A Founder’s Take on Learning

  • By: Tom McKeown
  • Blog
  • December 13, 2012

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”   When reading what he said one could infer that to be a very apt description of the evolution of training and learning management within leading corporations.

The best companies have always provided training for their employees, but often with dubious results as to how effectively the information was delivered and ultimately retained by their employees.  The common practice is to throw company policies, jargon, and lengthy non-interactive training sessions at the new hire in the hope that everything sticks.  Some of these same companies would then provide “follow up” training sessions as the employee matured in the job, but this would often involve an inconveniently scheduled time that would interrupt the work of not only the employee, but the co-worker responsible for providing the training.

The advent of learning management systems has allowed companies to offer much of that additional training in a more targeted method that doesn’t require real-time instructors.  Courses can be recorded or developed online for employees to take when their schedule permits, while managers can view the completion and performance of their direct reports through the system’s reporting capabilities.  The problem is that with these online sessions being just between the employee and their computer, the benefit of interactive learning is still lost.

The addition of social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook) provides that element of collaboration as students can drill deeper into subjects through threaded discussions with peers and various content experts who have the ability to monitor and interact when it’s convenient for them.   The employee is then able to continue the education process through posts and queries, taking with them what they’ve learned online as they step back and do their job.

So, take a note from one of our American Founders and involve your employees while you train them.

Connect with Tom

Tom McKeown was recently the CEO and Co-founder of TrenData, which was acquired by isolved HCM in 2021. He currently manages the product team and business unit for their People Analytics offering.

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