by Jenn Brown
“Training is not the answer” is a bold challenge to the learning experts and advocates at the 2015 E-Learning Symposium. Dr. Pelè Ugboajah’s approach is certainly bold. Early into the hour-long session, Ugboajah strapped on an acoustic guitar and led the crowd into singing a version of “My Girl,” replacing “My Girl” with “training.” Later on, he promised, a different version would be sung.
Dr. Ugboajah is the founder and CEO of ResultPal, a practice-based performance management software solution, and the author of The Three Gaps Between Goals and Greatness.
The singing wasn’t just a gimmick. Prior to picking up the guitar, Ugboajah told a parable: three people go to a guru and declare they want to learn how to play a guitar. The first person says, “tell me,” and the guru proceeds to tell them; they thank the guru, then leave. The second person says, “show me,” and watches the guru play. They thank the guru, then leave. The third person says, “involve me,” and spends a year with the guru learning not just notes and chords, but practicing on their own.
The first person didn’t learn much at all. The second learned more but still couldn’t really play. The third person, however, was able to learn chords and play songs because that person actively used the knowledge and converted it into practice.
“Awareness is not sufficient. Practice is the missing link,” says Ugboajah.
Ugboajah’s approach is centered on the 10/20/70 rule to turn training into results. Like the parable of learning, the numbers relate to tell/show/involve. Telling is only 10% effective, while showing is 20% effective. However, turning it into practice is 70% effective.
According to Ugboajah, with the typical “learn on Friday and forget on Monday” paradigm, only 15% of learning in the workplace is actually transferred into results. He also noted that, according to Mary Broad’s book, Transfer of Training, 85% of all training investment dollars are wasted each year. If training was engaging enough that the learners began to practice, this learning transfer challenge can be turned around. Organizations experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes, when compared to an organization with neither engaged employees, nor engaged customers, according to the Gallup: State of the American Workplace Report 2013.
That of course depends on having metrics; 77% of registrants said that their organizations either shared little or no metrics on learning ROI. A recurring theme at the E-Learning Symposium this year was the importance of having well-defined goals and ways to measure them.
To wrap up the presentation, Ugboajah again led everyone in a round of singing. Only this time, it was, “What could make me feel this way? Practice.”
His point is proved; not everyone will remember everything said during the entire Symposium, but it’s guaranteed that one in that room will forget singing about practice.
Ugboajah’s Twitter: @peleugboajah
Jennifer Brown’s twitter: @Jenn_Tech