Learning shouldn’t be a chore

Over the weekend, I met up with my friend Barry (not his real name) the baker (not his real profession). He used to tell me about how he’s not getting any new training at work. I asked him how things were with him, and he was quick to jump onto the topic of training.

“Well, we now have a lot of training lined up for us,” he said in a tone that was far from enthusiastic. “Just not the ones that I was expecting,” he added sullenly.

I asked him to elaborate. He told me he was expecting more technical training. Something along the lines of baking design patterns, introduction to other baking frameworks, new technologies, or essentially training that would help them learn to bake better. What they got instead were mostly soft skills training that had nothing to do with baking altogether.

I asked him a few other questions like do they have a say about the classes they’re assigned, do they have a means to feedback on the value they get from the training, how do they gauge whether the training had been worth it, were the topics something you can just as easily find better if not more concise resources on from the net, what do your peers think about the training, etc.

From his responses, I got reminded about Dan Pink’s talk about motivation being best driven by autonomy, mastery and purpose.

  • Autonomy – getting to choose for yourself the classes that you’d take, or having a say on that matter
  • Mastery – getting trained on areas that you want to improve
  • Purpose – getting training that’s relevant to your you, your craft, your role, your career path; getting some alignment on why you’re getting a particular training especially if it’s something you’re not interested in to begin with

While it was a good move to provide more training, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to look into these three things so that attending those classes wouldn’t be such a chore and so that they won’t be as forgettable either (as in the case of Barry’s co-baker who remembers nothing else but having good coffee on training day).

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