Customer and User Success

Focus on Learning, NOT training, to improve change adoption

By Jason Whitehead

To facilitate change, people need to learn - not merely be trained. Training is only one way for people to learn.When implementing new programs or technology, many organizations assume they need to deliver training to make sure people have the skills they need. Of course, people do need to have the knowledge and skills necessary to use your system. But don’t assume that training – or perhaps more accurately – just training – is needed. 

Training is just one of roads that lead to Learning, although it’s often perceived and treated as if it’s the only one. It’s an activity that is performed, but it is not in and of itself, a desired outcome. 

Learning is. 

After all, Learning is at the core of adopting anything new – whether it’s in the workplace or in a personal relationship: if you don’t learn something, you can’t incorporate it into your life. And what is change adoption but the incorporation of change?

Training is only one tool to develop required skills

Training is important, especially with new technology. But the goal in providing training is to develop the knowledge and skills people need. However,

• What happens if the training is not effective?

• What happens if the training isn’t relevant?

• What happens if people never fully understood the material?

• What happens if people forget what was covered?

Learning happens in many ways.Learning happens in many ways

Learning is an internal process for each of us. When we learn we increase our capacity to make choices and take intentional actions. Learning facilitates change. 

People learn in a variety of ways including things like direct experience, lectures, self-study, reading, group discussions, mentoring, reflection, and yes, going through a training course and completing it. 

And because people have different ways of learning, when instituting a new program or technology consider taking a multi-faceted approach to solidify the change adoption required for success.

Select the best tools to induce learning

With so many assuming training is learning, many projects suffer…and some ultimately even fail. 

Training helps facilitate learning, as one of the tools you use, but it is not always the most effective – or affordable. Instead, your initiative will undoubtedly need a combination of techniques to meet the ongoing learning needs of your team. 

Every hour and dollar you spend on training – or any single teaching activity – that does not increase learning is a waste.

Never confuse your goal of increasing learning with delivering training. These are not synonymous. 

Instead, be sure to focus on what tools and methods will most effectively increase learning for your team. You will see better results.

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