The organisation of the e-learning Masterclass – a course promoted by Amicucci Formazione to encourage companies’ autonomous production of e-learning courses – was the chance to reflect not only on methods and techniques for company training, but also on its purpose and role in the company. In an attempt to express our reflections, we have drawn up the indispensable qualities of training activities in a handbook format.
- Awareness. Company competitiveness is increasingly defined by its ability to drive innovations: training is the only tool that can accompany this process, by creating culture and providing methodologies. Training can give shape to a company’s strategic objectives because it is the only tool the company has that can change people’s behaviour. Being so powerful, however, it sometimes produces unwanted effects: it is therefore necessary to supervise every phase of a training project with the greatest care.
- Communicated. As with any other company product, training must be communicated to its recipients in a clear and precise way, in order to create consent and availability for the project. It is therefore important to activate the four phases that lead to conscious learning, that is: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA). Training must ally itself with Company communication in order to define the most appropriate tools, methods and language.
- Integrated. In-company training makes sense only if it is an integral part of all the company’s organism. Training is the bridge towards innovation and making changes in company behaviour, in all fields. It is, therefore, the company’s business partner. In the simplified representation of the chain of values, training represents the link that connects company behaviour to competitive performance that is, it is able to generate value through the growth and development of people.
- Adequate. Able to give the right answers using the period of time, language, means and architectures that are adequate for not only the company’s needs, but also their opportunities and vision. The term should be understood in the broadest and most positive sense of its meaning, as a tool that can achieve the company’s aspirations.
- Centered, on content that is used to change behaviour. In the structure of the training project it is necessary to consciously cast aside the temptation to provide as much information as possible, as a lot of information does not mean a lot of knowledge. Cathy Moore’s Action Map can help us precisely define the content that is necessary and sufficient for a training project it invites us to reflect not on the information that we would like to convey but on the actions that we should activate.
- Effective. If the participants correctly answer all the questions in the final quiz of the course, can we say that the training was effective? D. Kirkpatrick’s Model identifies the four levels of inquiry that can express an evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention, that is: reaction, learning, behaviour at work and the impact on the company in terms of performance. In order to verify the ROI of the training, it is necessary to have a precise definition of the training objectives (KPI) during the planning stage. The level of effectiveness is measured by the gap between the desired behaviour and that which is put in practice after the training activity. The smaller the distance, the greater the effectiveness.
- Creative. The theory of H. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences invites us to use non-conventional language and situations to activate different levels of involvement and learning. In this sense, R. J. Spiro’s Cognitive Flexibility is also appropriate, as it rotates around the metaphor of a criss-crossing landscape. We can translate this as a crossing and recrossing of the same content of knowledge in a non-linear way: returning several times to the same place in the “conceptual landscape” by following different roads.
- Involving, that is, being able to activate a new training agreement between people and the company, which is also aimed at redefining the traditional roles of teacher and student, where the experiences and the knowledge of both converge in a virtuous circle that increases the company’s assets of knowledge. These can be tapped into and contributed to by everyone. A training consumer becomes a prosumer that is, the person being trained can collaborate with the final definition of the training.
- Sustainable. How many power points have been created? How much paper printed? How much time for research and the gathering of materials for yet another presentation? The creation of didactic material requires an expenditure of resources and energy that cannot and must not be wasted. On the contrary, it must be evaluated and capitalised on so that it becomes an organised company asset, shared and shareable. Planning training means thinking about a company’s architecture for training that invests resources in a sustainable and long-lasting project, which will allow you to capitalise on knowledge and reduce the times and cost of every single future initiative: the so-called ecology of training.
- Liquid. The buzzword is continuity: people learn continuously, through formal and informal initiatives. It is only by providing the company with the tools that can adapt perfectly to the period of time and methods required and to the expectations of the recipients that learning can become practice, a daily, healthy habit. And, like a liquid that takes the shape of the container it is in, training will give shape to company objectives when its contents are allowed to flow fluidly within the company.