Employee training myths you could be “April fooling” yourself about

Truth? Or Myth? Depends on which decade you’re operating in. Not long ago, these statements might have been true, but not any longer. To be sure you’re not April fooling yourself, we invite you to review these statements and see why they should be relegated to the myth category.

Myth 1: Our LMS is all we need.

Debunked: Over the past decade, many organizations have invested in a learning management system. The thinking was this tool would help employees learn. But the truth is that the LMS has fallen short of meeting expectations. Employees aren’t learning more; they’re not retaining enough knowledge; and they’re not able to apply their learning effectively to the job. From difficulty of use, to lack of social collaboration capability, to outdated methods of delivering learning content and measuring success, there are many reasons why organizations are looking for new options.

Myth 2: Breaking learning into bits and pieces means people will never learn the whole story.

Debunked: In fact, when done correctly, microlearning is an effective way to deliver short bursts of information that are easy to digest, don’t overwhelm employees and allow them to learn more over time. With the right approach, you can deliver and reinforce learning every day, allowing employees to build knowledge continually and more firmly embed it into long-term memory. For more information, read our Microlearning White Paper.

Myth 3: Training starts with content.

Debunked: Traditionally, L&D has looked at the subjects employees should know and then has created training content around those subjects. But this approach is all backwards. If learning programs are ever to have a measurable impact, L&D must start with understanding the strategic objectives of the business first. Leaders should then identify the employee job behaviors—that when done consistently—will allow employees to achieve their objectives. Only then should L&D design continuous learning content that addresses specific knowledge and performance needs that will help employees meet those objectives.

Myth 4: There’s no way to link training to strategic business results.

Debunked: For years, training has been viewed as a “supporting” function and, as such, a cost center. Traditionally, it has also been very difficult for L&D to quantify the results of soft skills—such as decision-making or customer service—in terms of dollars and cents. So L&D focused on the results it could quantify, such as number of courses completed, average test scores, and survey feedback. But the problem is that this data doesn’t showcase how learning impacts the business.

Organizations need to know that training has a direct, measurable impact on the bottom line: L&D leaders must generate the right data for decision-making in their own organizations, as well as for other lines of business. And today, new business practices and learning technologies make it much easier to do just that. Check out what Bersin by Deloitte has to say about measuring the impact of learning.

Myth 5: Employees will never voluntarily participate in training.

Debunked: Training has always been seen as something to be endured, but not enjoyed. But by using effective gamification techniques and microlearning, organizations are finding that employees of all ages, and from all areas of the business, are engaging in learning because they want to. Crowe MacKay enjoys 87% voluntary participation and knowledge retention of up to 90%. Pep Boys has garnered 95% participation resulting in 55% reduction in retail shrink.

Myth 6: Playing a game is no way to learn.

Debunked: Research shows that gamification has a significant impact on employee engagement, which drives substantial knowledge improvements. The data is very compelling, and well worth a look.

Myth 7: One training session is enough on any topic.

Debunked: Research has proven that people forget most of what they learn within 30 days of learning it. So unless you can guarantee that your learners will immediately—and over a sustained period—apply what they’re learning, you need to find ways to reinforce learning to ensure the value of your training.

Truth: Employee learning is rapidly changing and it can be confusing to separate truth from myth. But don’t be fooled by old thinking. What we once held as truths must be challenged, and new methods of learning must be investigated and embraced to keep organizations moving forward.

Have a training myth you’d like to debunk? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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