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What leading trainers would put in Room 101


Last week we asked TrainingZONE members about their 'favourite' irritations to be consigned to oblivion in Room 101. You can read the complete list of suggestions from which we've selected a few common favourites:

  • OHP and PowerPoint presentations – where presenters read out the list, 'slide on' each bullet point, or cover over the list with a sheet of paper.

  • Managers who send staff on training and then ignore the learning or development when they return.

  • Venues – loads of irritations about unhelpful venue arrangements!

  • Yellow flip chart pens.

  • The assumption that training = learning, and vice versa.

But do check out all the great suggestions here.

We also decided to contact a number of well known figures in the training and educational worlds to find out their list of pet-hates and thought our members might like to see the results:

Peter Honey:
Management and learning consultant, author and publisher of Peter Honey Publications

  • Trainers who say 'We'll come to that later' and never do.

  • Trainers who ask participants at the start of a course what they want to achieve and then ignore it.

  • Trainers who automatically respond to contributions by saying 'Thank you for sharing that with us' in as insincere way as 'Have a nice day'

  • The non-learner label/category the government uses in The Learning Age.

  • Didactic sessions where people get talked 'at' - with no (or only cosmetic) opportunities for participation.

  • People who use their learning style preference as an excuse not to change - 'I am an Activist so you can't expect me to handle the details'.

George Edwards
Development officer at the Institute for Supervision and Management

  • Big, fat, NVQ portfolios that prove the candidate can "do nvq", but don't show anything else.

  • "Guidance" notes that attempt to "clarify" previous "advice" on interpreting "criteria" which are in themselves subjective.

  • Politicians who tell us that we are not "doing enough training" just because we are not producing the particular sort of statistics they like to see.

  • Bright young things in "cazyewl" clothes at exhibitions who know diddly-squat about real training, trying to convince us that we actually need their latest IT toy.

  • Conference catering.

Leslie Rae
Trainer, author and reviewer for several publications

Suggests some well-known saying to consign to Room 101:

  • "Why do you keep calling them learners? They're trainees!"

  • "Being honest, I'd like to say …."

  • "Can I quote you on that?" (from a learner when you have just advised the group to ask their line manager)

  • "Can you give me another ring about that later" (meaning don't bother)

  • "The Internet is going to make all training courses obsolete".

Tom Boydell
Consultant and author, member of The Learning Company Project

  • "If you can't measure it you can't manage it" - shows a complete lack of understanding of managing.

  • Performance related pay - guaranteed to reduce productivity, quality and profitability; anyone who supports it shows a complete lack of understanding both of psychology and of the nature of variation in a process or system.

  • Sayings along the lines "half our children do worse than average on some test or other" - shows a complete lack of understanding of statistics, since by definition half of the population will be below average.

  • "A child not in lessons is a child not learning" - shows a complete lack of understanding of the nature of learning.

  • Anyone who says "we are a learning organisation" - shows a complete lack of understanding of the nature of learning organisation.

  • "We all know what we mean by...." - shows a complete lack of understanding of the way in which people make sense of the world.

  • Anyone who says "shows a complete lack of understanding of..." - shows gross intolerance of difference and diversity.

Mike Kelleher
Organisational consultant and Chair of the European Consortium for the Learning Organisation

  • People who use the words 'learning' and 'training' synonymously.

  • People who define a learning organisation as one in which large amounts of teaching/training is being provided.

  • Over-simplistic models or theories which give great relief to the faint-hearted but produce crude tools for understanding.

  • Ice-breakers that have little or no relevance for the theme or subject to be covered. Equally ice-breakers, which confront participants with potentially embarrassing situations and scenarios.

  • The frequent lack of explicit efforts to ensure learners engage in transferring their lessons learned from the classroom / workshop environment to the locations in which their learning is to be applied.

If this has sparked reminders of your work-related pet-hates and irritations which you'd like to dispose of, please feel free to add them – or comment on any of these suggestions – using the Comments feature below.


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