Beyond The Lecture — Fighting The Learning Wars

sully

If you’re involved in the process of trying to move information from your head into other heads (aka “learning” or “teaching” or “training” or “edumacating”) you probably began with the simplest form –

lecture1972the lecture. Open mouth, spew words, hope recipient can hear and understand and process and retain information. You used this model because for twelve years (or more) that’s the way you were taught in formal education.

And learners like lectures. They’re passive, and don’t require much. It’s easy to zone out, thinking about the weekend and having some fun. There’s little risk of looking stupid, or giving a wrong answer. Somebody else is driving, and you’re just along for the ride. All you have to do is keep your eyes open, avoid drooling, and ask a few easy softball questions at the end.

“So tell me, Professor Canhardly, since you wrote the text we’re using does that mean that you’d heartily endorse all the concepts and theories therein?”

Speaking as a presenter, we like lectures too! You all have to look at us up here in the front of the room, and pretend that what we’re saying is important. We get to decide what’s important, and what’s not. We get to make the lame jokes, and you have to pretend to laugh. And if you ask a difficult question, we get to deflect it or claim that it’s outside the bounds of our subject for today.

So — What’s The Problem?

The problem is (you just KNEW there was going to be a problem here, didn’t you?) that lectures aren’t very effective at long-term transfer of information from one humanoid to another. They’re pretty good if all you want to do is just jam some random facts in a head, take a test, and then forget it forever. Or if you’re just trying to get an evaluation that says “Dr. Neverdidt was really funny and told good stories”.

Here’s a simple example — if you’re headed out to the airport today, would you choose the pilot who’s heard a LECTURE on how to fly, or the pilot who’s actually FLOWN before?

Of course you’d want the guy who’d had some time actually doing the task, in addition to hearing someone talk about it.  And, in a nutshell, that’s why lectures really can’t do much more than give you a really nice overview of a topic.  In the learning world, we’ve got a way to measure what level of actual “doing” you’re going to have after we’ve taught you something — it’s called “Bloom’s Taxonomy“.  (A “taxonomy” is just a fancy word for a classification system — like the Dewey Decimal System at the library or the way butchers grade meat at the grocery store.)

Dr. Bloom ranked the learner’s ability to do something on six levels, and gave them names — and then provided examples and descriptive words to go along with — like so:

Category

Example and Key Words

Knowledge: Recall data or information. Examples: Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. Knows the safety rules.Key Words: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states.
Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words. Examples: Rewrites the principles of test writing. Explain in one’s own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translates an equation into a computer spreadsheet.Key Words: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives Examples, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates.
Application: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place. Examples: Use a manual to calculate an employee’s vacation time. Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test.Key Words: applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.
Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences. Examples: Troubleshoot a piece of equipment by using logical deduction. Recognize logical fallacies in reasoning. Gathers information from a department and selects the required tasks for training.Key Words: analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.
Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure. Examples: Write a company operations or process manual. Design a machine to perform a specific task. Integrates training from several sources to solve a problem. Revises and process to improve the outcome.Key Words: categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes.
Evaluation: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials. Examples: Select the most effective solution. Hire the most qualified candidate. Explain and justify a new budget.Key Words: appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.
Source: http://www.skagitwatershed.org/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

So, any time you want to teach somebody something, you can think about measuring what they can do based on these six levels.  They range from very low “knowledge” to very high “evaluation”.  To make that a little easier to understand, let’s try a couple of examples.

Suppose your job was to teach people to tie their tennis shoes.  Here’s what that might look like in the different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Knowledge: Recall data or information.

Can identify tennis shoes from loafers.

Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words.

Can explain why it’s important to tie shoes correctly (“fall down – go boom!”)

Application: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place.

Can demonstrate how to tie shoes.

Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.

Can compare how to tie tennis shoes and boots with hooks and loops.

Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.

Can devise how long laces must be by counting number of holes, calf size and knotting/lacing model.

Evaluation: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.

