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Building Capability

How a One-Time Internal Course Helps Build Organisational Capability

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A one-time classroom-based internal course is a type of instructor-led training that delivers learning material through lectures, discussions and presentations, usually to a group. But just how does that benefit your capability building program?

Why is classroom-based teaching good for building organisational capability? 

Most classroom-based learning involves, well, a class of learners. This can make it easier to train employees on certain processes, procedures, skills, behaviours and systems (i.e. capabilities) that are required knowledge for multiple roles. In many cases, it’s also more cost effective and nets you a faster time to proficiency than individual development plans might.

Consider a one-off new leaders’ course. Not only can you roll that out to multiple successors across your organisation, you aren’t likely to have those employees repeat the same course (if anything, you want their training to evolve as their responsibilities do).

Another advantage is social learning. In group learning, participants can validate new concepts between one another, supporting team building and problem solving between onboarding employees or new leadership teams, as an example. Group learning also offers real-time feedback from instructors. That means course correction in the moment of need, meaning that when new knowledge is applied post-training, it’s more likely to be done without mistake and to standard of competence your organisation sets.

What are the challenges of one-time internal courses when building organisational capability? 

Internally created courses are the best way to ensure true alignment between a capability-led L&D and organisational goals. But one-time courses pose a unique challenge.  

Consider this: You attend a course, you do the assessments, you pass with flying colours, and then you go back and carry on with your work with no change. You don’t review the course, because there are no follow-up resources, and eventually the course content fades into a distant memory. Forgetting what was learned is generally indicative that the course content wasn’t relevant to begin with, or that training design doesn’t consider engagement or the importance of post-training enablement.  

That’s without considering the ratio of instructors to learners; too many learners, and the instructor will probably be unlikely to give everyone meaningful guidance or feedback. Too many cooks in the kitchen may also stop the more introverted learners from participating, resulting in wildly different reactions to and impacts felt by a course. (And remember that negative perceptions will also impact just how much new knowledge is remembered.) 

All that is to say if learning isn’t sticky, then you’re not building organisational capability. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to start thinking long-term when it comes to training.

Whats the impact of not building organisational capability with one-time classroom-based learning? 

Capability building programs will likely require a variety of training methods to reflect the nature of work in your organisation. Internal and one-time classroom-based training is just one of those methods.  

While there’s a certain time and place for this method of training, forgoing it completely means you miss the opportunity to A) strengthen relationships between your learners and B) create more meaningful learning experiences. Particularly when it comes to functional or behavioural capabilities, real-time feedback and context can help lessen the reliance on post-training enablement while increasing time to proficiency.

One-time internal training also provides a chance to learn in a safe environment, not just theorise. On the job training will have real consequences, while a classroom environment offers room for experimentation. If we go back to our new leaders’ example, that could be the difference between a poorly handled confrontation about performance and a thought-out conversation. 

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