Would You Take Training From This Man?
While drafting a thank you letter this evening to the man who may have saved my life or the lives of my neighbors I happened upon his online resume.
“Bottom-line driven manager supported by progressively responsible experience across 40+ years in the aviation industry. Possess in-depth understanding of aviation operations acquired through real-world flight experience, professional training and leadership roles with one of world’s leading airlines. “
“Driving force behind development of airline’s first CRM course and presenting course to hundreds of USAirways pilots. Significantly reduced number of operational incidents and realized reduction in number of altitude deviations. Course focuses on multi-disciplinary approach involving leadership, communication, decision-making and error management – airline went from 5 major accidents to zero. “
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are far removed from any English speaking news media source you have already read of how Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, III and his co-pilot miraculously landed their plane on the Hudson River last week, saving the lives of everyone on board. Since I live in the direct flight pattern of New Jersey’s Teterboro airport, which might on someone else’s watch have been a possible landing or crash scenario for the engineless plane, Captain Sullenberger’s expert decisions and performance had a very personal positive impact on my own well-being.
So you can imagine that I read his resume on his Safety Reliability Website with much interest and what struck me was the fact that not only was he very experienced, very professional, very certified, but he was also very instrumental in training others.
What Does All of This Have to do With SAP training and the Certification Debate?
As many of you have been following, there is a very lively conversation over on a post by Dennis Howlett, called: “Should you be certified?“. Some of the most articulate folks in our community are engaging in this conversation so I highly recommend if you haven’t already done so, to read all the comments. One comment in particular triggered a number of synaptic connections for me about how to maximize knowledge transfer and enhance performance. James Governor wrote:
“I am thinking of SAP knowledge as a kind of apprenticeship scheme”.
He was referring of course to the ability of SAP mentors to “tutor” or train others.
This reminded me of something I learned while providing training content to thousands of ABAP developers while I worked for SAP education. The best students were usually the ones who could turn around and teach their peers or were tasked with creating internal training and successfully delivered it to others.
Which reminded me of something else not yet discussed fully in the comments to Dennis’ blog (or at least not during my final reading this evening). How do we set about measuring the success of the training?
For although the blog comments in Dennis’ provocative blog contain a number of great suggestions for what makes for meaningful certification and folks like Darren Hague and Martin English write extensively about this and speak as do others about assessment and accreditation and testing, the question still remains: How is training evaluated?
So How IS Training Evaluated?
According to Donald Kirkpatrik, considered the father of the learning and training evaluation theory , there is a model of evaluation. On the Businessballs.com website there is also a downloadable excel sheet which could be used as a useful training evaluation template. (as an aside, I spoke with Kirkpatrick, during his workshop at the annual American Society for Training & Development conference a few years ago and heard him describe his model directly)
To summarize Kirkpatrick and quote the website, evaluation is the sum of 4 (some say 5) parts:
- Reaction – what the student thought and felt about the training
- Learning – the resulting increase in knowledge or capability
- Behaviour – the extent of behaviour and capability improvement and implementation/application
- Result – the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance
In later amendments Kirkpatrick spoke of a 5th level which includes ROI, but some maintain that this level is inherent in the Result Level.
From a performance or business perspective this is obviously the level that is of most interest and the hardest to validate in most cases.
So Back to the Near Disaster Scenario of the Plane in the Hudson River
I’m glad that the pilot had all the experience he had (a boomer, hurrah), and all the certifications that he had acquired over time, and all the training he had absorbed, and had the intelligence he had (there are some links to his school records but I believe that is an invasion of his privacy and I hope they are already removed.) But I think what really stands out in my mind is that he also had the capacity to train others. Yep, he is a safety and flight instructor and a certified glider according to Popular Mechanics.
So he has multiple certifications which just might have saved my life as well as the lives of all 155 people aboard that flight.
But interestingly, at 57 years of age, he had to perform and be evaluated under a condition he had never experienced before, that of an experimental test pilot.
Would you take a training from that kind of person or enjoy having someone like him on your implementation team, or evaluate his training as successful on all levels of the model or invite him to be your business process expert?
I know I would.