Can compare and contrast use of rawhide laces, nylon laces, catgut and cotton to recommend the best choice for each situation.

One more example? How about that jet pilot, learning to deal with losing an engine…

Knowledge: Recall data or information.
Can list the basic steps in engine restart.
Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words.
Can give examples of why an engine may have failed, and probable causes.
Application: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place.
Can demonstrate the “Hot Engine Restart” procedure in the flight simulator.
Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.
Can analyze cockpit instrumentation to determine most likely cause of failure and choose best restart mode.
Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.
Can combine engine-out experiences to generate emergency plan for unforeseen circumstances.
Evaluation: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.
Can land plane in the Hudson River and have every single person walk away alive.

sully

So, this is why it’s sometimes important to think a little bit further than just lecturing to people about what it is that you want them to know. And that means things like getting their little fingers dirty, testing out concepts, discussing and experimenting, role-playing, tearing it apart, putting it back together, breaking it, fixing it, building a completly new model — all the stuff that takes more time and costs more money.

And aren’t you glad that US-Air did that stuff?
(Updated 5/17/2010 to reflect, as mentioned by a commenter, that Captain Sullenberger actually flew for US-Air.)

We Don’t Need Better Teachers

outhouse

I’ve been listening to lots of talk lately about how to “fix” education. Mostly, from people not currently involved in the design or delivery of education.  And there are lots and lots of theories.

(I’d imagine that when plumbers get together for a beer, they laugh about how architects think they know how to “fix” plumbing.  It’s always fun to listen to people who have used a complex system pontificate about how to redesign it.)

And like the plumbers, it looks pretty simple to me.  The problem is that the people sitting on top of the system don’t really want to think about all the crap that flows through the system.  And eventually the sheer amount of crap in the system plugs it up, and the system stops working.

Roto-Rooting K-12 Education

outhouseMany years ago, we all headed outdoors to do our business.  There was a little house with a half-moon on the door and a Sears catalog.  That worked just fine, until the whole idea of indoor plumbing came along and pretty soon there wasn’t much of a market for outhouse manufacturers.  It didn’t mean that they weren’t high-quality outhouses, or that the people who built them didn’t care a lot about their product.

But things had changed.  Technology had come along that was more efficient and better served the needs of the user.

So even if we’d paid more for the outhouses, or given them incentive bonuses for taking higher levels of crap than the average — it wouldn’t have fixed the basic problem.

A Better Way To Do It

The type of learning that we’re trying to support in K-12 is, in large measure, not very difficult to provide.  Much of it is rote memorization, matching patterns, and understanding simple relationships.  The content (reading, writing and ‘rithmetic) hasn’t changed markedly since I was a tiny tot.

What has changed is the availability of technology to deliver this learning.  Beginning with Sesame Street and the Muppets, we saw that the use of well-designed video really worked for learning.  Then video games showed us that higher level learning could also be very effective.  Now e-learning provides more than half of the training that happens in the corporate arena.

But our school districts keep telling us that we need more money to find and hire highly skilled teachers for the classrooms, and pay them incentives if they succeed at teaching Johnny to read.

(In the corporate world, we call this “Instructor Led Training” or “ILT” — and there’s less and less of it every year.  It’s very expensive, often gives inconsistent results and isn’t very flexible for individual learners.)

But – But – But

No, I’m not saying we don’t need to have children spend time learning social skills.  Or understanding how to work with others, be part of a team, support diversity, appreciate fine art or hug trees.  Those are things that technology-driven learning doesn’t always do well — yet.  A human instructor is great for that kind of content.

But right now, 50% of the kids in my state don’t graduate from high school.  The lion’s share of graduates don’t read at grade level.  Making change is a challenge. Basic economics is a mystery. These are skills that could be taught easily (for most students) with technology, leaving our teachers lots of time for the outliers and special situations.

But the people sitting on top of the system just keep downloading more crap.

Learning To Use That New Hammer

hammer

I’m facilitating a workshop this week for a bunch of Learning 2.0 folks in Las Vegas. (No, I have no plans to be “teaching” or “training” — thanks for asking.)  The title I came up with is “Relax!  Everything You Know About Content Is Wrong…”

hammerYeah, part of getting sessions accepted is a catchy title — but I really believe that most everything we’ve taught our students about content in their formal educational history is wrong.  How we design it, how we deploy it, how they interact with it and how we judge if they’ve taken it in successfully.

So I spend a great deal of time nowadays talking to fellow learning designers about that, in the guise of showing them “new media tools” like Twitter and Facebook and NING and Wicker and Spooty and Fitzzle…  (Points will be given for those of you who realize which of those are made up gibberish.)

In reality, these things are just tools.  What we’re really doing is responding to the fact that there are better ways of dealing with today’s learners and their needs, and the existence of some of these new technologies is giving us a long overdue kick in the Kirkpatrick to encourage some change.

Here’s my list of what “old” content looks like:

  • I’m up HERE, you learners are out THERE
  • I know the answers.  You’re supposed to take them in from me.
  • My answers are the right ones.  Yours are not.
  • My content (the text book) is correct.  Your experience or theories are not valid.
  • We measure success on how well you can parrot back to me what I said.
  • Old, gray heads make the best choices about what to learn, when, and how.
  • You start here.  Then you do this, then this, then that.  Then you stop.
  • If I want your input, I’ll ask for it.  And then evaluate it.
  • You in the back — quit whispering. You’ll disturb others.
  • Here’s a list of work to do outside of class. I chose it.
  • These are the accepted resources and authorities. I chose them.
  • At the end, we’ll grade on a curve.  There will be winners and losers.
  • If you’re louder, you get noticed.  If you’re quiet, you don’t.
  • If you agree with my theories, you’ll get praised.  If you don’t, you won’t.
  • You should highlight the stuff that I say is important — it will be on the test.
  • Name in the upper left-hand corner.  Points given for neatness.

So — what did your classroom look like when you were in school?  My workshop at TechKnowledge 2010 (TK10) in Las Vegas this week will break every single one of these rules, I hope.

It should be total chaos.

Yada, Yada Yada. Blah, Blah, Blah. Get To The Point!

smc_columbia1

It has come to my attention that some of you didn’t get the memo.  You’re apparently unaware that we’re living in a world of 15-second TV commercials, 140-character tweets, and three-minute “long-form” videos on YouTube.

Nobody gives a rat’s ass about your context, your setup, your overview, your background, your rationale, your reasoning, your formative thinking, or the deductive path that you followed.  Except maybe your mom.  (And she’s lying, you know.)

You need to get to the point, right now.

If it’s a presentation, make it clear and easy to understand.  Here’s one of the opening slides I used last week to explain the talk I was giving:

smc_columbia1

No animations, no bullets, no fancy fonts and it stayed on the screen for about 60 seconds.  But it clearly outlined what folks would be hearing from me, and I referred back to it at least a dozen times in the next 45 minutes.

And while this is great advice for a presentation, it’s also pretty wonderful for blogging, picture captions, white papers and email.  Tell me early on what the reason is for the experience, and let me decide if I want to know more about the other stuff.

(Now as an experienced education professional, with a degree and all, that’s not the way I’d always prefer to work.  If I’ve got you locked in a room with me for an hour, I may spend some time setting up what we’re doing, giving you the “big picture”, or somehow providing context.  But if we’re working online, I’ve got to accept that your forefinger is itching to click that mouse button and move on to something involving either cute kittens or hamsters.)

As a test, hand your copy to a friend and give them two minutes.  Then take it away and ask them to tell you the one big thing that came out.  If it’s not the main point of what you’re doing, draw a big red X through what you’ve done, and start over.

No, I’m Not A “Coach” — And You Shouldn’t Be, Either

Don't Be A Coach!

