Best Practices: T&D Transformation

Learning today is a continuous process, delivered through just-in-time training and other techniques that maximize value.

By Neal Goodman, Ph.D., President, and John Schieman, Vice President, Global Programs and Marketing, Global Dynamics, Inc.

The ubiquity of information networks and mobile computing is transforming the nature and quality of global learning. More than ever, learning is now a continuous process, delivered through just-in-time training and other techniques that maximize value.

Continuous Learning

Today, training is not constrained by time or physical classroom. The advent of Webinars, e-learning, virtual classrooms, and sophisticated software systems has enabled participants to select the topics, timeframes, and duration of learning interventions for their convenience.

The integration of these new capabilities also is transforming classroom learning. Innovative, personalized, network-based, pre-classroom activities better prepare classroom participants and enable classroom trainers to customize each intervention to the specific needs of the participants. Examples of Web-based pre-work include interactive perception exercises, base-lining, and content introduction. These networked capabilities increasingly are being integrated into the classroom, providing enhanced interactivity, personalized training, and experiential learning.

Effective learning strategies also incorporate post-program services, extending training beyond classroom intervention. The network enables classroom participants with the ability to access:

  • E-learning self-study training reinforcement
  • Customized solutions and “best practices” for challenges participants confront subsequent to the training program.

Examples of additional, post-program services include: timely content notification, FAQs, and “Ask the Expert.” Continuous learning strategies additionally enable Kirkpatrick Level 3 behavioral feedback and measurement.

Just-In-Time Training

Effective learning environments require availability of individualized training services at the precise point of need. The ubiquitous information network provides that opportunity.

For example, most point-of-sale and service (POSS) associates rely on a networked appliance—a computer, tablet, smart phone, or customized device—to complete their tasks. Just-in-time learning design enables integration with POSS devices, providing the associate with the knowledge and insight to deliver exemplary service. These services should be intuitive, focused, and provide rapid response to the remote user, thereby enriching the consumer experience.

Consider a hotel front desk registrar possessing immediate access to cultural information regarding the customs and requirements of each international guest in order to tailor the welcome experience.

Consider a U.S.-based corporate executive assigned expanded responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region having mobile access to local communication styles and manager expectations.

Consider the back-office customer service representative presented with a script tailored to individual callers, including prior interactions, and descriptions of applicable, new product/service offerings.

Transformational Training Delivery

Face-to-face classroom training, while effective, requires the availability of local subject matter experts and/or considerable travel time and expense. Traditional classroom delivery also was constrained by the available, local technology.

The integrated, cohesive availability of Webinar, virtual classroom, and Web-based services provides the opportunity to directly link the best experts worldwide with large, geographically disbursed audiences. Additional benefits include:

  • Webinar training enables the utilization of polling and instantaneous response, white boarding, and consensus building, producing an increased sense of participant inclusion.
  • Virtual classrooms offer tools and techniques to engage remote participants. Experience suggests the use of avatars increases the participation of cultural attendees who might remain silent during traditional seminars.
  • Web-based services enable training delivery customization, brand recognition, and measurement feedback loops.

These features should not be considered mutually exclusive of classroom training—quite the opposite. For example, consider a classroom training program in which each participant’s smart phone is linked to a Web app, enabling polling and instant feedback during the intervention.

Neal Goodman, Ph.D.,is president, and John Schieman is vice president, Global Programs and Marketing, of Global Dynamics, Inc., a training and development firm specializing in globalization, cultural intelligence, effective virtual workplaces, and diversity and inclusion. Dr. Goodman can be reached at 305.682.7883and at For more information, visit

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.