3
45
Guest

The Nine Immutable Basics of Effective Online Training

By: Guest | July 28, 2011 | 
27

Today’s guest post is written by Leon Noone.

Some years ago, when the headmistress of one of Australia’s most exclusive private schools for girls retired, she suggested that 85 percent of the teachers she’d managed over her career should have chosen another profession.

Her interviewer exclaimed. “But that would leave only 15 percent of the teachers.” She replied, “But imagine how good they’d be!”

The Headmistress and the Internet

That headmistress inspired this piece. You see, I reckon that about 75 percent of online training falls somewhere between ordinary and awful. If you use the web to teach or coach anyone in anything and would like to be in the top 25 percent, read on.

Objectives

At the end of this post you will be able to:

  1. Specify the only professional way of measuring training success.
  2. Identify who bears the prime responsibility for training effectiveness.
  3. Create viable training objectives.
  4. Specify the most important elements of training design and when it occurs.

The Nine Absolute, Immutable Basics of Effective Online Training

  1. Quality planning determines effective training. The only professional way to measure training effectiveness is to show that the trainee can demonstrate the effective practice of the skills on the job. If the trainee can’t demonstrate the effective practice of the skills, the fault almost always lies with the trainer.
    Clever and pretty presentations will never compensate for poor training planning.
  2. Twelve magic words. Commence every training action with these words,”At the end of the training, the trainee will be able to ……” Sounds simple enough, but be careful.
  3. It’s about doing. Training is about doing. Each statement on your list must commence with a word describing an action. Never use waffle words such “understand,” “appreciate,” “learn,” or “gain insight into.” Let’s say you wanted to ensure a trainee “appreciated” the music of Jimi Hendrix writhing on the floor screaming. “I appreciate Jimi,” while listening to Les Paul, doesn’t cut it.
  4. Avoid the theory trap. Your trainee does not need to know how a reciprocating engine works in order to drive a car. He or she needs to know which control is which, where they’re located, and how to use them effectively. If you doubt what I say, ask LeBron James to explain the theory of human leaping.
  5. The essence of online training is design.
    • Always assume the trainee is unskilled and ignorant.
    • Start by describing the one big task the trainee must be able to do at the end of the training using the 12 magic words and actions.
    • Decide what the trainee needs to know in order to perform the action.
    • Always start with the final overall skill and work backwards to the beginning of the training.
    • For instance, if you’re teaching someone to drive a car, they’ll need to identify the controls, know where they are. and the purpose of each one before they start driving.
  6. It’s the trainer, stupid. Poor trainees are few and far between. The trainer plans and designs the training. Therefore, the trainer is responsible if the training fails. Would you accept responsibility if your new house started to fall apart? Of course not. You’d blame the builder and architect. Rightly so.
  7. The 75/25 Rule. Spend 75 percent of your time on planning and design of online training. Spend 25 percent of your time on presentation. Presentation is a function of planning and design, not the reverse. I suspect that is why so much web training is so appalling. It values posing over planning, and pictures over performance.
  8. Know what customers want. Customers are trainees. You promised them they’d be able to do something when they engaged you or purchased your package. You want them to be advocates for you. You want them to write glowing testimonials about the value of your products and services.
  9. How to get glowing testimonials. Grasp this: Gaining those testimonials will not depend on the quality of your product or service. It will depend on how valuable customers perceive it to be. That will largely be determined by the effectiveness of your training.

Ask yourself this, “Am I prepared to say to my clients, ‘At the end of this training you will be able to …..’ and guarantee the effectiveness of my training?”

Do you want to be counted in the 25 percent? If so, thank that headmistress.

Leon Noone helps managers in small-medium business to improve on-job staff performance without training courses. His ideas are quite unconventional. Read his free Special Report “49 Practical Tips for Removing Employee Apathy, Aggravation, and Resistance In Your Business.”

20 comments
NancyM.
NancyM.

'Al'ays start with the final overall skill and work backwards to the beginning of the training.'

I think that's a great tip. Telling the trainee what s/he will be able to do by the end of the course will capture his/her attention and interest, and then explaining how this will be done will reinforce the interest and hopefully seal the deal. I like these tips. Thank you for sharing.

Faryna
Faryna

Leon,

I like the freak in you, Leon. Let it out more often. It reminds us that we are but clumsy fools and aspiring charlatans. And this is something for which we should be reminded often. Keep on rocking it, Leon.

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

Simply and brilliantly put. This is what every creator of an ebook or digital training product should read.

As someone that's worked with education for many years, it amazes me how many people try to sell digital training products without actually thinking about how to teach.

My own personal teaching mantra comes from Creative Writing: "show, don't tell".

