Malaysiakini Letter

Are training courses effective?

CY Ming  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Duration of training courses can range from a day to over a year. They are not effective if organisers, trainers or participants have a poor understanding of what constitutes training.

However, when it comes to sport, everyone seems to know why proper training and rigorous practice are required.

Many briefing sessions are dubbed as training, with speakers presenting large amount of information, which the audience may not fully understand or could not remember to apply.

Briefings are suitable for industry seminars, where participants are only interested in knowing what is useful for them.

On the other hand, training is an organised process for trainees to acquire the right attitude, skills and knowledge needed to perform a task or job to the required standard.

As such, trainees must demonstrate proficiencies before being awarded a certificate for their competencies, and not just for attendance.

Everyone needs training in order to perform at a higher level or keep abreast with latest developments, but those who need training the most are the ones least interested.

Sadly, training and learning culture is grossly lacking in our Malaysian society. Graduates may have obtained a diploma or degree, but few learned enough to perform well at work.

Many parents invested huge sums of money for their children’s education but most graduates would not spend their own money to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge needed to secure better jobs.

It is also difficult to train Gen Y (born 1995 or earlier) and Gen Z (born 1996 or later), and would be a double whammy training them for a career in the travel industry, as most have a poor grasp of English, the universal tourism language.

They may be social media-savvy, exposed to English online and consume tonnes of information daily. But all these are superficial knowledge,as they cannot describe the contents clearly in their own words.

Trainers could easily be led to believe they have understood what was explained to them, but when tested, they will repeat the same mistakes. Their brains are hard-wired for consumption, not for thinking.

As such, it would be an exercise in futility to brief them for longer than an hour at a stretch, as they are unable to concentrate, with many keep checking their handphones for their windows to the world.

Bite-size pieces

To ensure that learning takes place, training should be broken up into bite-size pieces, with no more than five minutes of briefing followed by five minutes for them to write down what they have understood.

Their written answers could then be discussed with the entire class for group learning, to be confirmed if correct, corrected if wrong and explained if clarification needed.

A concrete step-by-step approach is necessary for all apprentices to reach a specific level of competency.

It is totally different from academic programmes where undergraduates are fed or search for ready answers, with many completing their assignments through cut-and-paste.

If information is knowledge, then all those who are capable of accessing medical information online speedily can act as doctors.

Many students and trainees do not bother to go through the learning process, thinking that the knowledge could easily be obtained by clicking a few buttons, without realising that common information have little value, like the air we breathe.

It is no surprise that many graduates could not define tourism in a meaningful manner, although they may have spent a few years studying it.

Instead of asking apprentices to find ready answers, it would be more beneficial to get them involved in working on a project, such as preparing an itinerary for an imaginary tourist.

With much guidance, a group of apprentices managed to prepare a lengthy and detailed tour programme but when asked, none could describe what an itinerary is.

Some of the apprentices have a diploma or degree in tourism, but without English proficiency and communication skills, it was difficult for them to think and express well.

For training to be effective, the course contents, trainers and trainees must be in sync.

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