Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Training Qualifications....worthwhile....?

For the past couple of years I have been designing and delivering training programmes without any formal training qualifications (apart from NLP Practitioner). I seem to have been doing OK - maybe I was lucky. Feedback has been positive and we even measured good ROI.

However when I read this article from Training Zone I got a bit concerned. I just didn't realise what a plethora of training related qualifications there are out there. Here are some of them:
  • CIPD Certificate in Training Practice
  • ITOL Certificate, Advanced Certificate & Diploma in Training & Occupational Learning
  • Doctorates in Education & Training
  • Masters Degree in Learning, Education and Training
  • Certificate in Post Compulsory Education & Training
.....and so the list goes on.

Most of my learning has definitely come 'on the job' and it has been more about understanding the business and then delivering development activity that supports it.

I would be interested to know your views on this but I suspect the answer is a mixture of some academia layered with 'hands on' practice - I guess that's a blended approach with lots action learning thrown in to the pot!


john castledine said...

Interesting post !

I'd also add into the mix the various accreditations that trainers can acquire from commercial organisations - eg MBTI, Situational Leadership etc.

Do qualifications matter ? - I'd suggest that it depends a lot on the level of practical experience a trainer is able to acquire without going down this route - ie how do you get your first role(s).

In large organisations, it is often possible to bridge from business line roles into HR/L&D through internal support & mentoring. In other situations formal training may be necessary to secure that first role.

Tom Haskins said...

Chris: The explosion of training credentials fits into several patterns I'm seeing:

1. A bounty of legislation got passed several decades ago to protect employees rights. This turned into a boat load of litigation against employers where HR was called upon to defend the employer and prevent future litigation. That spawned lots of certifying and testing Human Resource staff to calm the anxieties of executives. Credentials for trainers and instructional designers are part of that tidal wave of legal maneuvering.
2. When organizations are in industries with significant economies of scale, size is the prize. They get as big as possible and very procedural to provide consistent products and services. They leave nothing to chance and everything to the control of policies, reporting procedures and verification of compliance. They have little use for open ended processes like action learning. Credentials are endemic in those policy-driven situations.
3. Enterprises in stable industries/markets know what they are doing already. They can define jobs and put qualified people in them. They are looking for human resources, not resourceful humans. Start-ups and enterprises in turbulent industries/markets are figuring things out as they go. They need resourceful humans who can solve problems and figure out how to get results. They look for cred in how they talk, respond and relate, not some credentials on paper.
4. Big employers are usually mismanaged and rife with office politics. They cannot benefit from referral recruiting because no one would ask their friends to come work with them in hell. Smaller employers hire lots of friends and colleagues of employees. Their reputations proceed them with relying on credentials. They are known for what differences they make and how they handle situations. They are trusted sooner, relied on for more and given added responsibilities well ahead of the "stranger danger" hires in big organizations.

I hope this gives you some added perspective on how you might be valued, trusted and relied upon with certificates on file.

Chris Morgan said...

Thanks both John and Tom for your thoughtful comments.

From my own experience I know that I have been lucky enough to have L&D professionals around me to learn from. They introduced me to some key techniques around course design and also how to effectively measure success in a learning context.

Interestingly also I am about to start a role with a new organisation, still focusing on learning and development. At no time did they question the fact that I have no formal learning related qualifications. They were more interested in what I could do (and had done) rather than what I had been taught. As always with learning it is about putting it into practice that matters the most.