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What leading trainers would put in Room 101

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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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