I just came out of a two hours corporate training specially designed for technical consultants on a complex technical subject. Neither I had the least bit of interest in the subject nor was the trainer remotely intelligent to make the session a little interesting. Forget about the knowledge on the subject but the trainer was lacking in the basic communication skills and English vocabulary to make any significant contribution. First there were some projector problems which led to a delay of 15 mins. Later, the connection was slow and every screen took 20-25 seconds to open. I was bored to the limits within the first 5 mins of lecture itself when finally it started. I tried hard to concentrate but the speaker, I thought, had sworn to harass all the trainees with his vague examples and irrelevant references. And I could realize from the facial expressions (and the browsers open on the screens) was that most of the trainees were enduring it as badly as me. It was pathetic.
I thought about all the training sessions which I had attended since I started working, all were the same with a little bit of a difference here and there. People seem to harbor some basic rules about trainings like:
· Trainings are meant for the sole motive of completing the yearly mandatory quota of learning.
· Feedbacks are to be always given in positive light irrespective of the quality of training.
· For trainings conducted across locations with shared screens and telephone bridge calls; the speaker phones should be kept on mute and time should be utilized for chatting, joking and gossiping.
· This rule applies for the training coordinator and team leads as well.
· No questions to be asked to the trainer. This is to avoid the extra time that would be required if the discussion stretched beyond the planned schedule.
Leave aside any intellectual discussions; these trainings are a part of those mundane and unavoidable activities. The situation is more or less the same in most of the global IT companies.
Imagine about the millions of dollars which the IT companies are spending on training their associates. Efforts and money are invested in not only getting the best of infrastructure (read hardware, licensed software, high end training rooms) but also in getting best trainers from outside. In spite of all this, if the general attitude towards training and knowledge among the employees is so demeaning, then companies need to do a thorough revamp of their strategies first hand. I wonder what happens to the learning instincts of a person once he starts working. Is he so bored of learning already or does he becomes so perfect that he doesn’t need any more knowledge. Some of them might be genuine in attending sessions, but there are hardly any who can apply the knowledge in their work confidently. There is huge gap between what exactly is needed and what is taught. It is strange that no one seems to have done anything about this yet.
I remember our lectures in college. We didn’t have the high quality training rooms; neither did we have some world class, highly paid trainers. What we had was a decent but intelligent lecturer who loved to teach and who could make the session interesting. But it was enough and the knowledge was abundant. In the race to achieve and show everything high class, we are somewhere losing the basic interest in learning. To expect an effective and creative solution in such an artificial environment is a difficult task. But I hope that someday, companies realize this and try to make a change. I am all willing to be a part of that change.