I confess that today I’m having a bit of a professional crisis. Keystone Development is founded on the design of detailed, brain friendly, practical and complete training solutions. We’ve always felt that our job is to provide a seamless link between what is in the client’s head, and what actually get delivered in the training room regardless of who delivers that training, when or where.
Times are tough for the small business, we know that. During these times it’s natural to focus energy on sales and cost-cutting, and things like marketing and training are often the first things to be sacrificed. But, even though formal training now feels like a luxury you can’t afford, it’s more important than ever to keep on learning. Learning makes us more creative, more efficient, and more professional. So how can we keep on learning when there simply is no budget for training?
It’s a very busy time of year for us all. I’d been feeling pretty overwhelmed recently when it suddenly hit me that it was only 6 weeks until the schools broke up for Christmas. This gave me a pretty definitive deadline for finishing all my work projects, and having Christmas organised. I also wanted the hall, stairs and landing (that we’d started decorating 6 months ago) finished in time for the festive period.
I was cooking a favourite family meal the other day, spaghetti bolognese. Everybody likes spaghetti bolognese but all of us make it slightly differently. True, we all make it based on the same key ingredients, but somehow everyone’s tastes slightly different… and of course, ready-made sauces in jars rarely taste as good.
As someone who specialises in bespoke training design, is important to me that any training I design truly fits the organisation and has an excellent transfer back to the workplace. Public or standard training workshops can of course be very useful, but it is easy for people to dismiss a lot of the content simply because they can’t immediately see how it relates to their environment, or ‘feel’ right to them.
As a rule, we human beings like to have an easy life. There is a well-known law in physics that states that an object moving along a system will always choose the path of least resistance i.e. it will naturally select the route that is easiest to negotiate. People are no different. It doesn’t mean to say that we don’t have goals and won’t overcome difficulties. It does mean that where options exist, we are predisposed to choosing the option that requires the least work. This principle is also true of learning.
Although designing traditional training courses forms the majority of my workload, I also design quite a number of self-directed programmes. Personally, I’m a big fan of self-directed learning especially for areas like induction, or technical subjects. They encourage the learners take responsibility for their own development, involve a range of people, and recognise that the business can’t always stop to accommodate someone’s training needs.
I have just finished a really enjoyable project (in conjunction with Instep UK) which was to design not one, but two management development programmes for Warburton’s. The first of these programs was a fairly standard program for new or less experienced managers. Each module built on the last, and the amount of stretch and challenge increased as the programme progressed.
As my core business is designing training (and as such, I like to think that I know a bit about it), I thought that it was about time I shared some of the useful tips and techniques I’ve learned over the years. So, for the next few months, I’ll be rolling out a series of ‘How to…’ blogs, around designing different types of learning. This first blog in the series will look at designing training workshops for other people to deliver.
I’ve just enjoyed a wonderful holiday in Tuscany, where I had a great mix of lazing about and taking in the atmosphere, and frenetic sight-seeing trying to cram as much into 1 day as possible. Although we were technically self-catering, no-one really wants to cook on holiday, so meals became a simple choice…eat in or take out?