Why adults hate classroom learning? And can that be changed??


Situation 1 :

Whether you work in private firm or PSU or Government organization or an NGO, I am sure at multiple occasions you were nominated for the training sessions, particularly classroom session. What are the usual thoughts that cross your mind? What are you thinking right now after reading the scenario?

Situation 2 (extension of situation 1) :

Imagine you and some of your colleagues are nominated for a training program. Let’s say these colleagues are your tea or lunch buddies. What is the usual conversation you will hear or participate in while discussing about that training invite?

Kuchh to aaya hai…. (Something has come…)
Oh no, one more training….
What? Classroom training? Isn’t there any other way out?
Training now?? I have lot of meetings and pressed agendas. Why can’t they understand this? (By the way, this statement goes irrespective of month, date or time of the year)

On one side all of us agree that to be competitive and relevant in our roles or otherwise, we need to continuously upgrade our knowledge and skills. If this is what we agree and believe, either by choice or as a necessity, why is it that there is reluctance to structured learning when we start our working life?

I decided to try and get answers to this question by checking through some informal conversations with my training participants at the invitation stage and during the class room session. The findings are interesting.

“We have had enough of learning during our school and college days, since the experience largely has been so great, now no more learning in that fashion” said one of my training participants.
“As working professionals, we want to see instant results of whatever we are learning in the classroom” said the other participant.
“My boss wants me focus on work at hand and normally not keen to send me for the training program” said the third. I suddenly heard the class clapping at this sentence. I guess most of the participants wanted to say this and someone showed the courage to make that statement hence the claps. The boss’s belief of training sessions as a waste of productive time is sometimes a big hindrance and unfortunately it shapes up his team members thoughts and Orientation.

So here we are talking about 3 entities. The participant, the Boss and the Training Manager/Function.

Participant perspective:
They want instant application of the learning. If the learning objectives and design is worked out carefully so that they are able to see the application to their work life, it can interest them and they may not have as much hesitation in coming for the next learning event. One of the common observations I have is that participants love to have humour in the class. They learn maximum when they are engaged in activities relevant activities in line with the learning objectives of the workshop.

Boss :Presentation skills
If one has to remove the resistance of ‘The Boss’, why not involve him and his boss and the function head right from the objective setting stage of the program or workshop. If the program is meant for the employees of a particular function, why not get the problem statement from the function head herself, authenticate it with the larger audience of her team and design the program around accordingly? Since the bosses  may see the direct relevance and benefit, they hopefully will not resist engaging their team in learning.

Training Manager/ Learning and Development Function :

Ed Monk of Learning and Performance Institute (LPI, UK) says that the modern learning team must be able to curate content, create bite sized learning, deliver anytime/anywhere learning, collate resources and engage with the business on a strategic level.

Hence the L & D function needs to look at all the stages of program creation like relevant content, engaging activities, building trainers capability to deliver engaging training and finally feedback, particularly on the participants expanded ability to apply the newly learned things in her work area.

Three important things are emerging.
a. Engage all stake holders at a strategic level and create only relevant learning interventions.
b. Offer engaging, flexible, formal as well as informal learning environment to the participants.
c. Have an effective feedback mechanism to understand the efficacy of the program.

The conversation during lunch or tea for the participants after receiving a training invite will possibly then take a positive and exciting turn.

Let me know your views…


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