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Training Manager Discusses His New eLearning Project (Interview)

Edward Cam is currently the Manager of the Chamberlain Training Academy. He directs development, deployment, and delivery of training programs for The Chamberlain Group, Inc. serving employees and dealers.

Q. What kind of projects have you been working on lately?

One particular project that I am proud of is the addition of web based and rapid eLearning to our portfolio of training offerings. It was a very exciting time for our team who had never used electronic media to develop and deliver training. My staff was thrilled to go to eLearning training workshops to add those skill sets to their belts.

A strategy that proved to be particularly effective in helping my team make the addition of on-line training was to choose a couple of good books on design and delivery of on-line training. Each one of us had to study a couple of chapters and teach it to the rest of the team and then demonstrate it using on-line delivery tools. This proved to be a very fun and non-threatening exercise where it was OK to make mistakes while practicing the newly acquired skills.

Another activity that was very effective during our learning process was to sign ourselves as a team to a couple of webinars a month. Right after attending we would get together and critique how the facilitator delivered the content, the logistics that a producer has to go through, and identify best design practices to maximize audience’s participation and engagement.

Q. Would you mind sharing a few of those books you used with our readers?

The e-learning guild has some really good titles: ● The e-learning guild’s handbook on synchronous learningThe e-learning guild’s handbook on e-learning strategy

I am also a big fan of Tom Kuhlmann’s blog on eLearning, his book Becoming a Rapid eLearning Pro has some really good tips and trick for people just getting started on doing eLearning instructional design.

Q. What have you found to be the greatest challenges in the training profession today?

I believe one of the greatest challenges we face as training professionals is to match our performance metrics with our company’s strategic goals. The easier metrics are training hours, level 1 surveys, etc. but this is rarely important in the eyes of the C-suite.

When it comes down to how training and development will impact the company’s bottom line in terms of revenue, increased sales, reducing defects, improving productivity, increasing job satisfaction, reducing attrition, etc. it becomes very challenging to show the direct impact we have in our business.

Q. Measuring the ROI of training is definitely tough for a lot of training professionals. What kind of metrics or feedback methods do you use?

For my staff we use delivery observations, on-time delivery, project management documentation, level 1 or end-of-class surveys, and design performance checklists to ensure we are hitting sound design considerations. I provide them performance feedback on a monthly one-on-one meeting.

There are Key Performance Indicators our customers use to measure their own performance, which provides data to find out where the training gaps are and if the training was effective addressing them. Effective and timely feedback has to come from their line managers to provide coaching and guidance to underperforming employees.

Q. What makes retrieving feedback difficult?

The different systems that are used by the floor to keep track of performance information sometimes are not very user friendly or it may be that their KPI are scattered in pieces from several sources, and if this is the case you need to establish a good relationship with supervisors to obtain needed information from them in a timely manner.

*Q. How can our readers stay on top of trends in the training and development field? *

First of all I would recommend they join professional associations such as ASTD, ISPI, The e-learning guild, etc. Find out if they have local chapters and join them to meet other training and development professionals in their area who they can connect with and have a fresh set of eyes who understand training and can look at our projects from an outside perspective.

Another great strategy to keep current is to be part of a virtual community of practice. There are many groups available in services like linked-in where you may ask questions and share your experience with like-minded professionals.

I mention this because sometimes we get involved in our own world and it is my experience that everyone around us in the corporate world think they know all there is to know about training because they have done some training sessions in the past but in reality haven’t had any formal training on how to become professional trainers.

Being part of a professional network either live virtual or both allows us to stay sharp and current with all advancements in our field and keep our focus on how training can be most effective at helping improve employee performance in the workplace.

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