Using a Series of Internal Courses in a Classroom Setting to Build Organisational Capability
While learning in the flow of work has been a popular tenet of modern employee training, courses provided in classroom settings are still useful in a capability strategy. Consider them a bespoke supplement to on-the-job training.
Why are internal courses in a classroom setting good for building organisational capability?
The phrase “classroom setting” likely brings up images of rows of learners copying notes from the teacher’s board. In a corporate learning strategy, you can afford to think outside the box to make a program more engaging.
Workshops, simulations and roundtables are all approaches to make a series of internal courses more beneficial through:
- Team building and collaborative learning activities
- Real-world problem solving
- Cross-function collaboration
- The psychological safety of familiar faces in a sandbox environment.
But where they shine in building organisational capability is the ability to create intentional learning practices at specific moments of need and at scale. Say you’ve got an emerging leaders program that applies to roles across functions—say, an associate becoming a manager. The leadership capabilities will be unique to you, which dictates the need for internally created and delivered courses. (Happily, internal training programs allow you to drill down on specific skills and capabilities, too, ensuring you’re articulating capabilities in the context of your organisation.)
You can plan courses to be delivered at the most impactful moment during progression. Consider a course on performance management that is supported by on-the-job training sitting in on performance reviews. Utilising subject matter experts with deep understanding of your business context as facilitators or instructors only aids post-training enablement, too.
What are the challenges courses conducted in a classroom setting when building organisational capability?
Perhaps the biggest hurdle is the time commitment and potential loss of productivity associated with taking employees out of their workflow. Without proper governance, training that is meant to aid the day-to-day can impede capability realisation in the workplace.
But then there are a few process mistakes that can be made.
- Lack of clear alignment between classroom learnings and real-life performance needs, which can render the training redundant and cause engagement to wane.
- Putting those courses together too frequently can also lead to process fatigue, while too far apart may exacerbate a forgetting curve.
- Spoon-feeding or controlling the choice of courses (e.g. making them all mandatory) removes personal accountability and interest in training.
- Lack of benchmarking or quality assurance measures, such as engagement surveys, that enable impact.
All in all, though, unless you have each capability clearly defined, and can show how the internal course will build capability and thus drive business performance, you’re destined to fail from the outset.
What are the impacts of not using internal courses for building organisational capability?
If you’re not developing internal courses for organisational capability, you’re missing out on a creating bespoke training experiences and relying solely on costly third-party content.
That’s not to say third party content or training isn’t useful or even necessary in learning and development. Rather, they can’t be as niche, nuanced or tailored as you need to deliver on your specific capability plans. You also can’t optimise third party content as needed, which means that any issues flagged (low completions, outdated material) remain issues unless you purchase different sets of content.
And that means that resourcing decisions are reactive, rather than proactive, and you can’t be sure that any changes made will have a positive impact. When you design your own courses or programs, particularly those with facilitators and pre-determined outcomes, you have more control of learning data collected, which in turn ensures you’re making more informed L&D, workforce and business decisions.
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