How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Training

How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Training

It seems those that are not students of history are destined to repeat it, and problems in the Training industry in Australia are no exception.

People who live in the past don’t dream of creating a better future, but learning from past mistakes and deciding what NOT to do can be a valuable tool when deciding what TO DO.

Mistrust, from both providers and customer in the training “industry”, has reached dysfunctional levels, but why is this so? People know why, they just don’t know what to do about it. Everyone seems to have an idea of how it “should” be fixed.

To explain what is apparently going on in the training industry, and it will take more than one blog, but continue reading. Let’s look back in time, to another sector, and a company called “Enron energy”.

If you didn’t have the pleasure of completing an MBA during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), here’s a recap… It was common in the deregulated energy market in the US to use “off books” accounting practices. To transfer liability so that it would not appear in a company’s “accounts”.

Although this practice was found to be fraudulent misleading investors, it transferred into the financial sector Bonds Market.  “subprime loans” were born. The bubble burst with the collapse of Lehman Brothers…


The largest bankruptcy in the world’s biggest economy

The title that was previously held by Enron now passed on to Lehman’s. To prevent the whole system from crashing, the US Federal Government had to step in and take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They were “too big to be allowed to fail”, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Is history repeating in the training industry? Well, I hear the term “subprime learning” being used, so the question is was Vocation Ltd Lehmann Bros, and is TAFE SA Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac?

For those in the training industry saying the government regulators should get out of the way and we’ll sort it out ourselves… History shows this situation does NOT end with less Government intervention!

What can you do?

Well, firstly, don’t try to re-invent the wheel, but it is more like you need to decide which vehicle to put the wheels on.

To answer this, you must understand the current situation in the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector starting the following categories of learning, defined from the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTO), 2015:

  • formal learning refers to learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction and is linked to the attainment of an AQF qualification or statement of attainment
  • non-formal learning refers to learning that takes place through a structured program of instruction, but does not lead to the attainment of an “AQF qualification or statement of attainment”
  • informal learning refers to learning that results through the experience of work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities (for example the acquisition of interpersonal skills).

The perceived value of Training


For each of the three types of learning it varies greatly depending on individual needs. This all makes up what is called “tertiary” education.  As in after your leave “school”.  My question is, have people really left school? And, do they think that is where learning stops?

The high value placed on collaborations for business success has increased demand for experienced Mentors networking make business connections through networking events. People with pay a premium to get advice from consultants they know, like, and trust.

High value is placed direct connections in informal and discovery learning opportunities (usually as information and/or networking sessions). Giving one’s time is not considered “free” training in the informal system. It is often repaid referrals and testimonials which generate income.

Mentors focus is product praise. If you want to try to be the best, you can pay the best to learn what the best do in the informal system.

Coaches may not have the experience of mentors. However, they generally have greater instructional design skills to identify the needs of the learner. Coaches tend to duplicate innovation, so tend to focus on non-formal learning opportunities, generally called “workshops”.

Coaches tend to use process praise to get people heading in the right direction, and (intrinsic) reward for effort is of high value to both parties. However, once the original objectives are achieved, it is difficult for coaches to retain clients as learner seek out the more experienced mentors.

Trainers provide awareness and gage understanding of concepts, which are then applied to demonstrate competency. This requires ascending levels of thinking and a high degree of instructional design.

Business trainers are most recognizable as formal training. Trainers do exist and to a lesser extent in non-formal and informal learning. The problem for trainer’s in the formal system is time. The rapid diffusion of innovation and new technology and maintaining industry current practices.

There are dyadic relationships developing between mentors and trainers. Trainers gain the trust of mentors who will then pass on the emerging industry practices trainers need. In exchange for exposure to different thinking and questions from those new to the market to overcome groupthink.

Coaches, placed in the middle, have battles from both sides, just like parents do. If this sounds like you, there is your first clue.



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