Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
The Great Divide
The difference between training and learning is not about who offers it, but who owns it.
Keith Meyerson, director of learning for retail department store Neiman Marcus Group Services, recounts a story of an executive who asked him to create a training program on friendliness because she thought the company’s customer service scores could be improved in that area.“I rephrased the question to ensure I understood her expectations,” he said. “I asked her if she wanted me to create a training program to teach adults how to be nice to each other. Without hesitation she said ‘That sounds silly doesn't it?' But her initial response underlies the conventional wisdom of how organizations view their training departments. Too often they want to throw training at a symptom instead of taking the time to diagnose the root cause. In this case perhaps hiring those with a passion for service, having clearly defined behavioral standards or even providing managers the time to observe and correct performance would be more appropriate interventions. Training may not be the right solution and it is our responsibility to help educate our organizations on the appropriate applications for learning and development.Meyerson’s story and plea aren’t unique. Greg Miller, vice president and chief learning officer for Aflac, a supplemental insurance provider, received a request earlier this year for a team-building course. “Let’s not assume we’re going to do a class first. ‘What do you want these people to learn?’ I always ask. ‘I want these people to get along better,’ is what this particular executive said. ‘What aren’t they doing right now that you want them to learn that will improve their ability to get along better?’ I asked. ‘They interrupt each other in meetings,’ he said. OK, how do we talk about proper communication during a meeting? It’s not always about taking a ropes course.” Miller said a large percentage of training requests are not training requests at all, they’re a call for learning. Executives often ask for training courses because they’re able to drop off their teams in classrooms and wash away their concerns, which doesn’t always produce learning. For courses to be considered significant learning exercises, employees may undergo a training class, but the leader needs to develop his or her own strategy to support the training that took place and reinforce its takeaways with relatable projects.
Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of E-Learning
May 29th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine