Generation 2- Google Docs- LMS
In generation 2, students used the same GeoTol training videos, workbooks, timeframes, and online exercises. However, the training employed a new LMS (learning management system) based on Google Docs as the means to collect responses and manage grades. In addition, the training program added three to four training evaluation questions, based on the Kirkpatrick training evaluation model, after each workshop unit. After completing the workshop exercises, each student received an automated follow up email detailing their results, including how they answered each question, the correct responses, and how they responded to the training evaluation questions.
Here we will look at four more instances, four learning groups from four companies. The results provide insight into the effect of company leadership presence on learning outcomes.
Learning Group #1: This instanceexamines the learning outcomes of 26 students from alarge aerospace company participating in GeoTol Level 1&2 Training from June 2013 through October 2013. The facilitator displayed a heavy presence communicating directly with students, responding to student comments and responses to training evaluation questions.
Learning Group #2 and Learning group #3 In these two instances weexamine the outcomes of 14 students from a medical device maker and the outcomes of seven students from a global technology company, participating in GeoTol Level 1&2. These two groups had similar experiences and outcomes. The facilitator displayed little presence directly with students, however communicated regularly with the sponsoring leaders in their companies providing progress reports.
Learning group #4 This instanceexamines the learning outcomes of 30 students from an aircraft lighting and simulation systems company who participated in GeoTol Level 1&2 Training. Here the facilitator displayed high presence with both the students and manager coordinating the training effort.
The following charts provide visuals, indicating grades and outcomes from the four learning groups. As you review the charts, pink shows an incomplete outcome, blue shows a successfully completed course outcome, yellow indicates “other” such as a manager auditing the class, or a student who could not continue because the left the department or company. After the charts, the research will compare and contrast the outcomes from each instance.
The four instances describing grades and outcomes from the aerospace company, medical device maker, global technology company, and aircraft lighting can be used to illustrate a point, a phenomenon that many face-to-face trainers know from experience. Leadership presence matters, without leadership presence, success of workforce training investments are doubtful.
For instance, in the case of the Aerospace Company, the students exhibited great excitement, the learning group had excellent representation from various departments, initial feedback from training evaluations where not only positive , but also plentiful. As facilitator of the course, I had not seen such a good response rate and quality of responses. I felt this was going to be a huge success. However, at about half way through the training program I saw a marked difference. Students stopped participating. I assumed this was a temporary delay due to work priorities, (perhaps a launch event) and the students would come back. They never did, nor did the company leader who sponsored the training initially. Although the facilitator exhibited the most presence with individuals in the learning group, I had no contact with the company leader. I sensed the leader left the company, the learning group was left without direction, and competing priorities from the students’ immediate supervisors took precedence. In the end, only five of the 26 original students completed the course. These five students were willing to go back, form a small team to lead the training effort through, but company leadership did not support their effort. With the sponsoring leader absent/non responsive the effort failed.
The Medical Device and Global technology company combined for they had similar outcomes with a very high successful completion percentage. This surprised me for as facilitator, I had very little contact with students. I worked with the sponsoring leader each week to provide grade and progress reports. The leaders were fully engaged in inspiring or motivating the learning group members. The result 18 of the 21 original students completed the training successfully. I have no data if these companies saw a return on investment.
The Aircraft Lighting Company was a surprise. The training effort started rough. As facilitator, I was receiving negative feedback. By the third unit, I finally was asking students “if this is such a waste of time why are you doing the training?” The response surprised me. They had to take the training to keep a contract with a valued customer. They said they really did not need this training nor wanted it. They had more important things to do.” One of the team coordinators, a quality manager stopped taking the course. Things looked doubtful. However one of the leaders (high level in the company) insisted that every student had to complete the full course. I am not sure what motivation he used but with his leadership presence, the learning group transformed.
Each week I responded to the students work and their comments. I also copied their manager. At first, I was suspicious – perhaps I was getting coerced positive responses, and I am sure I got a few, however, the responses became more positive, more personal, and showed more critical thinking. Some students responded directly to me and created a more personal connection. I found myself helping students go to higher levels in the learning process. For instance if a student responded “hey Joe loved unit 6 and learned so much”- My response was “great- now let’s go further- your learned something, how did you apply it at work?”. Or “Hey Joe, I applied position on a drawing today.” I pushed further, “hey how did this impact the company- will it eliminate rework or save time? “Keep Going” was a phrase used often. I kept weekly contact with the Quality manager who oversaw progress and kept the grade books up to date. I saw his correspondence also get more personal and engaging.
In the end, the top leader made the difference. Without his presence, the training would have collapse about week 3. It would be interesting to go back now and see what return on investment they made as a result of their training investment.