An article in the Wall Street Journal a while back highlighted how corporate training programs are often a waste of time and money. With “little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments,” the article argued, “some 90% of new skills are lost within a year.”
You can debate the validity of the research highlighted in the article if you want, but I know from first hand experience – and you probably do too – that training and education too often gets treated as a “nice to have.” And that viewpoint applies whether you are dealing with a big corporate budgeting department or an individual customer.
I’d argue one key reason is that people question intuitively whether most training and education offerings really have any impact. It’s not hard to see why when, as the the WSJ article suggests, we often do very little to create or demonstrate educational impact. (Corporation are hardly alone in this: research at my company, Tagoras, shows, for example, that very few trade and professional associations do anything to assess the impact of their educational offerings.)
As a result, potential purchasers may put off buying decisions or – arguably worse – undervalue training and education and shop based on price.
Naturally, these are circumstances you want to avoid if at all possible. If your goal is to thrive over the long term, you need to create real impact with your offerings and you need to be able to show that you are creating impact.
3 Keys to Demonstrating Impact
So how can you demonstrate more impact with your learning products?
First of all, of course, you need to develop and facilitate great learning experiences that follow the adult learning principals and design approaches I’ve advocated in various places (including, of course, Leading the Learning Revolution). In other words, you need to start with a great product.
But even great products usually need some help when it comes to communicating their value. So, here are three steps to make sure you are taking.