How Policies Damage Training

forest-67286_1280Training serves one purpose – prepare people to do their job. It’s a tall order, especially with complex jobs such as law enforcement, which is why it is disappointing to see this vital service complicated by policies that fail to focus on the goal of training. An example of one of these policies is requiring participants to spend a specific amount of time in an online module. This is common for re-certifications as well.

When did time = learning?

Why is  it necessary to force people to spend x amount of time in a module, or even a class, if they can pass the test without spending all of that time? What matters here? To me what matters is that participants have the knowledge and skills to do their job. If they already have some knowledge and experience with a topic, why are they being forced to spend an hour or a day to meet a requirement?

Policies need to focus on expected levels of proficiency and meeting outcomes, not time. Learning is personal and we’re all unique. One person may be able to grasp new concepts or review content in an hour, whereas it will take another person 2 or 3 hours. The purpose of training is to prepare them to do their job; therefore, the requirements need to focus on the assessment and the assessment only. Can they demonstrate the knowledge and skills outlined in the learning objectives?

I hope this post prods leaders to focus on the purpose of their training policies, and create policies which support their employees’ learning.  Let’s see the forest for the trees.

Kerry Avery

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