Few words about the state of training management in 2020

Too much has already been said and written on this subject, perhaps because everyone has lately been forced to stay home and had enough free time to become experts-in-everything.  I was waiting for the picture to become bright and clear and now the time has come. I want to say a few words on how the behaviour of training companies and their managers and their consumers has changed dramatically because of the pandemic, which is obvious, and also because it should have changed anyway - which is much less obvious but not less true.

Woody Allen’s

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans

should be officially made a motto of 2020. “Especially when it comes to training plans”, added every trainer I know.

When social distancing became a thing the idea to transform face-to-face training into online training was really on the surface. And though it was apparent - you wouldn’t believe how many trainers were literally scandalized by it! They had to make all the way from “It will never work out” to “It sure has some benefits” and I am observing this conscious transformation since March and still it is not over.

Frankly speaking, I perfectly understand them. Such disruptive change in circumstances brings fear multiplied by the uncertainty. What direction should I choose? The old ways are not working, but what are the news ways then? Back in March, I was looking at the number of cancelled workshops jumped to the skies and was quite frightened by it. . It wasn’t clear at all if we should keep working as we were or change our focus completely.  

COVID-19 pandemic is certainly the most significant world-shaping event of the last decade influencing all spheres of life. And as it always has been, like every global drama it enables and forces the progress. Though training professionals always were in the front line to adopt cutting-edge technologies, they still remain conservative in their approach to delivering content. Some industry experts say that from now on every training and workshop would be online and the era of face-to-face meetings has gone. I myself believe that in post-COVID world some things will return to their normal ways, some would become a mix of virtual and traditional, but most of the new practices, especially ones showing their effectiveness are going to stay. What concerns the learners and training attendees there’s certainly a great demand for elearning and blended learning. This demand dictates the new rules and requires some changes in methodology and training methods, such as:

Reducing the number of training hours per day along with extending the number of learning days

One of the most obvious trends is changing the dynamics of a course by splitting it to several short sessions. Though I personally know trainers who keep running full-day classes with absolutely terrific results, the majority prefers shorter sessions.

A new approach brings new challenges, like:

  • How to make sure the students participate in every session
  • What to do if a student skips one or two sessions
  • How to deal with switching context between different sessions of two/three/four courses running in parallel

Adopting different tech tools and dealing with technical challenges

Zoom is a new king, yet many of us still start each call with the never-ageing phrase, “Do you hear me?”. Not only you need to prepare content now but also work in advance with attendees to overcome any technical difficulties they may have.

Previously, you had to establish some ground rules for a two-three day course within 10-15 minutes and that was it. Nowadays, you have to:

  • Make sure that every student has no technical issues
  • Explain how to use Zoom / Microsoft Teams or whatever videotelephony  software you prefer
  • Explain how to use new collaboration tools
  • And only then establish the ground rules.

As most courses have several sessions, you need to repeat these steps before each session. So yeah, more work.

And again, how do we deliver content effectively and efficiently? Flipcharts don’t work anymore. Or do they?

Inventing new ways to keep the motivation high throughout the training

Motivation is another issue trainers have to take into consideration. With courses running for many days (sometimes weeks), students get distracted by everyday tasks and lose their focus. We as an industry need to find better ways on how to structurize the learning experience for students to stay motivated throughout the whole course.

Implementing new technologies to manage all processes, to keep in touch with students, to collect feedback and so on

Last but not least is how to jiggle this software zoo, combine different tools together to get the result we all hope for satisfied students and happy employees. Though I have no perfect solution, I sure have some tips:

  • It is much easier to use dedicated software solutions than trying to adapt something from the different field
  • The implementation of something new could really be painful at the beginning but when it is done good results won't be far behind
  • Even if something old works fine today it won’t necessarily work great tomorrow and most certainly won’t work at all in the future, so NOW is always the best time for changes

WSB’s survey as a contribution to the community

The other thing I would like to mention is quite above the business processes and incorporates all spheres of life.

Staying divided we all feel the need for unity.

And I can’t see a reason why not to try to unite at least within our own industry. Why not make a small step towards each other and offer a little help? And that is why we have decided to contribute to the community by running small research to share information, insights and tips on how to keep up with the times, stay productive and effective.

The State of Training Management 2020 Survey’s goal is to collect the information from Training Companies in order to analyze it and suggest some tips on how to improve their performance. We have years of experience in the field and now willing to share our knowledge. Every participant can get a free personalized report based on how they perform in different fields compared to other companies of a similar size along with actional tips and suggestions.

By the way, we’ll send the reports right before the holidays. We consider it as our farewell to a really-really bizarre year.

To participate in the survey and get your own free report, please click the link below.

I want to participate in the survey

Yes, COVID-19 has influenced the world and caused disruption to global business and economy. But when it comes to the training industry market I’d like to be optimistic and predict great benefits and outcomes in the future for those who are not only great teachers but also fast learners.