How does one determine value when training? Does it seem possible that many of us have lost our ability to correctly assess the value of the programs that are delivered? I know, starting an article with two questions is not the ideal method for making an argument. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that the value of ‘questions’ is greater than the value of ‘answers’. Therefore, I submit these questions for review

A traditional method for determining value is in the ‘content’. Many programs are built around the training content. The belief is that the ‘content’ is of such great value that irrespective of the delivery, that the student will immediately absorb the material and be capable of mastery of the topic. (At least that is how many training departments are acting in today’s corporate environment.)

I have seen training department after training department continue this error of value. It is interesting that many of these corporate training groups believe that they can take a 20-something trainer (please continue to read so that you get the point and not take offense at the example) and provide them with relevant material, and somehow that combination of inexperience and content will mix up a potent brew of high-quality-training!

Could someone please explain how this mix of inexperience and content morph into elegant training?

If the premise of this mix had any value to it, the argument could be extended to education in our universities. We all know that the professors at Harvard, Yale and other Ivy League universities publish a tremendous amount. The professors write books, articles and provide analytic case-studies that are available to just about any and everyone. How is it that with the availability of these valuable resources, that we still have great disparity of value attributed to our different university experiences? Why isn’t the local community college’s degrees of equal value to those of Harvard and Yale. If the material is the same, why should not the student come away with the same value?

This leads to the crux of the initial question: how to correct assess value in training programs.

If value is not determined by the content, then what DOES determine value? Simply, it is all in the delivery and presentation. In our university example, the professors at these esteemed institutions are just superior to those of your local community college. (In disclosure, I did not attend an Ivy League college.)These professors are at these universities because of all that they had done prior to arriving there. They were already on the forefront of the material they teach. They have been pushing the envelopes far beyond their peers in their fields. They showed that their grasp of the material was so complete that they could deliver a highly-engaging presentation to their students. In short, they could inspire their students with the material.

This brings us back to corporate training. Value, it seems, is related to the ‘trainer as well as the material’. If we are seeking to take our staffs and elevate them in performance, knowledge and conduct, we have to seek solutions to insure those objectives. Doesn’t the trainer, sometimes, make all of the difference in the world? How many times have we found ourselves interested in the material to then experience a trainer who kills our desire for it? Conversely, how many times did we find undesirable subjects take flight when a teacher/trainer was there to elevate the material?

Giving thought to WHO provides training should be of greater importance than to WHAT material should be delivered. Value is always determined by those who attend and then engage the material once they return to their jobs. Making the hard decision to deliver high-quality programs will never be easy. Nevertheless, it is the most sure way to guarantee that your training department and programs continue within your corporate walls.

Copyright Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.


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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.