How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Training vs. Learning: do you want to train? Or have someone learn?
Guest articles > Training vs. Learning: do you want to train? Or have someone learn?
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
Did you ever wonder why training fails more often than not? When important material, meant to improve or educate, is not learned or acted upon? Why perfectly smart people keep doing the same things that didnât work the first time? The problem is the training model. Current training models are designed to offer and present data, not help folks learn. Let me explain.
Current training models successfully educate only those who are predisposed to the new material. Others may endeavor to learn during their classroom study but may not permanently adopt it. The problem isnât the value of information or the eagerness of the learner: Itâs a problem with both the training model itself and the way learners learn. Itâs a systems/change problem.
HOW WE LEARN
We all operate out of unique, internal systems comprised of mental models (rules, beliefs, history etc.) that form the foundation of who we are and determine our choices, behaviors and habits. Our behaviors are the vehicles that represent these internal systems - our beliefs in action, if you will. So as a Buddhist I wouldnât learn to shoot a gun, but if someone were to try to kill my family Iâd shift the hierarchy of my beliefs to put âfamilyâ above âBuddhistâ and âshooting a gunâ might be within the realm of possibility
Because anything new is a threat to our habitual and carefully (unconsciously) organized internal system (part of our limbic brain), we instinctively defend ourselves against anything âforeignâ that might seek to enter. For real change (like learning something new) to occur, our system must buy-in to the new or it will be automatically resisted.
The design of most training programs poses problems for learners, such as when
Our brains are programmed to maintain our status quo and resist anything new regardless of the efficacy of the required change. Much like a sales pitch, training offers good data â and learners, like buyers, may not know they need it or be able to congruently make the change the new information requires. But there is another way to go about training that incorporates change. Letâs begin by examining the beliefs inherent in the training model itself.
HOW WE TRAIN
The current training model assumes that if new material
But these assumptions are faulty. At an unconscious level, this model attempts to push something foreign into a closed system (our status quo) that is perfectly happy as it is: it might be adopted briefly, but if it opposes our habituated norm, it will show up as a threat and be resisted. This is the same problem faced when sellers attempt to place a new solution, or doctors attempt to change the habits of ill patients.
Until or unless the unconscious system that holds our beliefs and values and habits in place is ready, willing, and able to adopt the new material, any change will not be permanent and learners will resist. Effective training must change beliefs first. And beliefs can only be changed by the learner making internal shifts, separate from the new information provided.
To avoid resistance and support adoption, training must enable
before the new material is offered.
I had a problem to resolve when designing my first Buying FacilitationÂŽ training program in 1983. Because my content ran counter to an industry norm (sales), I had to help learners overcome a set of standardized beliefs and accepted processes endemic to the field. Learners would have to first recognize that their habitual skills were insufficient and higher success ratios were possible by adding (not necessarily subtracting) new ones.
My training design is called Learning Facilitation. Iâve used this model successfully for decades. (See my paper in The 2003 Annual: Volume 1 Training [Jossey-Bass/Pfieffer]: âDesigning Curricula for Learning Environments Using a Facilitative Teaching Approach to Empower Learnersâ pp 263-272). Hereâs how I design courses:
Course material is designed with âlearningâ and belief change in mind (rather than content sharing/behavior change), and looks quite different from conventional training. For example Day 1 uses no desks, no notes, and no lectures. I teach learners how to enlist their unconscious to facilitate buy-in for new material.
Whether itâs my training model or your own, just ask yourself: Do you want to train? Or have someone learn? They are two different activities.
Sharon Drew Morgen is the author of 9 books, including NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity, and What? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? She has developed facilitation material for sales/change management, coaching, and listening. To learn more about her sales, decision making, and change management material, (www.dirtylittlesecretsbook.com) go to www.sharondrewmorgen.com. To learn more about her work on closing the gap between what’s said and what’s heard, go to www.didihearyou.com. Contact Sharon Drew for training, keynotes, or online programs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharon Drew is currently designing programs for coaches to Find and Keep the Ideal Client, and Lead Facilitation for Lead Generation.
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
Published here on: 24-Apr-16