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How to choose the right course for your employees



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In today’s context, there’s nothing more relevant than training and development. Jerene Ang reveals three tips to follow when choosing a course for your staff.

When it comes to learning and development, the most adopted strategy is the 70-20-10 model, whereby on-the-job learning, or informal learning, constitutes 70% of development, supported by coaching and mentoring (20%) and formal training (10%).

In a blog post, Sprout Labs noted the sequence and types of activities used depends on the function of learning – introducing new knowledge, sharing existing knowledge and practice, and creating new knowledge and practice. While the latter two may be done solely through on-the-job learning and mentoring; to introduce new knowledge, the design typically starts with formal training and uses mentoring and informal learning to support and enable new behaviours.

Should introducing new knowledge be your goal, the type of programme is crucial. Here are some tips to get you started.

Start by identifying the employee’s needs

First things first: know what your employee wants (and needs). This can be done either through formal development conversations with staff or through informal catch-up meetings. During these conversations, ask questions such as, “what do you want to accomplish?”, “what are you interested in?” and “how do you think you learn best?” to uncover their aspirations and interests, and match their needs to the right certification or training programme.

These conversations are a good time to lay out any expectations to ensure everyone is on the same page. This will also help the employee understand what they should look out for during the programme.

Apart from looking at the type of course and the institution, don’t forget to thoroughly examine the course outline, look for reviews, as well as ask about the approach that will be taken.

Do your homework

After identifying the employee’s needs and the type of certification or training programme, it’s important for you to do your homework. Apart from looking at the type of course and the institution, don’t forget to thoroughly examine the course outline, look for reviews, as well as ask about the approach that will be taken – theoretical or practical.

Why is this important? Let’s say you have two courses covering the same subject – course A and B. The only difference being, A takes a theoretical approach, while B takes a practical approach. Through the conversations above, having identified your employee learns best with a practical approach, you will know course B is the way to go and vice versa.

Don’t fall into the brand-name trap

Through it all, remember not to fall into the brand-name trap. It is not necessary to send staff to a course just because it’s from big names such as Harvard – what’s more important is whether the courseware meets your business needs. That is likely the optimum way to ensure a substantial ROI on your learning intervention.

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