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Archive for the ‘No Bad Training’ Category

I just received, from the SPBT folks, the consolidated feedback from the Vendor Selection workshop (“Right-Sourcing” 101) co-facilitated by Angela Nicoletta and me at the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers conference in late spring.

There were no Russian judges, no perfect “10”s awarded, and we didn’t get to ascend the trainer’s podium for a gold medal. But it looks like we scored all right with the audience, and that’s what matters.

Is it OK to share this? I guess probably so; but if not, then I’ll ask forgiveness later!

Session: Vendor Selection: “Right-Sourcing” 101

    Presenter’s Expertise: 3.74 (average for all sessions was 3.49)
    Presenter’s Delivery: 3.58 (average for all sessions was 3.40)
    Presenter’s Preparedness: 3.68 (average for all sessions was 3.53)
    Overall Content: 3.53 (average for all sessions was 3.27)
    Quality/Usefulness of Handouts: 3.58 (average for all sessions was 3.14)
    Overall Value of the Workshop: 3.68 (average for all sessions was 3.25)

Note: The scale is: 1-poor  2-good  3-very good  4-excellent

Some of the positive comments were:

    – As an industry partner, I enjoyed getting the information/mindset of the ‘inside the walls’ person
    – Class participation on best practices
    – Excellent 10 steps
    – Good thought starters
    – I have no experience as a lead manager so this was very helpful spelling out the RFP/RFI process
    – Real-life examples were provided
    – Sample RFP outline; points to make sure to include
    – I am new to vendor sourcing and needed this
    – Thorough and logical; good real world examples included

On the constructive criticism side, the input focused on “not enough time.” That was definitely the case – we had a lot of material and could not shoehorn it all into 1.5 hours. But I guess that’s OK compared to the opposite problem!

I don’t have written reviews from those who attended the lunch-and-learn version that I’ve subsequently delivered to specific training departments, but I know the sessions were very well received. Contact us here (stevew(at)impactiviti.com) if you’d like to schedule a session for your team on Vendor Selection.

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no-bad-training-ipod-sm.jpgToday, we’re talking interface – specifically, eLearning systems. Platforms.

You know the drill. You login to the corporate system. Then you land on an intranet. Then you have to find the training page (maybe there are multiple training pages for different roles). Then you have to look for what you’re supposed to do.

Why can’t you just login, and have all your “stuff” presented to you? Personalized, based on your role, your training record, and your assignments. Plus, all the other non-training stuff too – all in one interface?

Answer: bad system design. Maybe it’s just a poor interface. More likely, it is that combined with the fact that you have multiple systems “stitched” together that aren’t well-integrated, so learners have to click around and seek what they’re supposed to find.

That’s not user-centered design. If I’m a field user, I don’t want to have to keep clicking, visit multiple pages, and look under virtual rocks to see what I’m supposed to do. Inaccessible training is unprofitable training.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Some of the older, mega-enterprise software systems will never be user-centric. There are better learning/content delivery systems available now. Software should be configured for the user; users should not have to be conformed to bad software.

Maybe you have good training – just bad ways of getting to it. That’s a zone worth leaving!

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magnify.jpgShort answer – you do.

How many times have you been ambushed with this scenario: “We need a new workshop on so-and-so for the March POA meeting!” or, “We need a new training piece on such-and-such competitor!” or, “We need to jazz up Day 1 of New Hire Training!”

Now, maybe you do need something along those lines, or maybe not. But a knee-jerk suggestion isn’t the same as a needs assessment, is it?

Here are 5 elements, some or all of which may be woven into a training needs assessment:

User analysis: who are those that are to receive the training, and what is their current level of knowledge/development?

Work analysis: what are the tasks to be performed, and how will the training address that?

Context analysis: what the business needs being addressed by the training?

Content analysis: what are the materials being used, for training and for the job at hand?

Constraint analysis: what limiters (time, budget, personnel, technology, political roadblocks) will necessarily shape how an intervention can be developed and deployed?

Assuming that the need is, in fact, a training need (might it be a coaching/performance support need?), then it becomes a question of designing the intervention based on the gaps identified, deciding on the best development course for the intervention, and determining the cost/benefit of that training intervention.

Bad training can occur through “reactive mode” interventions – doing something because somebody said we need to do something. You stand a far better chance of success by doing a needs assessment  before coming up with a training solution  (shameless plug – I can work with you on this task as a consultant, as well as help identify ideal suppliers).

(Image credit)

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no-bad-training-card-sm.jpgIn virtually all areas of human endeavor, it’s simply easier to go with the crowd.

Why do pharma companies target thought leaders? Simple – most of us are followers. Since we don’t all have the time, expertise, or clout to forge new paths, the safest route is typically to do what everyone else is doing.

And that’s one way that bad training gets started.

    Home Study is (2 / 3 / 4) weeks long.
    Initial Sales Training classes begin with 3 days of lectures.
    We test every week, with a passing score of 85.
    We use (Company X) to do this set of workshops.
    Etc., etc., etc.

The one question you should ask is, “Why”? And the second question you should ask, on a periodic basis, is “Is this training method the best way to meet our goals”?

Continuous improvement means continuous re-analysis. It means getting fresh ideas. It means swimming against the current of inertia. It means having the boldness to say that, no matter what everyone is else doing, and no matter what we have done in the past, maybe there is a better way.

Apple Computer has built their business on the motto, “Think Different“. They don’t settle for the status quo, but seek to break through pre-conceptions and lead the market.

Is is safe to follow the crowd? Sure, to some extent. But should we aspire to just be one more part of the “everybody” group, when training can be made better and better?

The first step toward fulfilling a “No Bad Training” resolution is: question stuff. It something doesn’t really seem to be effective, ask why. Seek out alternatives. Maybe it’s been dragging on like this because nobody, in 4 years, simply asked: Why?

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