With today's economic constraints, the old cliche' quickly comes to mind: We need to do more with less. This is understandable. We all need to tighten our belts now. The same is obviously true for your Kronos Training project. Often, training is one of the first things cut in a time of financial challenge. This is understandable. Unfortunate, but understandable.
One way organizations often tighten their belts is to use a standardized, or "canned" training solution. On the cover, this decision makes a lot of sense. After-all, the work is done for you. The manuals are written, the trainer is prepared and knowledgeable; heck, they may even bring computers with them! All you have to do is schedule the room and get the people in on time. All this for one simple price. Before going this route, you should ask yourself, How much value is the organization getting from this type of training?
Everyone loves convenience. People work hard to make our lives more convenient. Heck, that's why you are willing to pay $2.75 for a gallon of milk at the local "Quicky Mart" when you can get it for $1.39 at the supermarket. In a lot of situations, convenience is very important; but is it as important as value?
In some circumstances a standardized training deliverable can provide the needed value, however this is not always and I would argue, not often the case. The canned solution short changes learners by inhibiting the amount of information that can be understood and retained during a training event. Standardized training often includes more information than is required for a specific organization, building frustration in class participants. Standard training deliverables focus on the "how" of specific tasks, with little or no focus on the "why" these tasks are important to these learners. With adequate planning and analysis, it is likely that a customized solution will prove more adept at improving the learning experience and be more cost effective over the long run.
One of the cornerstones of the Training Zen approach is the incorporation of the employee into the planning, development and design of your training solution. The expertise gained by using employees will add value to the training project in a multitude of ways. They add a real world perspective to the training program. They truly understand the nature of the job and the nature of the people doing the job. This information is invaluable but generally discarded in a standardized solution.
The broad audience for a standardized solution is also reason for concern. The scope of a standardized training solution so large that employee engagement in the material is difficult to achieve. Trainers are forced to bridge the gap between the commonality of standard training materials and the "real world" examples that engage the learner. This is often too much to ask a trainer to do adequately. Ask yourself the following:
What level of learner engagement can be expected when examples and exercises in classroom based course materials don't reflect their job experience?
Will this affect learner retention after the primary training event?
Can you expect an outside trainer to truly understand the job experience of your learners and incorporate that information into the classroom?
How active can you expect learners to be when the course is scheduled at a time that is not conducive to learning?
How comfortable can we expect users to be on a live application that is significantly different from the one used during their training.
If most of these questions are answered negatively, then can you accept the standard training solution?
The goal of the Training Zen approach is the highest possible level of understanding and retention of training data by learners. What is the goal for your training plan? Obviously, there are myriad unique challenges that must be faced in Workforce Central; but what is your goal? The common response is "to get the people trained." If that is your response, then you need to sharpen the pencil. Your point is way too dull. By setting a more detailed goal for your Kronos Workforce Timekeeper training, you can better realize what is required from your training program. You have a better feel for the specific needs of your learners. With that you more accurately analyze your employees, information and environment to develop the best possible training program. Once realized, you will likely see that the standardized training solution really isn't the right solution at all.