Malcolm Dawes and television news reporter Amber Sherlock discuss how the training industry is often fragmented and often filled with misconceptions around the over-dependence upon technological resources.
Amber: So what do you think some of the biggest challenges that you face now or in the future?
Malcolm: There are two key challenges. I think one is the fact that the training industry is so fragmented. So consequently people look at training as being just that, just training. And I often differentiate between what I do, which is to develop people from training. That might sound like I’m playing with words, but training really is about giving people direction and telling them how to do something. You know, do this, do that, practice it, get it wrong, I’ll teach you how to do it better again and so on. Whereas development and the things that I do is to try and work with people that have already got some skills and want to improve them. I mean, DTA for example, the name of my business means developing the achievers. So I work with, people are already achieving and I’m trying to develop them further so that they can stay one step ahead of the game, if you like. So the fragmentation means that everybody sees training as being one in the same, when in fact there’s different aspects to what I do to what maybe some other trainers do.
The second thing I think really is around the advent of technology. It’s a great thing now that we’ve got access to anything we want online. I lived through the advent of what used to be CD-ROM training and those sorts of things which was essentially a word document on a screen, but it was the best thing ever. Now we’ve got fantastic interactive modules that people can learn from and that’s great. However, the things that I do don’t lend themselves to that technological approach because understanding people, understanding how to communicate, how to resolve conflict, it doesn’t necessarily get learned very easily by reading something off a screen or doing an interactive thing with an animation. It requires us as people to sit with each other, to see the body language, to understand the nuances of the behaviours that we have, and to actually ask each other questions about why do you see that in that way? What do I need to do differently to help you? So I think the challenges for, again, for people to understand that technology definitely has a place, but that needs to be blended with something which is more face to face and in an environment where people can actually challenge each other, which isn’t necessarily easy, but that’s what makes us grow and makes us develop.