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Is Less More? – Part 2

July 28, 2011

Recently, as we were about to sign a contract for a series of instructor-led offsite seminars, the training manager in a large US Bank, subsidiary of a major global bank,  came back to say that given the feedback he had received from the line managers, we’d better start thinking distance learning. Four consecutive days was too much time for participants to be away from their jobs, and the logistics would be expensive. We revised our proposal and came up with a virtual classroom solution with 24-hours of training to be delivered over 16 one and half hour sessions with pre-course reading and pre and post-course testing. The project is under discussion.

The bank wants less.  Less time away from the job, less work disruption, lower costs.

Despite training managers still believing that people ought to take time to be away from work, they will often get push-back from line managers who value meeting short-term quotas and short term productivity more than investing in the longer term benefits of training. In my daily role of identifying learning needs and proposing solutions, I see that it is becoming harder and harder to take people away from their everyday tasks.

While unsure of how all will turn out, we are, nevertheless, looking forward to the prospect of embarking on this project, which would include adapting material to the virtual classroom. Among the challenges: How can we assure that the new solution yields results on par with the 4-day live classroom training? How can we guarantee we have the share of mind, buy-in and involvement prior to or after virtual training sessions? One of the objectives of the training program is to build momentum for a change in risk culture at the bank. Are we going to get there?

The above is one example of wanting to achieve MORE with LESS. The objective fits nicely within the parent global bank’s training goals of delivering the majority of its training virtually .

Like the example given above, there are many cases I encounter where corporate education is being clipped or condensed due to tightening budgets and resource limitations. There doesn’t seem to be one-size-fits-all here. Each situation needs to be analyzed in its own context and each solution carefully crafted to meet the need. In some cases, LESS will be MORE. In others, it will be just that: LESS.

by Alexandre Moreira

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