Last fall, I facilitated a session titled “Kill a Bad Option: Stopping a Learning Program” at the Masie Foundations Annual Conference: Learning 2017.  The session was a dialogue about establishing a framework and barriers to ‘executing’ such a framework. The crowd agreed overwhelmingly, that killing a bad training program is necessary and hard to do.  I was thrilled when the Association for Talent Development reached out to me to author a ‘quick tips’ article on the same topic. Here is a link to the article.

As this is an important topic, here are my additional thoughts on these five signs:

  • Business operations have changed substantially, but the degree of change in programs that support them is minor. Additional content is badly needed to support the change in operations. Compare course learning objectives and business objectives often.
  • The program is intended to teach something that shouldn’t be memorized or ingrained in baseline knowledge. If the stakes are high when it comes to accuracy of execution, programs that deliver content that encourages memorization may do more harm than good. Instead, look at performance support tools and job aids as a replacement for this outdated content.
  • Cost per learner for a given program is a high outlier when compared to all programs in the portfolio. Consider Total Hours to Maintain and Deliver Annually/Total Learners Enrolled as a key indicator when conducting a portfolio review.
  • Total Learners Enrolled is a low outlier when compared to all programs in the portfolio. If learners aren’t using the material, examine course evaluation data to create a hypothesis about why. Then confirm that hypothesis!

The training is the pet project of a former leader. It can be hard when a favorite leader moves on from the organization. Often those who miss the departed leader are unwilling to ‘undo’ his or her work. Take a hard look at these programs and make sure the departed leader’s legacy is a good one that still fits the direction of the organization.

If you are looking for tips and insight about a program in your portfolio, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact us here.