The Business of Learning

Learning with the Experts: Training Industry’s Doug Harward on the Future of Learning (Part 2)

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In our fourth installment of Raytheon Professional Services’ Learning with the Experts series, we talked with Doug Harward, the founder and CEO of Training Industry. We asked Doug to expand on some of the most prominent trends and disruptors in the field, which Training Industry recently called out in their 2016 Key Trends report.

Part II

RPS Q: As new technology and learning environments enter the field, how can they be used to benefit training and business goals?

DH: Technology is obviously changing the training landscape. How we design, develop, deliver, track and analyze training is being rethought. But we must keep in mind that it is only a part of the solution – as opposed to the solution itself. The most important thing we as training leaders must be focused on is how we align the training we are doing to the needs of the business – as opposed to providing training on popular topics that employees like, but are not directly aligned to performance improvement that the business needs. My experience in working with many learning leaders is when evaluating the content they are delivering, and the initiatives they are focused on is more focused on what is en vogue at the time. New technologies and learning environments are wonderful enablers to accomplishing our objectives, but we need to learn how to be better problems solvers as opposed to content providers.

RPS Q: Your report mentions how virtual delivery has made it easier to attract SMEs. What other ways has virtual delivery changed the world of corporate training?

DH: The greatest impact that virtual training has had on corporate training is financial. In most training, the greatest – and often hidden – cost is time away from the job and travel. If a student has to travel to attend training, this cost is often more than the cost of participating in the travel. Secondly, we are finding that effective virtual training is also very efficient. There is less lost time during start and closing time of classroom, as well as breaks, reducing the time away from the job for the learner. In addition, the learner doesn’t lose time away from the job for travel. Our challenge is continuing to improve the quality of the virtual experience.

RPS Q: You discuss how LMS is quickly moving to the cloud. How is the cloud benefitting learning and development?

DH: Cloud based administration systems are significantly reducing the cost of support and implementation of these platforms. For large corporations, the cost of licensing an LMS/LCMS system has been in the millions of dollars annually. New systems allow administrators to literally set up administration systems virtually, and can manage them on an event basis, as opposed to annual licenses. In addition, these systems allow us to implement corporate-wide applications through application program interfaces (APIs) that easily interface with corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, resulting in more efficient and effective management of analytics.

RPS Q: As mobile learning becomes increasingly popular, how do you see BYOD fitting into the future of training?

DH: BYOD, or bring your own device, is at the heart of where training is going. The reason is because we don’t think of BYOD solely for when the learner attends the classroom. BYOD is more in line with how a learner accesses learning content at the point of need – on the job. Virtually every learner has some type of mobile device on their person. This allows them to access content that helps them solve problems when they arise. BYOD is perfect for on demand learning, as well as for content that is delivered as reinforcement from the initial learning experience.

RPS Q: How do you see learning analytics impacting the future of training?

DH: Critical to the future success of training leaders is their ability to analyze program success based on the ability of the learner to apply the knowledge and skills to the job. We have often thought of learning analytics from the perspective of measuring the learner’s experience while participating in the training. Learning analytics, as taught to us many years ago by Dr. Kirkpatrick in his four levels of evaluation, must translate into measuring the learner’s performance on the job to determine if the training experience is effective. This requires much greater relationships with line management in the business – as well as a better science about how we perform level four evaluations.  This new understanding will create an entirely new avenue to monitoring and improving learning program success.

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Doug Harward is the founder and CEO of Training Industry, Inc. He is internationally recognized as one of the leading strategists for training and outsourcing business models. He is respected as one of the industry’s leading authorities on competitive analysis for training services and works with international companies and new business start-ups in building training organizations.

Harward previously served as the Director of Global Learning for Nortel Networks where he led the industry’s largest global training outsourcing engagement with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He received the Chairman’s Global Award for Community Service for his work in developing integrated learning organization strategies within higher education, public schools and business. He has worked in the training industry for more than 25 years.

Harward received a MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a BSBA in Marketing from Appalachian State University. Harward is co-author of the book “What Makes A Great Training Organization.”

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