We all know there are plenty of issues with meetings in the workplace. And Allison Green over at Ask a Manager even did a piece on making sure your meetings are productive. But lately I’ve been thinking about another kind of work meeting: the training seminar. Whenever a procedure’s being changed ever poor engineer, planner, and specialist often has to sit through an hour of training to learn what the new process is.
One of my major beefs is that often training is not customized. Sometimes you end up in the same room with individuals who use the software for hours every day to its full capabilities and others who are not familiar with it at all. The way a designer looks at software can be very different from the way someone in configuration or manufacturing might use that same software. One might be overly familiarized with a certain side of the business, not care about certain aspects of the new procedures, and not need a refresher on many other basics.
Another common shortcoming is that training presentations are not specific enough. The person doing the presenting is usually someone who trains people or works in a capacity of overseeing a project rather than actually being a user themselves. Often I find they dwell too long on definitions or processes or who’s next or before each role in the procedure. When often I’m looking for details on how to complete the procedure. A demonstration might be more effective than a description. When I want to know how to do something, I want to see it detailed out step by step, much like how I wrote up a quick blog post on using the component replace function in ProEngineer.
All this being said, the shortcomings of a training seminar gone wrong can often have long term impacts. Those quick to learn might get bored easily and miss the salient points and while those it most needs to reach will not get much of anything out of it. But it ends up just being a big time waste to everyone involved.
What do you think? When have you seen workplace training done effectively? Or has it always been a boring or often poorly done function in your experience?