing training organizations
to better understand what and why
some organizations achieve better
results than others. We've learned that
great training organizations focus on the
basics of training management: strategic
delivery, administration, technology
reporting, and diagnostics. From many of
my conversations with leaders of training
functions that are not performing well,
most believe they are focused on the same
So, what then makes some organizations
perform better than others? It starts with
leadership. Managers of great training
organizations practice fundamentals
and understand they don't need to jump
on all the new fads and trends in the
industry. Trends tell us a lot about where
the industry is headed but may not always
be best for that organization. From where
I sit, managing a high-performing training
organization is more about sticking to
the basics - the principles of learning and
training management that stand the test
Here are seven fundamentals to help
learning leaders in achieving great results.
1. Focus on performance. Training is
a performance organization, not a
classroom or events management
activity. The focus of the training
organization is to help the business
and individuals within the business
to perform better. Our responsibility
to the learner does not end when
the course is over. It ends when an
individual achieves a targeted level of
2. Design learning solutions for jobs
or tasks - not for topics. Training
is about helping a learner perform
a task or a role, not providing them
with information. Yes, courses that
communicate information help us
understand what we should be doing,
but our training must teach a learner
how to do a job, not what doing a
good job looks like.
3. Be process excellent. Good
processes beget good behaviors.
organizations are an integration
of many processes. If your training
processes are well-designed and
managed, then those who perform
the processes of training will deliver
a better training experience.
4. Performance improvement takes
time. Training is not a single event.
Ebbinghaus taught us that learning
best occurs over an extended
period of time (spacing effect), not
when we consume large amounts
of information in a single setting.
An effective learning solution
integrates all aspects of learning -
from onboarding, formal training,
reinforcement, and evaluation.
5. Design practice into daily job
routines. It is a well-understood
truth that the best way to learn
something is to do it. Practice is
doing and should be deliberate.
Design practice into the learning
experience, and that includes onthe-job routines. Make practice an
ongoing improvement routine.
6. Reinforce good behavior. Ongoing
performance improvement comes
from the reinforcement of good
behavior and best practices.
Reinforcement should be an ongoing
activity, whether it be from access
to timely information or reminders
of what is expected and needed on
7. Technology is an enabler. Tools
and technologies for learning are
not solutions chasing a problem.
They are enablers that help us do the
fundamentals effectively and more
efficiently. Use technologies to help
with the learning experience, but
don't expect them to be a solution
when the basic process is not sound.
Doug Harward is the CEO of Training
Industry, Inc. and a former learning leader
in the high-tech industry. Email Doug.
T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - BACK TO BASICS 2018 I W WW. T RAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2018