I’ve been following the discussion on my friend Havi’s blog about her aversion to being called a “coach” with great interest — because that’s one self-applied job description that still makes my skin crawl.  (Much like “Social Media Guru”, “Animal Psychic” and “Colonic Therapist”.)  Since I’ve spent most of my adult life in what’s called the Learning and Development pond, I get the wonderful opportunity to interact with people who have decided that they are coaches way more than I would like.

(To make things interesting, they keep changing the name of their discipline.  Recent ones have included “Human Potential” and “Human Capital” — bleech!)

Overall, the idea is that these folks have the power to remove your roadblocks and maximize your potential, while they actualize your internalized developmental possibilities which baseline the best practice modalities integral to moving to the next level as you break through your self-imposed limits.

Uh huh.

Now don’t get me wrong.  There is certainly a need to assist people as they struggle to improve on many fronts.  And there are lots of skilled folks in the world (like @Havi) who I would recommend you send big sacks of money to.

But “Coach” is such an imperfect metaphor.  Most sports metaphors suck, but this particular one sucks 1000%.  It comes to play, it shows up, it really comes down to any given day.

You see, in today’s athletics, “coaching” has become pretty much a lowly-paid guy who gives advice to highly-paid superstars.  Who then pretty much ignore that advice, and go ahead and do whatever they want.  Mostly to raise their personal stats, which increases their income and cements lucrative endorsement deals.

And in the corporate arena, where I work, “coaching” pretty much has become a lowly-paid manager trying to get lowly-paid employees to do the work of several people (who were laid off) for a company that really doesn’t care about them and sees them as interchangeable parts.

Yogi Berra was a Coach.  And he said that “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

haviselma1008_whiteSo how about if you consider becoming a “Habits Educator” like Havi, or a Performance Facilitator, or a Supporter Of Those Who Wish To Be Amazing.

Just don’t coach.

The Only Ones With A Problem With Our Interface Are The Users

users

In a perfect world, we’d all create software and websites and knowledgebases and blogs and videos and e-learning and such that would be posted and then never be opened up to the most evil and destructive beings on the planet.

Users.

usersOur work would shine brightly, with buttons and links perfectly aligned, un-clicked and never seen, so that we’d never have to hear those annoying whining noises.  “I can’t make it do this” and “It won’t do that” and “It doesn’t have any of those” keep echoing in our heads at night, as we try to sleep.  Don’t they know that we’ve created perfection?

Users!

You can’t live with ‘em.  And you can’t kill ‘em, chop ‘em up, wrap ‘em in paper, and UPS ‘em to random people from your phone directory.  (At least according to last week’s version of “CSI: New York” you can’t.)

So what’s a poor coder to do?

You might think about doing a little usability testing.  It’s not really that hard, and if you integrate it from the beginning of your project it can really improve the final product.  The problem is that you (and your little Red Bull drinking buddies) really aren’t the target users.  You know too much about whatever it is that your software does.  So you’ll need to buy a couple of pizzas for a user group, show them some mock-ups, and then SHUT THE HELL UP as they try to complete some simple activities.

Video tape the action, and then bring it back to deconstruct.  Work a little further, and repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.

Don’t know how to do a simple UI review?  Point your mousie over to http://www.useit.com and listen to Jakob Nielsen, the God of web design.  Do what he says.

Or hire an expert.  There are lots of good people available to hold your hand and make sure what you’re developing actually works for the poor fools who give you money.

Then you can buy more Red Bull, games, and a membership on Match.com.  Maybe even move out of Mom’s basement.

Why “Best Practices” Will Blow Up In Your Face

xjsv12

If I hear one more highly-paid consultant talking about “best practices” I may just have to drop kick them through the uprights on the practice field.  The whole idea is such a crock that I’m amazed anyone takes it seriously.

Here’s a 30-second video of the “Best Practice To Light Your Charcoal Grill Quickly”.  Take a look.

Will you be using this technique soon?  I won’t — unless I want to lose my deck, my wife, and melt my Weber Kettle down into slag.

