Training for the future: Stop the parlour games and look at the learner’s evidence

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, poor workplace training is a major cause of employee churn. 

Employers aren’t entirely to blame for this, as many have had to invent their training processes from the ground up. These processes mostly consist of a basic ‘one-size-fits-all’ paper or Word document-based approach to tracking employees’ capabilities. The overarching challenge that this presents is delivering training that is engaging for employees, whilst allowing employers to efficiently and accurately measure and monitor employee development.

WorkTrendsTM study found that employees from organisations that invest more on training scored 40 per cent higher in engagement levels than employees from organisations that don’t. As such, innovative and better-quality approaches to training and development are needed to keep today’s employees engaged, satisfied and progressing, with minimal cost to employers. 

The one dimension challenge

Many training programmes today centre on having employees sit tests, answer questions, or read theory on paper or Word documents. This approach presents issues for both the employer and employee. Firstly, its one-dimensional nature means employers cannot capture evidence of employees’ abilities to perform an actual skill, only their knowledge and, often, their understanding of it. Displaying evidence of skills can be extremely useful in the workplace, particularly within vocational professions, as it can help employers understand how capable their workers are. However, using dated methods means it is practically impossible to evidence these skills in a large-scale, cost-effective and efficient manner.

Tracking individual employee development is another issue. Maintaining a plethora of various training documents and keeping them organised is a challenge; one which makes it tricky for employers to oversee exactly how each employee is progressing and to identify training gaps. Such issues lead many employers to use a broad-brush approach to training, whereby all employees undergo the same programmes. This wastes the employee’s (billed) time when they do not need the specific training. It can also end up costing employers large sums of money, as they allocate resources on training more people than necessary.

Current methods of training are completely out of sync with the habits of the modern workforce. According to research from Ovum, 70 percent of employees use their personal devices for work purposes, while figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown that close to 14 percent of the UK population now work remotely. With digital adoption only set to increase in future, is it right that businesses are still relying on these archaic methods to train employees? Could employers take advantage of this digital and connected world to deliver flexible, engaging and more cost-effective training programmes fit for the 21st century worker?

21st century training

One solution for overcoming these challenges and bringing workplace training into the 21st century is to use cloud based evidencing technology. For instance, businesses can more efficiently capture evidence of employee’ skills through the use of video. Employees can film themselves performing their training tasks on their own devices, and then upload them to a digital training portfolio. An online repository of each employee’s training programme can take the pain away from managing and distributing training assignments, as well as tracking the development of each employee.

Apart from the obvious efficiency benefits that this provides, the key benefit is it gives employers the opportunity to deliver personalised employee training programmes. Personalised training can allow employers to better nurture and develop each employee; they could quickly identify areas for improvement as well as particular skills sets in workers that could benefit the business. Employees also stand to profit, as a tailored approach to training can help them progress faster in the workplace and will be seen as more valuable than the one-size-fits-all approach.

The modern employee is almost always connected, if not to a work device than to a personal one. With training being delivered online, employers can empower employees to participate however and whenever they like, increasing the likelihood of them completing it. Furthermore, the evidence-based element brings a new and engaging concept to traditional workplace training. By combining this with personalisation, employers finally have a high-quality, modern training approach to offer employees.

It’s a matter of evidence

The methods of workplace training are yet to catch up with the habits of the 21st century workforce. As a result, the employee will continue to be disappointed with the training and development practices on offer. To promote a happier and more motivated workforce, employers must consider investing in newer and more innovative approaches to workplace training. Evidence-based training is one way to increase both engagement and efficiency for the businesses, without severe cost – killing two birds with one stone.  


About the author

Dan Sandhu is chairman and CEO of Digital Assess



Training Journal

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