Do you practice what you learn?

Another way of looking at the old saying ‘Practice what you preach’ is ‘Practice what you learn.’ Far too often, we sit down in a classroom type training learning something new. However, we seldom put the new-found knowledge into practice. This is such a waste of time, money, resource and opportunity to improve.

After returning to the Philippines five years ago, one glaring practice I noticed about training companies is that they have this ‘training hit & run’ approach. These training companies provide classroom trainings but fail to consider the sustainability of the lesson in real life. Such training companies do this either in a public workshop or in a more contained corporate training setting. Knowledge retention with such approach is very low. People usually go back to business as usual and gradually forget what they learned.

AGMC, the company we set-up, has a different approach. After we conduct our ‘classroom training’ the learning process does not end there. Participants have an assignment to use what they learn in their day-to-day work. Three or four weeks after the classroom training, we reconvene and the participants share their experience using their new competencies.

Participants report on the work situation where the skill was used. They are also required to analyze the situation and report on their insights. It is only now, after the discussions, that they receive their certifications.

This is not a new approach to sustainable learning. It has been used abroad for some time now. Locally, when you take up a Lean Six Sigma program, the participant is required to have an actual work project proving the use of the lessons learned. They identify a challenging problem at work and use the tools and lessons they learned to fix the problem. The participant then proceeds and analyzes the financial benefits of the project and present/defend it to a panel. Only when they prove that they effectively used their newly acquired competency will they get their Lean Six Sigma Certification.

To all training companies back here. Let us design our programs as sustainable competency development programs and not as a one-shot deal. When a customer calls us again for a development program, it should be for a new competency. Getting a call to come back and re-train people for a competency that did not stick simply means we failed.