Last time, I was on the verge of berating and possibly insulting every training professional reading this blog. Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, let me explain what caused my tirade last week…

I was having a conversation with a client about a training program. The objective was to design materials that would train managers on how to access a new online policy resource. Sounds easy enough? It wasn’t. What started as a simple solution with a 10-minute captivate software tutorial ended up being 2 hours of e-Learning explaining the content of the policy resource because the corporate instructional designers were convinced that all employees “need to know this stuff.” Despite my best attempt to remind the client of the desired outcome (getting managers comfortable accessing an online resource), the focus stayed true to classic instructional design…provide a laundry list of learning objectives and an overabundance of mandatory material to achieve those objectives. And we wonder why people roll their eyes when they’re told they have to complete training. It got worse…

When the instructional designers finally recognized that the program was being over-engineered, they fell back to the last line of defense: “this is what we were told to create.” That’s when I lost it!

I understand the importance of “following orders,” but come on! We’re not in the military! We’re in business! Shouldn’t we all strive to be stewards of good business decision-making? If there is a better and more efficient solution, we need to speak up, even if it runs counter to our caring nature as trainers. In short, we need to stop thinking of ourselves as trainers and educators and start thinking of ourselves as change agents. Until we do this, we will continue to shoot ourselves in the foot, and lose out on elevating the value of instructional design to the business.

Soak on that thought for a little while… challenge it if you like! I’ll share some thoughts about what it means for a trainer to be a change agent in a few weeks.


October 19, 2011


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