TheJackB
TheJackB

Leon, I never fail to learn something from your posts and for that I blame the trainer.

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

It's great to see my favorite curmudgeon on SpinSucks. Couldn't agree more about training is about doing, and this means doing by the student not just showing how to do it by the trainer.

I think many forget this and spend their time showing how good they are at doing something but forget that what really matters is what the student can actually incorporate and demonstrate at the end.

JeanneMale
JeanneMale

Hi Leon,

Important reminders and you're right...it's not that hard. We just need to keep our eye on the measurable outcomes. I would add 2 esoteric but vital components to glowing evaluations:

1 - clearly articulating the benefits of how the training will make them successful on the job

2 - making it as fun as possible - people remember how we made them feel.

I'll be posting this on our SPBT LinkedIn group.

@jeannemale

P.S. Grinning at your great Hendrix analogy. :)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

This man Leon? He's a force to be reckoned with, I reckon. (He started it.) So, Leon, it might be lunch time for you about now, and I need to get some shut eye. I'm just gonna say, I appreciate your tips and counsel. It's the trainer, stupid...and how about all those students multi-tasking on myriad devices whilst you're leading the class?

Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs

I've been up to my eyeballs in ADDIE recently, developing three months of curriculum for a workshop product. It's been an almost constant struggle between the pursuit of perfection and taking the product live. "Push through and get the rough drafts done," I tell myself, "Then you can go back and ensure you've covered your objectives and get a little closer to perfection before you invite the beta testers."

This all started - as every project should - with the end in mind. We have visualized where we want our participants to stand upon completion of this program, worked our way backward from that vision, disassembling the skills and behaviors most contributory to success, and have begun developing the curriculum to support those them.

Thank you, Leon. This post is a reminder to me of how the process scales. We may have figured out what pieces make up the big picture, but each piece represents another opportunity to create value by advising our customers, "Upon the completion of this activity, you will be able to..."

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

Wow! I'm first to the punch today! Leon, thanks for being our guest today. I think this is a good reminder for all of us - we all coach, advise, train (ie blog) online. My favorite tip here is about not needing to know how the engine works. Too many people spend too much time talking about the plumbing and I just want to know how to turn on the faucet, and have lots and lots of fresh water!

Don't bore us with the history, or too much backstory if it isn't relevant. What else?

Leon
Leon

@John Falchetto I knew, that if I was patient, I'd finally get to cross those Avignon bridges. Thanks for you fenerous comments Leon

Leon
Leon

@JeanneMale@jeannemale Couldn't agree more Jeannemale. I'm a fully paid up member of the 'learning should be fun' club. I first read about that in a Bob Mager book in 1972! And 'articulating the benefits:' so, so, true. One of the great "turn-ons" is when you know yourself that your design enables some one to develop competence in something they didn't know they could do.

Thanks for the LinkedIn leg-up. Any friend of Les Paul is a friend of mine.

Leon

Leon
Leon

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Jayme, Better than that. I discovered your comment just after breakfast Saturday. Great way to start the weekend. About those multitasking technostudents......Guve 'em something to do. Adults learn by doing. Don't give 'em the chance to self-distract. Avagoodweegend Leon

Leon
Leon

@Brian Driggs Brian, I know that you're out there. But it's a bloody thrill to find you. If only more people knew that instructional design was very different from instructional design. I'd be interested to know how you get on with your ADDIE project: sounds exciting.....and demanding.

Thanks Leon

Leon
Leon

@Lisa Gerber Lisa, my longest standing client is a plumbing company: The Clean Plumber. Your analogy was very apt. I'm sure that PR has a most interesting history. I'm also sure that clients find it far less interesting than we do. I've noticed that clients often develop an interest in "why' only after they can do "what."

May you enjoy lots and lots of fresh water

Leon

Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs

@Leon Thank you, sir. Pleasure's all mine.

I thought you might have meant something like that. We're trying to do a little of both - but it all starts with the curriculum, I think. Once we have an outline in place of the topics we want to cover and the outcomes we're seeking for our participants, we'll be considering each with regard to the best way to present/supplement the content. I suspect we'll be mainly forum discussions (we're bootstrapping the hell out of this thing), but we're not opposed to Skype, Google+ Hangouts, or even GoTo Training sessions.

Appreciate your compliments, Leon. It's hard work, I'm eager to get it out there and making a difference in peoples' lives, and it's nice to get reinforcement we're doing something right!

Cheers, mate.

Leon
Leon

Sorry Brian; I meant to say that instructional design was very different to curriculum design. Whoops!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Noone, that curmudgeon Aussie who recently guest posted on Spin Sucks, shares with Jenn that you need only have one audience. He states this based on his lifetime of [...]