The old saying goes, “There’s no free lunch”. I think it’s true. Almost no one is altruistic enough to offer something free with no strings attached. My friend pays for lunch this time but next time I pay.
Training is no different. Today during (unconstitutional?) “stay-at-home” orders and government lockdowns, a lot of businesses have begun offering free training. Some courses even come with certificates. You have to ask yourself what do they expect in return and what is the quality of free training?
A quality training experience involves three things from the user’s viewpoint:
- accurate information,
- appropriate new skills, and
- long-term viability.
Let’s look at each of these to compare free training with a credentialed facilitation.
Anyone can put together a YouTube video and type up a reference list. However, a credential facilitator has demonstrated years of experience practicing in the field and in delivering proven outcomes to other clients. Experienced facilitators are not only subject matter experts but also are skilled in the education process as well.
Appropriate New Skills
Occasionally, we take refresher training to remind ourselves of basic skills or competencies. Sometimes we take training on subjects we already know well because of government or trade association rules and regulations requiring demonstration of knowledge for renewal of a license or certificate.
On the other hand, a lot of people today are presenting information they read in a book or in a magazine article as “new”. Unless you have never before been hungry, are you really learning anything knew by watching a YouTube video on how to make a sandwich?
Valuable training and facilitation might cost more than watching a free YouTube video, but you will validate learning new skills as an outcome. You should expect to do something you could not do before. You should expect to trial and practice the new skill in the training course and get feedback from the instructor.
A few years ago, I built Adirondack chairs for our patio. I did not know how to use the router to smooth the edges of the wood. So, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos. But I did not learn how to use the router from the video – that only provided a view of how an expert used a router. (See a related blog post, Innovation Leaders are NOT Teachers.)
I have never used the router again. This was not a skill that gave me long-term viability in my profession or my hobbies. With shutdowns on lockdowns, people are producing crazy things and calling it “training”. A lot of this free information is definitely short-term in nature, like how to exercise at home without weights. To succeed as an innovation leader, you need long-term skills that benefit you today, tomorrow, and in five years.
Real facilitation will give you skills that help you build your career (or hobby) for the long haul. A credentialed trainer will support you in implementing skills even after the training session has concluded. S/he will survey you and your manager to ensure you have been executing process steps accurately and that the organization has benefited from the training. No YouTube video will ever ask you how you are doing three months later!
Why Not Free Training?
You get what you pay for. Free training is generic and basic. Customized facilitation from a long serving member of industry targets your needs to help you speed development. They will work with you before, during, and after the training event to ensure your team gets accurate information, appropriate new skills, and long-term viability. Expert facilitators maintain credentials with respected trade associations like the Project Management Institute (PMI®), the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), and the American Society of Engineering Management (ASEM).
Do you want to learn more about training for innovation or for leading cross-functional teams? Please email me at info (at) Simple-PDH.com for more information on building innovation leaders.
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I am inspired by writing, teaching, and coaching. I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. It brings me joy to help you build innovation leaders. Teresa Jurgens-Kowal is an experienced innovation professional with a passion for lifelong learning with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Computer and Information Decision Making. My credentials include PE (State of Louisiana), NPDP, PMP®, and CPEM, and I am a DiSC® certified facilitator. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or area code 281 + phone 787-3979 for more information on coaching for entrepreneurs and innovators.