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Common Mistakes In Learning and Development

Adrian Sita
9 Nov, 2020
3 m read

Learning and development overview

Constant learning and development leaders are common in the workplace, it is also common to make mistakes that hinder the development instead of enhancing it. A study showed that if new training or information is not applied, it will take only 6 days for 75% of it to be forgotten. So, what goes wrong during these training sessions? Let’s take a look at some common mistakes in learning and development.


Too Much Information

Yes, it is possible to have too much information in a learning and development program. When there is an information overload people tend to stop listening. Keeping the information to the main points and taking breaks if necessary, will help people retain what they have learned.

Almost everyone has been in some sort of class or course where there is too much information and everyone stops listening, and learning, after just a few topics are completed. The information needs to be succinct and to the point to maximize retention.

Not Enough Information

On the flip side you can have a presentation that is too generic and is not specific enough to either the job or the content that you are trying to teach. There has to be a connection between the information that is being taught and the job being performed, people have to be able to relate to the information in order to retain it better.

Other common mistakes

Using Outdated Training Materials

Times change and so should your training. Being on top of new training techniques and developmental opportunities to give your employees the best possible chance to grow and develop. Look into outside companies as well who specialize in learning and development to aid in your employee training.

Bringing in new and fresh ideas will help your employees retain information and be able to better apply it to their jobs.

Ill-Timed Training

In order to be effective, training needs to take place as close to when the information will be used as possible. You don’t want to teach something that someone won’t use for 6 months. Often times training will be done to check a box but will not be used immediately and will be forgotten by the time it is actually needed.

For maximum effect have your training period immediately before it will be used so that it can be put into practice instantly.

Erratic Development Plans

Developing people should be constant and on-going, not just a one-time thing. In order for people to develop they need to have a constant flow of information and feedback, not just a course once a year. The development should be tailored to the individual if possible, as well. Development should be seen as a long-term investment in employees. You are developing them to be better, more productive and engaged employees, so treat it as such.

Telling Instead Of Asking

It is easy for companies to tell employees what they need to improve on and how they need to grow. Development needs to first start with asking the employee where they feel they are lacking and what they need help with and go from there. General courses and trainings are fine, as most businesses have, but if you are truly looking to develop your employees there should be discussions on what the employee feels they need development on.

Lecturing Versus Hands On Training

Most people learn best when they are given hands on training and development versus someone in front of a whiteboard for hours on end lecturing employees trying to stay awake. Giving hands on training or training that gets the employees involved is much more likely to stick than a simple lecture. Get everyone involved and have them participate and be part of the training.

These mistakes are common for many companies in their learning and development approach, but they are also easy to change and overcome. Treating development and learning as an ongoing investment in your employees rather than checking a corporate box saying that it was completed will not only help your employees develop but will help your business grow because they are. Keep your employees’ best interest in mind when training, remember that you are developing them for a reason, and you will be on the right track.

Some (final) thoughts

Keep your employees’ best interest in mind when training, remember that you are developing them for a reason, and you will be on the right track.

This article is part of a bigger topic called: 

Employee Engagement

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