Training Mistakes - Making Excuses and Refusing Responsibility When Learning Does Not Occur During Training

Can a principle that is TRUE actually result in problematic action if it is followed? Yes, indeed. It turns out that a common mistake made by trainers (and teachers) comes from following a principle that is absolutely true.

That principle is that "learning occurs within the person, and as such we cannot 'cause' learning to take place in another, at least directly."

So, how does following this principle create problems for teachers and corporate trainers?

When learning does not take place in a classroom, some trainers and teachers will use this principle to abdicate any responsibility for the learning not happening, OR, more importantly, abdicate any responsibility for improving things in the future. If trainers cannot directly cause learning, it makes some superficial sense to conclude that if learning doesn't take place, it certainly cannot be placed at the feet of the trainer.

However, it's a little more complicated than that. The major problem here is that when training fails, the only way it's likely to improve the next time is if the trainer or teacher looks at what he or she does, and searches for ways to improve. That means taking on the responsibility, and not placing it on others. The only way the trainer, himself, is likely to improve is to search for things under his control to change.

That means not using a principle of learning to hide behind.

Oddly enough, the way to avoid this is to assume that the training can always be improved, and to assume that when training fails, the trainer and the training design are at least partially implicated. That may not be the case, but we assume it is for purposes of improvement. We call this a "constructive fiction" which is something that may not be accurate, but is constructive in terms of creating positive actions and results.

More: The "It Was A Bad Group" Syndrome

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