Training – The Definition of Insanity

 In Blog

By: Shawna Simcik

As the famous quote by Albert Einstein says, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As learning and development professionals, we know both anecdotally and from decades of research that traditional, instructor-led, “stand up and deliver” training is not effective. Yet, 87% of companies report using this type of training as their primary learning method*. Insanity.

In the 2016 Training Industry Report, reported $70.6 Billion dollars are spent by companies, of all sizes, on training initiatives. The same amount was spent in 2015 and this is up approximately $20B since 2013. Furthermore, the methods in which companies, small, medium and large, are spending this $70B dollars is on “event-oriented” learning. This includes instructor-led, classroom only and virtual or webcast “live” learning.

$70 Billion dollars is spent on training, and only 25% of training programs measurably improve business performance**. So, wait a second…

Businesses are spending more money on training and development. We still use traditional, event-oriented training. We have more dissatisfied learners in our classes***, and according to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, most learners forget 80% of what they have learned 1 hour after training… INSANITY!

I would postulate that within most businesses, the training, learning and development functions are not required to measure and report the Return on Investment within an annual report. I don’t believe that there is any other department within an organization that could get away with this type of spending with no direct correlation to bottom line, business results.

So, with all this doom and gloom, you might ask, “what should we do about this?”

A significant way in which you can improve your training investment and have an impact on your business results is to apply what we know about the modern learner and how people acquire knowledge. One of these methods is to include micro-learning into your training and development. These short, discrete bursts of learning are quickly digested and processed by the already overloaded learner. If you strategically time them, attainment and application of the learning will increase by over 50%.

ICC’s iLEADTM Leadership Development Program is meeting the needs of today’s modern learner by combining action-learning sessions with high-impact, short bursts of learning pushed out to participants over time. This expertly crafted combination of learning activities drives application of new skills and increases knowledge retention achieving measurable objectives and sustainable behavioral change.

What’s your impact on your businesses bottom line? Are you measuring impact? Is this is a question you are struggling with answering? We would love to hear from you.


* The Training Associates, “Training Evolution: The current and future state of corporate learning modalities.” Industry Survey, March-April 2015

** McKinsey Quarterly/October 2010

*** Degreed, How the workforce Learns in 2016, 1/2016

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