Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Career Development, Education, Talent Management
What say you coaches and trainers?
After reading another post about how to coach and train, I am perplexed at the state of the whole training industry.

It appears that a person learns best by repetition-retrospective cycle. There are very few savants who can read, hear, or see a piece of information once and remember it for their whole life.
Most people, like me, need to read the same information several times, often memorize it to even register it in our long term memory, so that it it retrieved during a retrospection (either during an "aha" moment when two pieces of information click together, or as a conscious process of recollecting and mulling over the learned information).
Given above, I have to ask all coaches and trainers as to what is their purpose to educate someone in a short 5 minutes post, 1 hour webinar, or even 1 day seminar - without continuously engaging the learner. It is not right to claim that it is the students responsibility to put in a continuous effort into learning same concept to achieve mastery of 10,000 hours per subject - because coaches and trainers reap overwhelmingly higher benefits while educating learners (the two most notable are the training fees and the educators deeper understanding of the subject by teaching others.)
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There is no "one size fits all" method for effective training.

Several years ago, I led the development of training material for a enterprise wide digital transformation project, which required me to take formal training in being a trainer. A couple thoughts jump out at me immediately:

1) Not everyone learns the same. Some people are more visually focused, others auditory, and others kinesthetic. (I've heard a new one related to kinesthetic since then but forgot the name). Effective coaching requires a blended approach to suit different learning styles.

2) Not every subject requires the same level of training. In the education field, Bloom's Taxonomy describes different levels of knowledge required for different subjects. It is one thing to simply remember a subject, and an entirely different thing to have synthesized it well enough to create original material. Different levels of knowledge require different learning methods.

Some subjects can be effectively taught in very short learning modules. I have 5 minutes of training every year on not dumping toxic waste in the storm drain. That's fine for me. When better understanding is needed, more knowledge transfer is required. Effective seminars often have practice problems where you work out answers, learn to analyze problems, and apply your knowledge. If they don't they're probably not very effective.

Proper training requires evaluating the needs of the students, and determining the type of material and practice needed to get the right level of knowledge. Understanding that all students aren't the same, the knowledge transfer needs to be delivered in a way that also fits the way student's brains work. There's quite a science behind it.
Andrew -

To learn any type of complex knowledge-based skill requires multiple tactics. The 10/20/70 model is fairly popular - 10% via formal learning, 20% through relationships (e.g. mentoring & coaching) and 70% through actual hands-on experience.

I would suggest that there is benefit in formal training (not death by PowerPoint, however) to provide someone with the fundamentals of a given topic and to help them understand common patterns and anti-patterns. Then, it is up to them to put that learning into practice...

The problem is one and only one: some people act as teachers and coaches without the needed knowledge and training about what to perform as a teacher or coach is. No matter the discipline you are (project manager, sports, etc) you need to be trained on things related to be a teacher or coach. And those things are close to forma training for being a school or university teacher/professor. On the other side, there are a lot of people/consultant firms that are selling courses for being coach without consistence.
Dear Andrew
Very interesting this question of yours

Thanks for sharing

A few years ago I had the opportunity to participate in the organization and implementation of a project that aimed to hold a cycle of meetings on training / learning.

One of the invited speakers was George Siemens.
His intervention focused on the theme: "Learning in the digital age"

More and more I am convinced that it is not necessary to repeat, repeat until we memorize
The important thing is to "compel" people to think.

All the information is on Google and we can access it with a click

The important thing is to use this information and use it to solve specific problems and / or situations

What makes sense to me is to talk about concepts and / or approaches to solving specific problems
Dear Andrew:
Your question is very interesting because it leads us to several questions:
- How do people learn?
- What is the purpose of training?
- What is the training strategy?
In the field of:
- Know-know?
- Know how to do ?
- Know how to be?

Depending on the strategy and the learning domains, there are several approaches to training

I think that the object-based learning approach is the most appropriate.

Another important question for reflection:
Are we going to see training as a business?
Dear Andrew,

I agree with the majority of opinions already posted here. I will address your questions from another angle, trying to bring more wood to the fire. In the last decades the number of trainers and coaches increased exponentially making this a profitable business.
Every day I saw more reputed coaches and trainers every time more younger than the year before and this is growing also. How many of these have real experience of that they teach, or they are simply following the tutorials sent by the institutions that they belong and whom they pay the fees. With a little of networking and fame they become a celebrity in couching without real experience, they have all the answers based in books.

Saying that I am a firm believer of auto learning, group discussions where we learn with each other's, and in experienced mentors whose lessons learned could save us many failures and increase our success.

PS: I am not applying this only to project management, but at all areas of knowledge and I am not particularize this to anyone in this network I am only discussion the subject.

Alexandre Costa

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