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A Challenge to the Training Function: Is Learning a Two-Way Street?

Despite high levels of engagement, facilitative delivery styles, and even attempts at user-generated content, most training is still a fairly one-way communication vehicle; the trainer shares information, guides some discussion, and builds the group’s knowledge… all of which is important.

But learning professionals are exposed to a lot of valuable data and input in the classroom: off-handed comments about customers and the culture; diatribes about working conditions; angst over lack of resources, tools, or equipment; frustration about work processes (or lack thereof).

What if we found a way to systematically gather this input and funnel employee ‘intel’ back into the organization for careful consideration? What if:

  • Workshop summaries highlighted the obstacles participants face to optimal performance… as well as their reactions to the training?
  • Learning and development professionals systematically debriefed the work-process insights gained during training with line managers?
  • The training function closed the loop with employees, reporting back the organizational response to their concerns and issues?

Expanding the role of trainers and holding them accountable for being this critical feedback link could allow learning to travel in both directions, informing employee-centric changes that would enable performance, elevate engagement, and tap discretionary effort in the process.

Image: By Cassowary (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


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