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Is Your Professional Development Content Just Checking A Box?

How much of your organization’s most precious resources (time and money) go into professional development?

Good organizations understand that their people are actually the most valuable assets they have, and they commit precious resources like time and money to developing their people’s skill and potential.

But what do they actually get in return?

How Valuable is Professional Development?

Just to be clear, we’re not questioning the value of developing your people. Far from it!

But in most cases, “professional development” means training…after training…after training without considering the actual purpose or value of these sessions.

What training is really meant to do is build not only adequate knowledge and skills, but enough confidence to actually apply the knowledge and skills that people change their behavior in a way that improves their work. However, most training focuses primarily on building knowledge, which is very different from inspiring behavior change.

What Successful Training DOESN’T Looks Like

True skill development doesn’t come from people sitting quietly in a room being lectured at, or passively consuming information without the chance to implement and practice what they learn.

Successful training focuses on behavior change: having people learn and be able to implement what they learn, thereby changing their future work behaviors for the better. And that can’t happen with information being passively consumed without practicing its implementation with guidance and support.

Let’s use a common example: Youtube. How many times have you watched a video tutorial on Youtube and “kinda-sorta” learned from it? You get the basic gist of what the video was saying, but when you try to implement what you’ve learned and get to the point when you have a question or need support, you’re stuck. You can’t complete the project.

And because you can’t complete it, the tutorial you watched was functionally useless.

Unfortunately, that experience is a common result of virtual and in-person training that doesn’t result in someone actually gaining skill in the thing they are being trained on. If there’s no support to practice and implement what you’re learning, the training is a dead end. It’s not actually going to lead to the behavior change or business advantages that you’re spending time and money for.

So what do you do?

How Training Can Be Successful

If you want the training you provide to lead to knowledge and action that results in real change, you need to redo your training delivery. Instead of having them passively consume information, give your people experience in actually doing the thing while you provide support and guidance.

Actual, hands-on experience with support and feedback will beat passive information consumption every time. And with the hands-on experience comes confidence, skill, and the behavior change that your training is actually going for.

If you want to learn more about experiential learning and how to implement it in your organization check out our previous post, “Why Experiential Learning Is A Perfect Match for Games.”


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