Do I Really Need to Be on This Training Course?

This post addresses that age-old question that so many people ask the day before the training course.  ‘Do I really need to be on this training course?’
As an individual, manager, business owner, or even as the HR function, you’ll have asked yourself this question. Particularly as you had what felt like a million and one emails to deal with. Or a report to write, meetings to go to or and a project to get back on track. The truth behind this question is that the learner does not value the 8 hours they are investing in the training. And compare that to the 8 hours they have lost sitting on a training course.

As people who have sat on training courses many years ago, thinking the same question and now as trainers, we remember that feeling of frustration. This frustration usually spills out into either being irritated by the first thing we can find to annoy us, or trying to fit a day’s work into the 15-minute breaks during the day, without success, or spending our energy proving that the day was a complete write-off and making sure that everyone at work knows this as soon as possible after.
All of which is a ‘pointless exercise’, as Liam Neeson said in ‘Taken’ just after he’d driven a 6-inch nail into the knee of an Albanian that had kidnapped his daughter (!). Add to this frustration the deck of slides, handouts and manuals, that we were given at the end of the course to read and the intuitive knowledge that we’ll only remember 20% of what we have learnt, and we genuinely have a ‘pointless exercise’.

So, are we right to ask, “Do I really need to be on this course?”

A resounding yes. The only part we would change is when to ask it. It should not only be during the course, but before, during, and after. Please let us explain why…
We believe that the key to training is to achieve a ‘Return On Investment’ (ROI). An ROI for the company and the individual. One can only achieve this if they achieve the final outcome. And that is to deliver long-term behavioural change for the individual. For example, if a learner takes part in a time management course, the management of their time needs to be positively different 12 months after the course. And not just the next day after the course. If the individual is prioritising their time better, they are more satisfied at work, making them more productive, which means they are achieving more for the company. A win-win. To achieve an ROI is our ‘reason for being’ at MBM. This is what we decided to deliver to the company and the individual. And here’s 3 insights into how:

1. The Forgetting Curve

Our trainers completely understand the value of the research into memory and how much it forgets and how quickly it forgets. By understanding these proven facts, we can put in play items that will improve the amount retained from learning to achieve the long-term behavioural change. For example, 30 days after the course the chance of remembering what has been learnt is as low as 30%, which is why our learners follow the Sticky Learning ® method to improve their chances of retaining what they have learnt greatly.

A pink sticker with an icon of a white brain on it and Sticky Learning underneath

Sticky Learning Brain Logo

2. Learning Styles

Each of us has a particular learning style if we use it well we learn more. And also more quickly as well as retain more. Before a course, each learner takes advantage of our ‘Learning to Learn’ training course, where they learn their learning style so that they can help themselves and the trainer to help them learn more, more quickly and retain more. As someone once wrote, ‘What is the best way to ride a horse? The way it is going?’.


3. What no handouts?

No handouts, slides, manuals or any other papers during an MBM course. This is because we know from experience learners leave a course with the intention to reread the slides. Of course, because the course is always so good. A year later, during an office clear out, the slides are found and binned. We use a tool we built called ‘Keepers’ to help learners capture their own set of personal notes for them, captured in a way that suits them, with notes that have meaning for them.
In summary, we believe that a learner should ask “Do I really need to be on this course?” because if they don’t ask we’ll be helping them to ask themselves this question before the course, during the course and after the course, with our ‘Individual Learning Objective’ tool.
If you’d like a copy of this tool, please contact us using the button below with the words ‘Individual Learning Objective’, and we’d be happy to share because we want to put an end to this question being asked and leave Liam Neeson to debate ‘pointless exercises’.

How do you avoid the question ‘Do I really need to be on this course?’ for your team? Please share your view by commenting below.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar for Darren A. Smith
    Oscar Vallance
    February 14, 2016 2:28 pm

    Great idea, specifically the lack of handouts given. Its more sensible and fits in perfect with the rest of Sticky Learning ®, which is an amazing concept.

  • Interesting thought to make the Return on Investment a focus, as it shows the training has worked after a 12 month period. Impressive that this is deemed so important as I too agree that there is no point being on a training course if you have nothing to show for it, especially after a year! Otherwise its just a waste of money!
    +++

  • Its alway a thought from everyone at training courses, as to whether they need to be there or not. So this is a great issue to address, and I think the author has executed it perfectly.

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