Stop Wasting Valuable Training Money

October 2015, by So-Young Kang

By So-Young Kang, CEO & Catalyst of Awaken Group and CEO of Gnowbe

I’m personally tired of having knowledge thrown at me. There’s a lot of interesting things I need to know that will help me to be a better professional and a better human being. The truth is, I can learn from so many different methods. But when I’m actually spending my training dollars, I want to do it in a way that’s tailored to me. And I don’t want to be talked down to having a teacher teach me things that I could’ve read. I want to experience and engage. I want to maximize the use of that time and that whole learning experience.

I think that if more business schools taught people in business not just about operations, finance, accounting, and management, but taught people ‘why’ those things matter, I think we’ll have lot less global economic and even political issues. So I’m pretty passionate about how we embed in principles. I think the intention of education was to build character. That actually would then make that whole training meaningful.

Many corporations are wasting a lot of training dollars, which can be so much more effectively used, because there’s a certain checklist that have to be done, and it kind of bums me out that these dollars can be spent in a really impactful way with a bit of intention and, of course, with a design and plan and all those things. But it’s possible to do that.

So if it’s helpful to you, I have 3 questions that might help you as you’re making training investments.

1) Are the underlying principles of that course clear to you?
This is important because adults are beyond just learning the ‘what’ and they also need to know the ‘why’ because once they understand the principle of whether it’s storytelling, social media, or whatever topic it is, they can then take those principles and apply it to different parts of their lives, and ultimately help them make them better decisions with that principle.

2) Is it really designed in a way that adults engage and experience the content?
For example, we love to innovate on all kinds of ways to do adult learning. We’ve done everything from Legos, to stimulation, to snow cone machines, to mazes, to group dialogue, to individual exercise, to dreaming, and we’re constantly innovating how we create these experiences so that adults can self-reflect discourse with other people, and really apply this learning in an experiential way

3) Are we really adapting our modes?
Are we stuck to just the traditional one-way classroom kind of mode or do we recognize that technology and mobile devices are the way more people spend their time? Are we designing content that is accessible to them when they’re on-the-go, in different countries, in different parts of the world, in different languages, and in different modes? So, how are we adapting to the changing needs of learners real-time and at a pace that they need to empower them?

At the end of the day, for me, transformational learning is not just about the ‘what’ which is so readily available but it’s really about getting to the ‘why’ and to the ‘so, what?’ of learning. That, I think, makes the difference.


About Awaken Group:
Awaken Group is a multi-disciplinary Transformation Design (TD) firm that that provides in-person experiential learning experiences. We integrate business strategy, leadership and design with values and purpose to achieve sustainable impact.

About Gnowbe:
Gnowbe is a pioneering mobile transformational learning platform that empowers people to build signature learning journeys while on-the-go, tailored to how they want to learn, not to how we want to teach them. This first mobile-only education app addresses soft skills using action-based learning consisting of “bite-sized knowledge.”