How People Learn

Characteristics of Effective Training

Here are the critical aspects of effective training.

  • The quality of the training leader
  • Clear intention for the training
  • The right audience
  • Adult learning approaches
  • The right content and structure

Training leader. Obviously, the quality of the training leader is number one. A good leader should be able to change the content and structure of the workshop as needed to meet the needs of the team or organization.

Clear intention. The intention must not be “to learn Scrum.” The intention is to create teams that can do Agile with Scrum. At the end of the workshop, the team should already be doing Scrum to some extent. And they know enough so that with proper coaching, they can adapt the practices of Scrum to their situation. That is a high bar but we have seen it achieved again and again; therefore, it should be the goal.

The right audience. The training should be appropriate for the “whole team”: Product Owner, Scrum Master and development team. The expectation should be that all of the team is in the training together.

Adult learning approaches. The structure of the training should support how adults learn. Here is what is involved in the best adult learning approaches.

  • Material is presented in two or three days
  • Learning in small batches
  • Hands-on work and exercises to understand the concept
  • People learn best when learning together with peers
  • Minimizing the number of lectures
  • Supporting different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  • Providing an opportunity for failure

Consequences of Ineffective Training

Ineffective training is so ubiquitous that people think it’s normal.  It is common to hear that 90% of training doesn’t stick. But that’s mostly because:

  1. people can only retain small amounts at a time so a 1-day training will not be retained well
  2. people learn when they learn while doing their own work
  3. people learn in a collaborative environment

When one considers most of the training that is provided today, it doesn’t conform to good training practices.