Control Hidden Training Costs in Your Company
Organizations typically include only out-of-pocket expenses when they estimate the cost of training their employees. But these expenses are just the tip of the iceberg. The following hidden costs make traditional training programs, which usually involve inefficient and ineffective training practices, much more expensive than what people may think:
- Low productivity on the job because employees do not learn efficient work procedures
- Mistakes made on the job because employees do not understand certain problem-solving techniques and work procedures (i.e., employees do not know how to apply what they have learned in training)
- Elongated training periods (which result in loss of time and lower productivity) because outdated training methods are used
- Loss of business because employees lack certain job-related skills (e.g., customer relations skills)
What can you do to reduce your training costs and get the most out of your training dollars? The answer lies in embracing accelerated learning techniques and making these techniques an integral part of all of your training programs.
What exactly is “accelerated learning”? Derived from numerous scientific studies across a variety of disciples, this approach to learning is based on what we know about how the brain functions and how information is acquired, stored, and remembered.
Accelerated learning emphasizes multi-sensory input, ways to reduce stress and anxiety during the learning process, stimulating and rewarding environments, and positive reinforcement. Unlike traditional training programs, accelerated learning training programs use techniques that engage the “whole brain,” involving the simultaneous stimulation of both the left hemisphere (analytical / logical brain) and the right hemisphere (emotional / artistic brain).
BizTip #1 – Acknowledge that traditional training programs tend to be ineffective in meeting organizational needs.
There are big differences between traditional and accelerated learning training programs. Traditional training programs are based on passive learning, while accelerated learning programs emphasize active learning.
“Rote learning,” which has been the mainstay of traditional training programs for the past 60 years, rewards conformity, stifles creativity, and does not work well for most people. Accelerated learning training programs, however, facilitate learning and cater to each individual’s learning style and talents.
Training programs that provide information in a way that is “natural” for the brain make learning easier, help people to understand and remember job-related material, and expedite the integration and application of knowledge.
BizTip #2 – After learning more about accelerated learning principles, start including them in your training programs.
Although accelerated learning principles have been well-documented over the past 25 years, few organizations have incorporated these concepts in their training programs. Many books and online resources encourage organizations to adopt the following accelerated learning principles:
- Create a stimulating and rewarding learning environment
- Promote positive emotions and a relaxed state of mind (receptive “internal environment”)
- Cultivate self-confidence and self-esteem
- Foster cooperation among learners
- Regularly communicate expectations and personal responsibility for learning
- Recognize individual learning styles
BizTip #3 – Help your employees learn faster and remember more.
Incorporate the following accelerated learning techniques in your training programs:
- Provide a "big picture" framework to improve the retention of information
- Use activity-based, collaborative learning techniques
- Pose hands-on problems and encourage questions
- Make effective use of music to enhance learning
- Provide regular feedback to employees regarding progress in training
- Recognize and reward successful performance in training
BizTip #4 – Reduce training time while making learning more enjoyable.
Organizations want training to be as efficient as possible. But sometimes efficiency can make training boring. Employees want training to be interesting. But sometimes fun and stimulating techniques take a little more time.
You can merge the best of both worlds and include the following training and development activities that not only reduce the amount of time employees spend in training but also make learning more stimulating:
- Provide reading materials that are comprehensive, organized, and easy to understand
- Make presentations that minimize the use of words and involve colorful graphics
- Watch and discuss videos that highlight important concepts and practices
- Use workbooks relating to relevant subject matter areas
- Assign individuals to work with a "learning partner" to reinforce the retention of information
- Encourage trainees to participate in group learning activities to encourage teamwork
- Provide demonstrations of the correct way to perform job activities
- Ask trainees to demonstrate to peers that they understand the proper work techniques
- Ask trainees to perform job activities under guided supervision
- Provide daily progress evaluations to assess the comprehension of information
Begin Using Accelerated Learning Techniques
We are clearly living in a new age of “networked intelligence.” Communication is instantaneous, and information continues to explode at a faster rate month after month. These technological changes mean that jobs are becoming increasingly “brain-sensitive,” that skilled brainpower is replacing muscle power, and that employees require higher level skills for successful job performance.
Business success today essentially boils down to solving problems better and faster. The primary competitive advantage of profitable companies is the ability of employees to learn and to learn faster. Therefore, it is important to start recognizing the significance of using accelerated learning techniques to improve your employee training programs.