5 Biggest Training Mistakes of 2016 and How to Fix Them

Kat Bourgeois
Posted: December 28, 2016

Following the latest trends in learning has always been important to those who want to keep their learners engaged. It seems, however, that staying “on trend” has become even more critical as technology has become part of every aspect of our lives. Being trendy is a good thing. But some of us, in our eagerness to “embrace the new,” have gotten a little off-track or unfocused, or maybe we just plain got a few things wrong.

No problem. The best training has always been the kind that was designed to flex as needed.

The end of the year is an appropriate time to look back over your 2016 training offerings to see how well you fared. Here are a few things you may want to consider.

Did you make any of these training mistakes in 2016? Click through to read which errors you might have made in learning and design and what you can do to find training solutions in 2017.

Did you remember to “chunk”?


You jumped into the mobile learning channel, but somehow it just didn’t translate as you imagined. It seemed like a lot of words for a little screen.


Mobile learning is best consumed in small chunks. Take that great content and see if you can rework it into bite-sized learning.

Did you track your progress?


You’re not exactly sure how you did because you didn’t track participant feedback or business results.


Devise a way for managers to report back on post-training on-the-floor participant progress, conduct pulse checks, analyze the training-related questions on the employee survey, track usage of learning-related sites, and poll business executive sponsors. In other words, build a robust 360-degree feedback loop that will guide your every move forward. Have the answers to “What’s working and how do you know?” at the ready all through the year.

While we are on the subject of tracking…as hard as we try, and as clever as we can be, it’s very difficult to show how our efforts impact “the bottom line.” But, with a little input from the business, you can set up some key indicators to track. Aim high. It makes your job a lot more exciting!

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Did you build in “stickiness”?


You built an effective training opportunity that was well received, but it’s six months later now and the initial impact seems to have waned.


Excellent training deserves excellent follow-up processes. Select from the many ways to remind, recall, and reinforce learning to ensure your participants continue to shine.

Did you pilot test your training ventures?


You skipped the pilot or gave the feedback you received short shrift so you could move ahead quickly. Or your feedback process was half-hearted. After all, who wants to make a bunch of changes at the last minute?


This is definitely a “back to basics” thing. Yes, “time to market” is a critical measure of success, but getting it right always trumps getting it there quickly. It’s scary to expose your new training event to critical feedback when you’ve worked so hard to make it perfect, but in order to produce truly great training, you must incorporate feedback and perspectives. You want to provide powerful and impactful training, not just good training!

Did you “keep it real”?


Whether you are caught up in the new ways to train 100 or 1,000 people at once, you can easily lose sight of critical goals. Can the participant return to her desk and do her job better than she did it before?


You don’t have to have a state-of-the-art training environment to create “real-world” training. Side-by-side training, shadowing, mentoring, and peer sharing are no less critical just because we have bright, shiny, new technology. (Well, maybe not you and me, but I hear some people do have bright, shiny, new technology.)

Hey, it’s a new year and there’s a lot of learning to be had. I hope you had some real wins this year and a bundle of plans to do even better in the next!

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