Recap of our Twitter Chat with David Kelly: Why People #HateTraining

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On Wednesday The Daily Mindflash invited David Kelly to host a Twitter chat to discuss his recent post, “Why People Hate Training, and How to Overcome It.” Over the course of the 30-minute chat, which drew over 200 responses, questions were posed that further explored the theme of the article. In addition to Kelly’s responses, participants were able to add their thoughts and resources to the conversation.

Here are some of the highlights of the chat, structured around the interview questions. Note: With Kelly’s permission, we’ve compiled his separate tweets into single responses to our interview questions.

The Daily Mindflash: So @LnDDave, what are the top reasons why people #hatetraining?

David Kelly: You want a list? :-) I think the primary reason people #hatetraining is… well… because they’ve been to training before. They #HateTraining because they have an expectation that, while often interesting, it’s not going to make much of a difference. Too often training is used as a solution to problems it has no business being involved in. Another reason people #HateTraining is because they are often scheduled for it whether they need it or not. Only we look at it as learning or training. What we call learners is really someone looking for help doing their job.

Additional tweets from participants:
@kelly_smith01 – Another reason why folks #HateTraining is that they already know or have easy access to content – they don’t need it.
@edCetra – Because it’s an after thought. referring to system implementations, product release… #hatetraining
@tomspiglanin – Some people #hatetraining when it’s not designed with the learner’s outcome in mind. Learning is a process, not a destination.
@C4LPT – People #hatetraining because it takes them unnecessarily out of the workflow.
@tmiket – People #hatetraining b/c it’s often do TO them instead of FOR them
@charlesjennings – Learning is doing. Most training is getting done to. #hatetraining
@tmiket – I #hatetraining that requires me to sit thru 8 hrs of stuff to get the 15 minutes I really need

The Daily Mindflash: @LnDDave What types of problems do companies wrongly try to fix through #training, and what should they focus on instead?

David Kelly: I think that question represents the issue. It assumes training is used when it shouldn’t be. Training is one of a number of solutions. I generally use ‘training’ only when all other solutions are ruled out. When addressing a performance issue, we should target the issue with laser focus: get in, address it, and get out of the way. Part of it comes down to language. Trainers train, learning professionals help people learn … we should be focused on performance.

I see someone mentioned compliance training. That’s a great example. Compliance training fails because everyone (and their mother) knows the only thing that matters is ‘getting it done’. A large part of the issue is inertia: We do what we do because it’s what we’ve always done.

Additional tweets from participants:
@billcush – Orgs try to fix people with training. They should focus on tools and expectations…or selecting the right people. #hatetraining
@tomspiglanin – Problems companies try to wrongly fix…” Mandated culture shifts. Top-down change typically unwelcome. #hatetraining
@C4LPT – Training is often used to solve communication problems; improve comm/collab instead #hatetraining
@ruthie_hb – Focus on what gap training trying to fill? If not maybe answer is developing new way of doing old v. training #HateTraining
@Dave_Ferguson – I’d say training’s often used to treat symptoms that mgmt sees but hasn’t done any work re causes. #HateTraining

The Daily Mindflash: So as you discussed in your post, “Why People Hate Training, and How to Overcome It,” tell us more about how we overcome this.

David Kelly: We can overcome this by first thinking of ourselves as performance support specialists. We need to build skills that enable us to help people within their work, rather than interrupting it for ‘training’. We need to ask better questions; not every performance issue needs a course that is accessed through the LMS. One thing for sure though, we won’t overcome #HateTraining until we let go of our need for check boxes. It’s about more then it being done. We also need to realize that not everyone is a lover of learning; some people just want to do their jobs better.

Additional tweets from participants:
@andyjanning – Many trainers are complicit in making ee’s #hatetraining b/c they r more concerned about putting on a good class than improving performance.
@C4LPT – Learning needs to be seen as integral/by-product/an aspect of work – not something separate from it #hatetraining
@SophiaK_Edu – The worst is a trainer that stands and preaches! I want practical, practical, practical #hatetraining

The Daily Mindflash: We’re wrapping up the #hatetraining chat with @LnDDave in a few minutes, any final questions?

@tmiket – @LnDDave Is it possible to do your job better WITHOUT learning? Me thinks not #hatetraining

David Kelly: Is it possible to do a job without learning? No. Is it possible to do a job without formal training? Yes, that’s definitely possible.

There were also some additional resources shared during the chat that expand on the discussion. They are collected below:

Training: A Solution Looking for a Problem,” by Harold Jarche

‘I’m not an idiot!’ – A Letter from an Agonized Adult Learner,” by Geeta Bose

David Kelly is the director of training at Carver Federal Savings Bank and ember of the ASTD National Advisors for Chapters. He is also the author of the blog Misadventures in Learning, where he discusses the future of the learning field and curates the backchannel of learning conferences.

Image used under Creative Commons by Flickr user trekkyandy.