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Tips to Make Your Training More Effective (Interview)

Dr. David Glenz works at Johnson Controls in the Global Learning Development for the Building Efficiency division. Part of Dave’s responsibility is crafting learning and performance improvements for an audience that is both local and global. The department’s “design globally” and “customize locally” mentality is what has propelled his organization to become a nimble organization that rapidly responds.

In this interview Dave leaves you with some tips that can improve how you train. He can be reached via LinkedIn as well as on Masie’s Learning Town.

Q. How can organizations prevent the loss of knowledge, the stalling of initiatives, and the difficulty of dealing with new hires when an employee leaves?

The answer is look to your customers for what they need and go back from there. Customer needs perpetuate business metrics, which provide measurements.

Next determine which competencies (behavioral and skill-based) are needed to accommodate both customer need and meeting the metrics. Once your competencies are identified (which should be tailored by now), you are then able to craft learning. This learning should be sufficient as it fits the needs of a given role.

On boarding should also be flexible for experienced people that might be familiar with certain topics. Finally, on boarding should include mentoring and coaching. Mentoring to allow learners to explore topics further with a trusted advocate. Coaching by the manager to ensure learners keep the skills sharp and up to date post-on boarding.

Q. How can organizations make their training more effective?

Our customers are really interested in a total solution that goes beyond your “run of the mill” training deliverable with an assessment at the end. I believe for training to be effective it needs to allow for continuous improvement, which may involve an added application component along with peer mentoring and coaching from management.

In today’s economy the stakes are high and employing a “Learn, Apply, Achieve” methodology can help employees be more than book smart, but instead be street smart, creating ingenious solutions that help their customers win.

In my professional opinion, learning that is crafted to higher order thinking is the best solution as it creates an environment of thought leaders and accomplished “do’ers.”

Q. How might the role of a human resources or training & development professional adapt to this new 21st century landscape?

We all need to face the reality that children born in the digital age are using computers and other electronic devices at an earlier age. Many of these children are now entering high school and before long will be entering the professional workforce.

Needless to say, tomorrow’s professional learning environment most likely will be more interactive and complex than today. Portable devices such as the iPad or small, mobile devices with computing capability mean learning is not restricted or tethered to a standard desktop.

Another way HR can cope with the 21st century is keeping a closer eye on the needs of the business, which actually goes all the way back to the needs of our customers. If you pay attention to our business landscape, you’ll see that it is in constant change.

With that, HR departments need to be flexible, nimble, and open to becoming more global. Change should be given and embraced, not seen as a hindrance. To me, this is what makes work exciting.

Q. What resources would you recommend for our human resources and training & development readers? Why do you recommend them?

I ‘m a firm believer in what is practical and less academic, which may seem like an oxymoron since I have a Ph.D. If I could offer readers a couple of pointers it would be to keep your training “real” and enable learners to engage in discovery through peer networking. Perhaps this is where social networking might fit in.

Action learning is good because it puts learners in the driver seat for their own learning. In this case, the facilitator is more of a guide to make sure learners are engaged and on the right path. The solutions will be more creative and possibly provide value to the overall business.

Secondly, keep an eye on what youth are interested in, which seems to include anything technology related. It may seem far-fetched but understanding the next generation of training will keep you ahead of the curve when the baby boomers leave and the Nintendo generation is firmly entrenched.

One group that I keep an eye on is Dr. Kurt Squire’s Games Learning and Society team at the University of Wisconsin.

Best of luck to all my colleagues out there. Feel free to contact me via my LinkedIn page.

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