Do Classroom Trainings Need a Revamp?

I had been to Bangalore for a three day classroom training. This training was meant to teach Information Developers how to work with a documentation management system. Basically the training was about how to create new documents, how to edit, how to apply formatting styles and how to check in and check out the documents in the local repository in the documentation management system.

I usually do not prefer attending workshops on software applications and tools. I think with little effort and with the urge to explore, anyone can can learn to use any tool within a span of time. I prefer taking up e-learning courses to learn to use applications and tools.

However I had to attend this training because it was mandatory.

I was quite surprised that the instructor of this training chose to give a lecture on this documentation management system, rather than making us actually explore the application. Each of us had a PC, yet we kept looking at the screenshots in the PowerPoint slides and witnessed the instructor use the documentation management system. We got very less chance to use the application during the training.

By the time the training got over, none of us remembered anything that the instructor taught us. In fact I saw one or two people totally distracted and completely lost in their own world even when the instructor was talking to all of us.

Such corporate trainings are too expensive and time consuming. Whether employees really benefit from such trainings is a big question mark.

Some corporate trainings are done just as a formality. The instructor picks up a powerpoint presentation prepared by someone else and just reads out the slides before the participants. It is sad that instructors or the training department does not take any initiative to carefully design such training programs. A certain amount of creative thought would spice up these training programs.

In the training that I attended, the majority of the audience were youngsters who were orkutting and watching vidoes in YouTube the earliest chance they got.

I found the training thouroughly outdated and too monotonous for such a young generation.

The young audience would appreciate a training that would allow them to explore and learn by doing.

The crux of the training should have been lots of activities for the particpants and the instructor’s lecture should have been a value add. The instructor should have driven the participants to use the application. After all applications are meant to be used and not just to be learnt about. This training could have been done in two ways-

  • The participants learn to perform the tasks in the application with guided instructions from the instructor. Shorts assessment during the course of the training and tips and explainations from the instructor could have been complimentary.

or

  • The instructor splits the participants into two groups and simply announces tasks one by one. For each task the particpants from the two groups compete with each other anf figure out how to do the task in the application within set time. Each group gains points for each successfully completed task. At the end of each task the instructor explains related concepts and gives some quick tip.

Most often training formats are repeated. People stop thinking on ways to improve classroom trainings. Some people have fixed ideas on how classroom trainings must be conducted.

Classroom trainings must be designed and planned based on who is going to attend it. So every time a training is planned, it needs a revamp to suit the needs of the audience.

Instructors or people involved in designing such classroom training must get out of the conventional methods and modes of training and think of new and better ways to conduct classroom trainings.

This post is not intended to ridicule or criticize anyone. This is just a strong request or call to all those involved in classroom trainings to revamp classroom trainings so that participants really benefit by the teaching.

If you have designed or attended any classroom training that was simply mind blowing, please do share your experiences 🙂

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2 Responses

  1. Naah Rupa,

    Sadly, never came across any interesting seminar. Like they say…been there done that. But hope springs eternal. Let’s just hope that someone shares his/her mindblowing experience in this space.

    Interesting article!

    Always
    Amit S

  2. I remember a great (perhaps not “mind-blowing”) classroom training, but that was in 1970 before any options were really available. I think new media have radically changed expectations and made classroom trainings for the most part outmoded and therefore exceedingly boring to people used to more media-rich environments.

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