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    Training IS Dead. Long Live the Game.

    When I tell people that I work in training, the reaction is usually a muted “oh, that’s interesting” coupled with a glazed look that you only really get when someone is desperate to change the subject.

    Far too many people still see training as a one directional flow of knowledge, led by an expert and imparted to a room of people who switched off before they even arrived. Since our school days – if we have been told how to do something, we are expected to internalize it and make it part of who we are. If it is written on a Powerpoint slide, people should follow it to the letter. In so many training companies, the “I tell, you do” attitude is still scarily prevalent.

    If you want to influence someone’s attitudes and behaviours, this is emphatically not the best way to learn. In a people-orientated industry such as recruitment, where relationships are king, consultants cannot afford to be following some stuffy rulebook. They have to learn the lessons for themselves and sometimes make up their own rules.

    That is where the games make a difference.

    Gamification is taking over the business world at the moment. It gives learning a cutting edge, there are winners and losers, people learn from each other…. “he won because he did that, I’ll try that next time.”

    The power of gamification comes down to this: it taps into the competitive fires we all have and as we play a game, we become more engaged, feel a greater sense of accomplishment and are more willing to go the extra mile in either making more sales calls, completing more training programs, or interviewing more candidates. And because of our progress, we continue to increase our engagement with the game and reach new levels.

    As Gen Y are increasingly the participants within our training sessions, their preference for practical learning is driving the change. There is no longer a “monkey see, monkey do” culture. Now it is “monkey do, monkey learn.”

    If you stand there and tell them things, you lose the room. Involve them, immerse them in it, let them make mistakes, make sure they laugh about the mistakes. Get them feeling good about themselves, show them the value of what they are learning and they will carry that “feel good factor” back to their day job.

    Time also plays an important role. If you concentrate on one activity for too long, interest levels drop off a cliff. Break down the training into smaller sessions. This “coffee break” training is taking over – let them learn something for the time that it takes to drink a cappuccino. Any sort of change in the activity brings a fresh wave of attention.

    A third tip would be to leave your industry behind. Not every exercise has to be about recruitment. They live and breathe that every day. Sometimes insights come from looking at a problem from a different perspective. Be fresh and different in your approach and people will relate.

    At the end of the day, training is about changing behaviours. Actually, maybe I should rephrase that one…. “training is about people changing their behaviour.”

    There is a huge difference.

    If you would like to discuss this more or anything else we cover then call me on 0800 161 5100. Russell Bennett



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