The point (he has a point?) is that the concept of “Best Practice” assumes that we all share the same conditions, the same metrics for success, and the same risk/reward structure.  The guy in the video was only interested in how quickly he could get that charcoal going — so, for him, it truly was the “Best Practice”.

In my field, learning, I see the same thing happen.  Someone comes out with a list of “Best Practices In e-Learning” with no context.  They suggest that you offer multiple methods for learners to take in the information.  They suggest that you include rich animations, videos, talking parrots and streaming video.  They suggest that you comply with SCORM, NORM, and NNPT. Not to mention offering versions for the deaf, the visually impaired, and those who are allergic to keyboard dust mites.

Uh huh.  My development budget is $250 this quarter.  Not gonna happen.

The whole concept of a “best” anything is a crock, anyway.  What’s the “best” car?  Well, I’m partial to the Jaguar XJS V-12, but it’s hard to haul plywood home in it from Home Depot.

xjsv12

So why do people keep publishing this dreck?  Because we want to THINK we can come up with some kind of one-size-fits all listing of answers that won’t require you to actually know anything about the discipline involved to be an expert.  Sure would be nice:

Jet Pilot
“Best Practice if engines go out, hit big red “fix it” button on control panel.”

Neurosurgeon
“Best Practice if patient acts nutters, stick long steel rod up nose and stir around.”

Hockey Player
“Best Practice to score goals, hit puck thingy into net thingy.”

The harsh truth is that there ARE no real “Best Practices”.  Unless you come up with an exhaustive list of conditions and specifications — developed by an expert who understands both the situation and the discipline — and even then, all you’re getting is an educated guess.

Fire your consultants.  Hire someone who’s actually done it, multiple times, successfully.

Are You “Testing” The Temperature In Your House?

hot-sun-thermometer

People on Twitter often notice that I’ve got some creds in the “eddication” area, and ask me questions about how to fix the schools down here in South Carolina. We’re currently about 56th out of the 50 states in terms of quality of education, so there’s a lot of talk going on. And they’re usually looking for some kind of quick-fix — bigger budgets, smaller class sizes, charter schools, magic beans — rather than any kind of basic systemic change.

The one thing most everyone down here can agree on is that “testing” is unfair.  Students here fail miserably at the No Child Left Behind testing, and the program is reviled.  So one of the ways I try to talk with people about education is to ask them about their HVAC system.

“Do you have air conditioning and heating in your house?  Good!  Now, does your thermostat wait until the end of the day to measure whether it’s too hot or cold, and then decide which one to turn on?  It doesn’t, does it?  It’s constantly assessing the temperature all the time, based on the limits that you set. And as soon as the temperature gets outside those limits, something happens…”

hot-sun-thermometerThat’s how learning happens in the best systems.  We create “goals” (temperature limits) and constantly keep making “assessments” (measurements) of how we’re doing in reaching those goals.  So there’s no real surprise at 10PM each night — we know already whether it’s been hot or cold, and we’ve taken action to change what we’re doing based on that.

A Charter School is probably going to be more successful than our traditional public schools for just that reason.  They begin with a clear set of goals — or educational objectives — and will be scrutinized closely by folks who’d like to see them succeed.  And, more importantly, by folks who’d like to see them fail.  So they’ll be doing lots of assessment along the way, rather than waiting for that “test” at the end of the year.

I suspect that you’ll see many of them succeed for just that reason.

Help! I Have To Make A Speech!

speaker

A couple of mornings ago I found myself sitting near the front of a very large room, packed in shoulder-to-shoulder with several hundred other folks.  We all wanted to learn the secrets speakerof success that were stored away in the carefully moussed head of an amazingly handsome and talented young man who knew way more than we did.  I had looked forward to the opportunity to improve my skills, to understand how he had succeeded when so many others had failed, and to leave that morning with lots of ideas on how to make things happen.

One hour later, I walked out half asleep, desperate for coffee and fresh air. One day later, I’m not sure that I could have told you one single main point of his presentation.  What happened?

