We all know Einstein was a great physicist and we are all sure he was a great teacher too. When asked if he had only one hour to save the world, he answered “I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution.” To paraphrase, getting the problem right is hard, finding the solution, perhaps not so hard.
With this in mind, I am proposing four problems we in the IT training industry constantly deal with. But I don’t see them as problems, after all, a problem by definition is “something difficult to achieve or accomplish.” What I see are four opportunities or “Circumstances that make it possible to do something.”
Changing a problem to an opportunity starts with how we look at the set of underlying circumstances. Solving a problem increases our mediocrity and keeps us employed. Seeing an opportunity and working it are elements for growth and gives us promotions. The world of IT training may look like a problem but can be relooked at as opportunities.
Take for example the three areas outlined below. All of these issues are recurring “problems” that your IT training organization can work on as they always have: Solve the problem and then go onto solving the next one. Keep the ship afloat. Or, you can address the problem as an opportunity for real growth. Something that will make for a more respected, more profitable and more fine-tuned IT training ship.
Problem: Content is expensive to create, has a short shelf life, and management wants more for less.
Opportunity: How can our company reduce the cost of development while improving the quality of content?
Cost is the elephant in the room. Always has been, always will be. In order to drive out costs in course development, your company may need to make some process changes first. There is a great deal of content already available today and if you embrace the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” methods of the green movement, costs come down and content availability goes up. Seek out already established content in technical areas, reuse that content with your corporations flare added and recycle that content as the corporation’s needs change.
Problem: Windows, Macs, Samsung, iPhones, and iPads….Oh my, which ones to use?
Opportunity: How can our company offer IT training to the variety of platforms our employees embrace?
Yes, today’s varied computing platforms are complex and users are religiously attached to them. Sit next to two geeks in a bar, one that has a Galaxy, the other an iPhone and you know what I mean. Users are so attached to these devices as they have invested much of their time to learn how to be more productive using them. Isn’t that what your IT training organization should be doing too? A rhetorical question of course, as likely as your role is to make employees more productive. So embrace the tools that your employees are most comfortable using.
Problem: Instructors can’t hold the learners attention. People are bored and they suffer from death by PowerPoint.
Opportunity: How can your company employ all the new means of communication available to us today?
There are a host of affordable, easy to use and valuable products that create video casts, podcasts, social media outlets and even gaming. A quote from the Fall 2012 edition of Training Industry Quarterly magazine states that:
“By employing gaming elements into training, learning and development teams can effectively engage learners. Adding these features of engagement immerses learners in the training, which will ultimately increase retention and motivation.”
While you may think such a radical idea like gamification is out of your corporate cultures reach and budget, read the article. It may very well change your mind.
The point with all of this is we as IT trainers don’t have to continue to just solve the daily problems that plague us. We can get out of the fire fighting mode and begin to work on IT training opportunities and in the end we will have produced a much more robust, longer living and healthy training organizations.
As always, I would love to hear from you and I look forward to your continued feedback. Feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org