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TH2 Technologies is a leading IT service provider based in Orange County. Between them, our team has decades of experience in IT, working both in internal IT departments and as outside contractors. That speaks to the depth of our experience in the field … but it has also given us the opportunity to see first-hand just about every IT training mistake under the sun! Here are the three top training mistakes we’ve seen in our time, and how you can avoid them.

  1. Not all online training is created equal. Many organizations point employees to online, self-directed training on IT and other professional development topics – online courses have the advantage of being inexpensive (in some cases free) and easily scalable. The problem with much self-directed online training is that it can lack the impetus to continue or complete, especially if the employee doesn’t consider it crucial to their day-to-day role; according to one study by edX, fewer than 6 percent of people enrolled in one of Harvard or MIT’s massive open online courses actually gained a certificate. Employers and managers promoting this type of training to employees can help by offering motivation for completing the training, whether it be by implementing employee recognition software into the course to give extra credit to the employees undergoing the training or finding other motivations, for example in the form of incentives or rewards. Choosing a more structured online training program can also enhance completion rates; Seth Godin’s four-week altMBA, for example, claims a 96 percent completion rate.
  2. When it comes to IT training, sometimes books aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Books can be a great learning tool … but they’re not right for all topics, or for all people. We’ve seen organization and IT service provider alike provide books on IT and tech subjects in lieu of proper training, and it almost never works. Books are a passive medium, and lack the benefits of both practical demonstration and hands-on learning. While books can be helpful for soft skills and more general professional development – for example communication, negotiation or management skills – avoid them for all but the most basic IT-related training.
  3. The trainee must always understand why the training is important. All too often we’ve seen IT training delivered by either an in-house training team or an external IT services company and, no matter how well the training itself is prepared and delivered, the trainee seems unsure or even confused about exactly why they are there. While to an extent this can be built into the training session itself – for example, with a preamble of why the training matters – it’s even more incumbent upon the organization and direct line managers to ensure that training delegates know before entering the session what they are going to be taught and why it is relevant either to their current role or to their future development.

We could list dozens more mistakes we’ve seen in the delivery of IT training, but the three examples we’ve given here are quite fundamental in ensuring training delivery is effective. If you are an organization or IT service provider that delivers IT training in the workplace, what will you do differently next time to ensure your training is more effective?