He made a speech, and those don’t work anymore.  It was very nicely done — the PowerPoint slides were attractive, the images appropriate, and he had his subject down cold.  But within a few minutes, my attention began to wander.  I checked my email, started dissecting his presentation design, looked around at the other attendees, looked at my watch — there just wasn’t enough there to hold my attention.

We live in a world where we expect to be engaged – commenting, writing, replying, sharing — and the one-to-many model of a lecture is no longer effective for educating a group about your topic.

So what do you do, if you’d actually like to make your ideas stick after the applause ends and the projector cools off?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Check For Understanding Ask members of the audience to give examples of situations where your idea could be used or implemented — this requires us to pay attention, and lets you know if we got the point
  • Get Our Input Have “blank” PowerPoint slides where we call out ideas to put on the list, and you add them.  The five most important things about…  The worst ways to do…
  • Talk To Us First Before your lecture, talk to the audience — then during your talk, use that information.  “John over there — in his hospital, he has this problem.  Tell us about it…”
  • Tell Us Stories Storytelling is the most effective way of communicating — that’s why there are drawings in caves.  Don’t just say what to do — give us the context.
  • Do The Q & A First, Not Last Before you start talking, ask us what we want to hear — and list our questions on a flip chart.  Keep referencing back to that during your talk — you’ll be a hero, and you can tailor what you say to just what we need.
  • Sum It Up For Us Have a summation or “take-aways” slide ready — and use it.  Leave it up there at the end when you’re done.
  • Don’t Complain No matter how much time you get, even if it’s half what you were promised, don’t complain.  Make it work.  Have a plan for 75%, 50%, 25% of what you were promised and be ready to do it.

And my personal favorite “must do”?  Give us a link! Provide us a simple link to get more information on your web or blog that contains links to everything you mention in your lecture.  Don’t make us work for it.  This also lets us share out your wisdom with all our little friends.

If you accomplish just part of this you’re well on the road to being an amazing speaker.

Saving Money On Training

axe

As someone who’s been involved in the training world for longer than I like to admit, one of the questions that seems to come up in conversation lately is how to save money on axetraining. In most tough economic times, the training department is usually one of the first to feel the knife — there’s an assumption that people can just learn on the job, or that they really don’t need to travel to those expensive seminars.

I’ll hold off on the theoretical discussion of whether or not this is a good idea (hint: NOT!) for right now, and just give you some suggestions on how you can stretch your training dollar a bit further.


Cancel Any Training Not Tied To A Meaningful Assessment
While this is good advice at any time, it’s especially important now. If the class, workshop, seminar or speech doesn’t have a solid assessment component — don’t spend your money on it. (And if you don’t know what “solid assessment component” means, and can’t recite Kirkpatrick’s Levels by heart, stop right now and hire someone who can.)

Cancel Any Training With The Words “Overview”, “Introduction” or “Update” In The Title
Difficult times require that you focus on adding skills and improving performance — and learning that is generalized or unfocused should be the first to go.  (Yes, I’m a big fan of context — I’m an Instructional Designer, after all!) But you can’t sell context to your customers.

Cancel Any Training That Has Not Been Updated In The Last Two Years
If you’re going to cut, take a good hard look at the stuff that is old and stale.  If nobody in your org has been willing to pay to have a course spruced up in two years, that’s a pretty good signal that it isn’t really valued much.  Or, that you have achieved perfection and it shouldn’t be touched.  Pick one.

Cancel Any Training That Has More Than 20 PowerPoint Slides Per Hour Of Learning
That’s not training.  That’s a speech.

Cancel Any Training By An Instructor Who Doesn’t Get Stellar Reviews
You are doing performance reviews of your instructors/facilitators, right?  And it’s not just smile sheets?  Well if they’re not walking on water, it either means they’re not great trainers or it’s not great material — and in either case, it gets the boot.

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That should be a pretty good start — in most of the organizations I’ve worked with, I just cut your training budget between 50 and 70%.  You can mail me the check.