Our Training Didn’t Solve the Problem. What Now?
Sometimes we as learning and development experts learn more from our own programs than the students we aim to educate. It happens. Sometimes the training that was developed simply didn’t solve the problem. There are a number of reasons why that might be the case, but often the issue at the root of the problem is that the real problem was more complex than originally thought. A failure is more than a failure in cases like these, because they provide two valuable assets that companies did not have on the outset: feedback and information. Sometimes, knowing what doesn’t work will help you better identify what will. Here are 3 steps to take when you realize your training didn’t solve the problem you set out to solve.
Step #1: Take notes
Learning from failure is the best thing you can do in these situations. When you are working with a L&D service provider, this is especially true. Ask for feedback from your trainees. It truly is a gift. It helps identify areas that need improvement and areas that are meeting needs. When iterating on training programs, it’s critical to know what works and what doesn’t. And you won’t know that unless you talk to the trainees and their supervisors directly. Look to identify the reasons behind the ongoing nature of the problem. Information really is critical and can mean the difference between future success and continued struggle.
Step #2:  Address the root cause
Sometimes, a training program not meeting the needs of your employees is an indicator that your L&D team needs to be more business partner than service provider. This high-level view of business problems will help to address root cause issues in your training program. Lack of transparency and information from the perspective of the professionals building out your training programs. Bring your L&D team into conversations early and often. Tell them the why behind the need for the training, not just what the need is. There are so many different elements and angles you can come at a training program from, that it really is best to lay your cards on the table and let the experts do what they do best. Build training programs that help your company grow.
Step #3: Know your options
Once you have an idea of what went wrong and what the real issues are that you need to address, it’s worth evaluating how you are measuring the effectiveness of your training programs. Sometimes you can get lost in the forest looking for the trees when it comes to evaluating training programs. Try to see the big picture while you explore your options. It’s worth thinking about different opportunities and try out different programs. L&D is constantly evolving with interesting advancements in micro-learning, alternative training programs, and crowd-sourced information sharing all making big changes to the industry every year. Remember that what works for you (or doesn’t work for you) one year may produce a different level of return in the future. The key is to be flexible, track success, watch your costs, and always be open to learning new lessons yourself.
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