What determines if a person retains newly acquired skills learned on a training course? Online Training excels when it comes to instilling new skills. Read more to find out why…
Practice Makes Perfect
Have you ever attended a training course, and when it was over, you went back to work and never put any of the new skills into practice? You’ve heard the expression “practice makes perfect” a million times, and perhaps you have read the popular “10,000 hours” theory –
It takes 10,000 hours of practice to master or become an expert in a new skill
This 10,000 hours theory is widely opposed and some theories state that it only takes 20 hours of practice. Regardless of the theory, the underlying principle is the same, if you don’t practice, you will not acquire the skill. The same can be said for participants on a training course.
Why Do We Forget What We Have Learned?
I have given hundred’s of training courses during my career. I have attended many courses myself, and without exception I have found, that if I don’t practice the new skills I DO forget. In fact, I have found myself paying to attend the same course a year later purely because I never looked at the training material or skills after completion of the course.
Let’s go back to the original question – What determines if a person retains or doesn’t retain new skills acquired on a training course?
The action of retaining new skills is very closely linked to how important it is for the person to know these skills in the first place. For example, If my day to day work involved working on large complex Excel Pivot tables, and I got the opportunity to attend an Advanced Word Course, even though it had no relevance to my work, I would attend.
Why Do People Attend Training Courses?
- Why would I attend a course that I don’t have any imminent need for?
- Because, it was offered to me
- I may need Word Advanced in the Future, so it’s no harm having it under my belt
- There may not be another advanced word course scheduled so I better attend
But the reality is I will more than likely forget the newly acquired Word Skills, as I will have no need for using them in my day to day role.
What does that mean for me as an individual or for a business? It means that if I need Advanced Word Skills at a later date, I will have to attend the course again, i.e. pay for it a second time and lose another’s day work.
Learning The Same Material More Than Once …
This is a daily reality for businesses. I know first-hand from my experience that I sometime see the same faces in front of me. When I question their need for re-attendance, it is always the same reasons:
- I never looked at the manual since the last course
- I didn’t use the skills as they were not relevant to my role
- I had personal stuff going on, so I just wasn’t working to best of my ability on the last course
We are all human, so all of these reasons are perfectly acceptable, however, extremely frustrating for those scheduling and funding the training.
Only Train When You Need To
This doesn’t have to be the case. Companies who have converted from a traditional classroom led training environment to an online model no longer have these recurring training costs. Participants don’t feel they have to attend a course “in case” they may need it again in the future. If they complete an online course and then decide at a later date, they would like to complete the course again, all they do is access in online, when they want, in their own time, at their own pace, at no cost to you. Food for thought!