I teach. A lot.
I teach people that are very interested in what I have to say. And I teach people that don't care at all.
I teach people who are highly motivated to apply the information that I present. And I teach people who like what they hear but can't find the time to get around it actually applying it.
I teach big groups and individuals. I give lectures and I lead discussions. And I have to do it multiple times each week. Here are just a few principles that I have learned over time.
1. You cannot teach someone who is not ready to learn.
If someone is not ready to learn, all you can do is deliver information. Without a prepared and receptive learner the information will never be absorbed and will never be applied.
2. The work you do to prepare a learner to learn will have more of an impact that anything else you do.
The bulk of our time is spent preparing our "class" or "presentation". But this doesn't have nearly the effect that preparing a learner to learn will have. A well prepared learner will learn more from a terrible class/presentation than an under-prepared learner will learn from an exceptional presentation.
3. A person with questions is more prepared to learn than someone without questions.
What can you do to create questions in your employees minds that your training can answer?
4. Your employees cannot apply what they can't remember. They forget 90% of what you teach them.
Research on the forgetting curve shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50 percent of the information you presented. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70 percent of new information, and within a week, forgetting claims an average of 90 percent of it. Some people remember more or less, but in general, the situation is appalling, and it is the dirty secret of corporate training: no matter how much you invest into training and development, nearly everything you teach to your employees will be forgotten. Indeed, although corporations spend 60 billion dollars a year on training, this investment is like pumping gas into a car that has a hole in the tank. All of your hard work simply drains away.
5. If you don't plan for your employees to forget then your training plan will not create the change you want.
You cannot avoid the realities and constraints of what the mind can do. But you can make a plan that helps them succeed when they forget.