There is always at least one. One person in a training program, or worse still, that couldn’t make it to the program, that asks, “Can I get a copy of the slides?”

Why do we hear both attendees and absentees ask for them so often? Simply put, it is in the belief that the learning content of the training program exists across a sequential series of PowerPoint slides. It is the belief that if you were to “read” the slides, you could get the content, much like reading a book.

In defense of those asking, it is partially our industry’s fault, as we have trained them to think this way. Many programs are designed, intentionally or not, by using PowerPoint like publications upon which to spread out content. We have been thinking about training this way now for some 200 years – essentially the flow of information from an expert to the students. All the requisite learning content, the information, is then put into the PowerPoint slide deck.

The physical classroom has only helped reinforce this perspective. Students and trainees alike are held captive for hours, often days, while the content is poured from the expert, through PowerPoint, then into their brains. Of course, as learning and development professionals, we know that this isn’t the best recipe for success. Nevertheless, most training has not evolved past this approach

With lockdowns essentially behind us, it should not come as a surprise then why so many organizations are in such a hurry to cram employees back in physical classrooms to learn. Perhaps one of the most important reasons for this push is to hold them hostage. Over the years, people have largely learned to show up on time, stay put, and to limit the number of interruptions during the event itself. However, this same level of discipline is not shown in virtual learning. The habits associated with online seminars and self-paced modules are to procrastinate and allow any interruption to be a distraction.

It’s sad to think that the only real value associated with the traditional classroom are the walls. Rather, we should be working with trainees to help them learn new habits for successful virtual learning as well as evolve our teaching styles to meet their needs and make our workshops engaging. We must transform ourselves from the designers and deliverers of training events to the architects and enablers of learning.

While Market-Partners Inc. begins rolling out in-person workshops once again, we remain committed to fully embracing the new vehicles and approaches to learning. A world where millions of people are learning any manner of assorted topics from YouTube. Where a significant percentage of the total population of the world collaborates on Zoom. Where people take it for granted that they can gain access to all types of information from their phone. We continue to take on responsibility for change management, for engineering our learning programs, and for ensuring the relevance and quality of the training to the learner.

So yes, you can have the PowerPoint slides, the recording, and whatever else. But our content is not actually there. We know workshops must be dynamic and participative to be worthwhile. That is why the real value is in the conversations, the collaboration, and the knowledge we gain through curated virtual experiences. In today’s world, the content should not in a slide deck – it should truly be alive.

Written by Martyn Lewis
Posted November 19, 2021
Blog

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