Published on 2012/03/02

A "Mager" Success For Training And Development

A “Mager” Success For Training And Development
By focusing on achieving specific outcomes, training leaders are propelling learners toward their needed competence. Photo by William Warby.

I wish I could tell you where I first heard of this approach, but it was a long time ago. It’s a dynamite idea (I can say that, because I can’t take credit for being the originator of it. I’d like to think that if I hadn’t heard it I would have thought of it on my own).

I have been trained in the philosophies of Dr. Robert Mager (again, it’s somebody else’s “fault”). Because of this I have a laser focus on targeting the intended results of the training intervention; that is: short, cheap, and totally effective. Yes, I said “totally effective”.

To that end, it makes sense not to waste time on anything that does not propel the learner (the “performer”) directly toward their needed competence. Therefore, if you want them to become competent at something like adjusting or troubleshooting some technical system (yes, like earth movers, lawnmowers or radars), why not start by telling them that you have a real, or imaginary, device that is in a condition that they may well encounter. Now they become automatically interested in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to solve that very situation.

In my view, anyone who would like massive success in the field of technical training needs to know only one word: “Mager”. Caution: lots of people profess to be familiar with Mager, but this doesn’t work at all unless the trainer fully embraces these potent philosophies. Why doesn’t every trainer already to that? Because it pretty much removes that image of the trainer as the glorified fountain of knowledge (and, by the way, the center of attention). But my approach is really far more gratifying than that.

Head to this site to learn more about Mager.

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