Is ‘training’ the new four letter word?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Posted in: Uncategorized

People often use the word ‘training’ when talking about conforming behaviour (i.e. my new puppy needs training). Training needs to occur in order to stop the bad behavior and replace it with something better or different. The word ‘conforming’ sounds negative, right? Like you’re forcing or being forced to change.

However, you could change that word to ‘adapting’ and suddenly you think of positive change. And how you feel about it makes all the difference if you’re being forced to spend an hour/a day/a week in training for a behavior change.

This is why training often starts with the uphill battle of convincing the audience that they can benefit from the training. Buy-in is needed and a clear connection must be made between their specific role in the organization and the training content.

Many people in the learning and training field avoid using the word training altogether as it can have such negative connotations. In fact, I participated in a recent Twitter Chat where we discussed how we, professionals in the field, feel about using the word ‘training’ to describe what we do. The majority of tweeters felt that the word ‘training’ instantly evokes images of stale classrooms sessions with someone droning on about a new company or system process that has to be followed. Past experience with ‘bad’ training leads us to distance ourselves from it – and the word.

Think about your own organization. Announcing training to employees can have an enormous impact on how that training is received. This is obviously dependent on the participant’s past experience with training but also on an organization’s use of training. Remember that to achieve success, buy-in is needed both from senior leadership and from the intended audience. Partnering with a learning professional can help you achieve that buy-in and ensure that your training audience perceives value in the session(s).

GOING FORWARD: Take your organization’s training temperature. How is training perceived by staff? Is the training outcome measured? What success or failure have you had with training so far?


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