10 things people do that takes their training off target and causes it to miss the mark

Training is expensive, both in terms of time and resources. Learn from the dancing lion team and avoid making the common mistakes that can sabotage your learning event.

  1. Not knowing where the target is.  It may sound strange but many people embark on training before clearly defining an end outcome and learning objectives.  For operational managers this is usually because they are used thinking of KPIs rather than the behaviours that produce the results. A poorly defined brief will result in poor outcomes.
  2. Not allowing the trainer to have access to the participants or their work environment in order to ask questions and carry out essential pre-course preparation. This usually occurs when multiple stakeholders are involved in larger organisations.
  3. Making attendance compulsory and giving the minimum information to participants before the event. A common mistake, seen in command and control structures. It may work in life threatening situations to order people about but it’s likely to produce resistance in most modern day commercial settings. If learners arrive at the training feeling disgruntled or resentful it’s a barrier to be overcome, before they can learn.
  4. Pitching the training content too high or too low for the audience. Unless participants are engaged and aware they are receiving value, they will switch off. Once a group has decided the training isn’t working it can be hard to bring them back in. Make sure the content is stimulating and easily understood, without being too simplistic.
  5. Not structuring the course with the right balance between theory, demonstrations and practical work. Bombarding people with too many presentations will cause information overload. Equally an experiential training design, whilst stimulating, may not provide the structure that newer staff require. Again, knowing your audience and having clear learning objectives will help to define the structure.
  6. Assuming everyone learns in the same way. Of course they don’t. All of your participants will have individual learning styles. An effective training programme will be designed and delivered to appeal to a range of learning styles, ensuring that all of the group are catered for.
  7. Choosing the wrong trainer for the group. You want someone who will inspire, challenge, entertain and inform.  They need to have credibility,  be approachable and genuinely care about their subject and the participants. Match the trainer style with your group. Meet the trainer(s) before so you can gauge their interpersonal skills and access their style and experience. They may be good trainers, but are they the right ones for your team?
  8. Not setting up the logistics for an effective training programme. There is  quite a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to have a training be a success. Some factors that need to be considered are: deciding on the audience, where is will be held (online or face to face, or both), the duration of the sessions, when to take breaks, disability access.
  9. Not reviewing progress through simple process checks. Waiting  until the end of the programme before engaging with the participants or the trainer. Setting up review points throughout the programme to listen to feedback and capture learning points. There is a host of things that can be learned about your people, how they relate to their work, the operational challenges they face, how the training is being received and more. 
  10. Not evaluating the outcomes from the training programme. Most people access the immediate reaction of the participants to the event and that is useful in finding out how the training was received. However it is insufficient. To hit the commercial targets you need to know how the new skills and knowhow are being supported and applied in the workplace.  It’s crucial to involve the managers and know the measurable results at departmental and company level.

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