Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Solving Corporate Problems with Training

I remember the days when Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model and ADDIE came on the scene both methods work fine for the corporate training bubble that must prove results to maintain training budgets. However blinders on evaluation and measurement can be a self-justifying delusion. It is one thing to prove someone learned the knowledge you present to them and yet another that is solved a corporate problem or boosted sales. Are we measuring grades of sales people, or are we measuring revenues. Drilling deeper, did the training program address the real problem why the company invested in the training program.
Case in point: the training department can prove they trained everyone in sales the sales channel. Even that they knew in information. However because the product is poor and management does not listen the real outcome of increased sales can never be achieved.  
Kirpatrics: Reaction, Learning, Behavior, Results. Does not take into account Malcolm Knowles Andragogy, about learner being individual based, and perhaps represents a total disconnect from Adult Learning theory. In my 25 of sales marketing I have been in untold sales and product training programs that were complete mismatches with attitudes and feeling of the trainees.
ADDIE and Kirpatric methods are also weak in the business analysis and the human background parts of solving organizational issues. Will the business both accept and be ready to handle the changed behavior? Will the audience go beyond tests and change behavior, like sexual harassment? These must be in sync.
In the case of my High School Training Video “The Physics of Shop Safety” the issue is fooling around in class and fear of how to handle power tools.  The experience of power tools with them is completely new, loud and aggressive. Over a three-week period we leverage the messages in the video to provide the student with a feeling of mastery, control and self-confidence. The results of this mentoring were quite remarkable. The video along with the multimedia PowerPoint works with handouts and sets the stage for the hands-on mentoring.
In contrast to Kirkpatric the “Human Performance Technology” model takes a broader view on situation analysis. What is key to any training program that request change of the student is that the surrounding environment must change with it? Corporations by their nature are top down obedience instruction. Senior and interdepartmental managers must also adopt the changes and be ready for the new changes requested of students. If the environmental/social issues within the corporation we synchronized with the training we are wasting time in the minds of the student.
The problem is that corporate training departments, usually under HR or marketing, do not have that kind of corporate leverage. An instruction designer cannot say to the VP of sales that the sales force is angry because they are told to call dead leads, and that is why sales are failing. Or tell an assembly line filled with defective parts that quality is job one. If you want to hide in your figures use testing outcome numbers Kirkpatrick is classic corporate stuff. If you have the leverage acquire the actual performance numbers Human Performance Technology is your choice. Training someone to be a formula one racer does you no good when you return them to their 1970’ AMC Gremlin.
Remember outcomes do not change until the true causes of the problem are altered. To drill down deeper refer to “Human Performance Technology.” Below is a PDF to Chyung entire book Foundations of Instructional and Performance Technology which is an excellent walk through Performance Technology.

Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model: Analyzing Training Effectiveness. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2014, from

Chyung , S 2008 Foundations of Instructional and Performance Technology, Page 163, HRD Press, Inc. . Amherst . Massachusetts Retrieved November 10, 2014 from:

Close, R. 2014 The Physics of Shop Safety By Richard Close. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2014, from