Thursday, November 16

Learning from Fox News

Quick question:

If you had a training program that took participants 15 hours to do (let's say a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous), and
  • half of the participants increased their productivity by, say 20%, in a way that endured over months and even years,
  • but the other half hated the experience, and thought it was a waste of time,
...would you champion it?

My sense is that even though the ROI of such a program would be through the roof, most training people are so uncomfortable with the negative press that they would not want it in their portfolio.

Am I wrong? What are your thoughts?


Here's a podcast on simulations that I did a few days ago that I hope some of you might find interesting called Immerse Yourself - Increasing Learning through Simulation... Gaming Style.


I have been gathering more simwords - descriptors inspired by computer games and simulations that describe the knowledge and wisdom that book, magazines, and lectures have left behind. Let me know if you want them here.


Geetha Krishnan said...

Unfortunately, you are not wrong, Clark. Most of my clients especially in the corporate training space) tend to be focused almost exclusively on learner responses as the basis for training evaluation. May be if we know this, we also focus on this in our design of the training?

Karl Kapp said...

The key is to have the data to back up the 20%, if I had that data and it was valid, I would use that to promote and champion that training event. I would also use it to try to figure out why those people got that high return while the others hated it. Did the people who hate it still learn and still have a productivity increase.

Many times we have sat through or been a part of a learning experience that we didn't like and then it turned out that we did learn from it even though we didn't enjoy it.

See my post about my class where I put students through amock e-learning RFP response process.

During the process, not many of them like it. It is long hours in prepartion, they have to present to corporate professionals on a topic they just learned about a few weeks ago, and they are judged at a high level concerning their abilities. But afterward, they all admit they've learned a great deal.

I think if we have data about the impact of our training, that should take priority over whether or not someone likes the training. In fact, how much someone likes training is not really relevant. I didn't like Algebra but I learned from a very good teacher. I didn't like writing classes in high school or even typing (now called keyboarding) but I learned in class.

Liking something and learning something are not always the same.

Dave Lee said...

Hey Clark. How about a sim word of the week?

Unknown said...


I don't get the Fox news reference - is that their viewer stats?

As for touting success of 50% increase in productivity and 50% no increase and vocally hated it, I would respond with two reasons that a professional would change that program.

First, brand management. Technology designers can probably tell of great products, with great features and capabilities, that people hated fro some reason or another (usability, interface, etc.)Those products tend to flop because of all the press that says they are horrible. The same effect is true for L&E professionals, especially internal ones. They need as many participants cheering for the programs in order to keep a positive internal brand image.

I think that internal brand management is a great reason to shoot for good K1 evaluation - probably 90% of why one should. However, the second reason that a professional might be overly concerned with reaction is that they are measuring constant reaction, and not an end state. Take Karl's example - if the educator in charge of that is worried about reaction at every time stamp, they will drop that activity (and I have seen some people drop activities in mid-program. However, if they only measure at the end, they will see a different reaction to the activity and keep it.

Sometimes L&E professionals want to keep people constantly happy, and it hinders our impact. however, we do need to ensure that our clients - all of them - have a good experience with our products or our brand will be destroyed.

jay said...

Years ago I posed a similar question. If you could offer a four-hour elearning module that sped up a person's reading 20% and cost $100/seat, would you offer it? By the way, it's called "Mavis Beacon Teaches Reading." Not one person out of an audience of forty training professions in Silicon Valley would touch it. CLOs are risk averse.