Creation of a Training Department

I'm considering the question how a training department/employees charged with training duties are created in those companies/organisations that don't have them to begin with.

Does a SME get promoted/appointed to the level of trainer and then it starts from there?

I'm aware of the outsourcing as training departments are being reduced. Hence the demand for freelancers and one-stop shops who can produce the material. But the process how they actually get started in small/medium companies is that interests me. 

Appreciate all/any answers from those on E-Learning Heroes.

13 Replies
Phil Mayor

I don't think there is a simple one answer that fits all.

These decisions will have been made well  before the decision is made to appoint someone.  I would say the correct question to ask is

When and how does an organisation decide it needs a training department?"

I also think this will be difficult to answer as most organisations will probably have a training department that evolves out of need.  It may be they have an informal training department before they formally start calling it "the training Department".

Tim Slade

In my experience, working at a major retailer, you have it exactly right. Before the company had a major L&D Department, SMEs would eventually be chosen to take on training roles. That how I ended up in training (and ultimately e-learning) from Loss Prevention. I think this is the same reason so many people say they "fell" into training/e-learning.

Eric Nalian

Hey Nicholas,

At the company I work at - the training dept. was formed as part of the company growing.

  • Started off with an HR Generalist seeing a need to increase training - she became the 'Manager of Organizational Learning and Development'
  • From here an LMS was built - At this time I joined the team to create eLearning courses (we were a team of 2!)
  • As our company grew and changed over the next 2 years, we had to change the way we train new hires (which resulted in bringing 3 facilitators to team)
  • As the need for additional eLearning grew, we had to hire an additional Instructional Designer.
  • Now our team might be growing again, as a result of business growth and company needs and our team might get a Technical writer and an admin for additional support.

This is a rough/short explanation of how our team came to be - If you want more info, send a PM because it is a long story and we wrote up many proposals and budgets on how to grow our team.

-Eric

Nick n/a

@Bruce, thanks for your answer. If I have a question I'm unable to clearly resolve despite trying then I turn to the fantastic members of the E-Learning Heroes community.

@Phil, thanks for the great question in response. I find your point about an informal training department useful. Makes sense to me. 

@Tim, I've heard that SMEs are chosen to take on training roles. So it then relates to the size of the company. As the company grows the L&D department develops. 

@Eric, Thanks for the explanation. It again relates to the company growing into a training department (maybe as a response to the needs of the business.) I'll send you a PM.

Thanks all for taking your valuable time to help me better understand my question. I'm again just building up a clearer picture and appreciate the responses. 

Nicholas

Nick n/a

@Nancy, I couldn't answer the question clearly enough so thought to ask it to others. Just getting a clearer picture. 

@Bruce Nicholas ''Is there a deeper/further question here?'' At this point I'm just getting a clearer view about a question which I've been looking to answer. No deeper questions yet I'm afraid.

Thanks to all again for answers. I'll do my best to contribute as well.

Bruce Graham

Nicholas - I was just trying to get to the bottom of your quandary. If someone asks a question - there's usually a reason for wanting to know the answer. Your question - as it stands - is quite broad and undefined, so the answers will, by definition be quite broad and lack clarity. Still not exactly sure why you want to have/need to have a clearer picture. The purpose of the enquiry is still not overtly stated.

Your question could have any of the following added:

 "...because I want to offer a business service."

"...because I want to exploit a specific market niche".

"...because I never get hired and I want to understand if I am asking the wrong questions."

or whatever.

Your post just seemed a little "unfinished" to me, because the parameters are rather vague, and to obtain useful answers it's necessary, sometimes, to delve a little deeper into the motivations for wanting an answer. I guess that spirit of enquiry is just the ID coming out...  

Natalia Mueller

Hi Nicholas,

IMO there are better ways to do it and then there is how many companies actually do it. What I have seen several times is that the need becomes apparent so training duties are shifted from SMEs and HR personnel. This can be effective (and a great transitional career opportunity) IF there is someone involved that understands adult learning and how it relates to eLearning to guide the developers.

There seems to be a natural but painful progression a lot of companies go through as they underestimate the experience necessary to make effective training. The focus is on getting the training out and building a catalog. Then after a couple of years they realize that it's not doing what they thought it would. The same goes with an LMS. They often start small and affordable then grow out of it. Those growing pains can be a valuable learning process for everyone involved, but some can certainly be avoided by learning from others' successes and pitfalls. Somewhat like you're doing here?

Bruce Graham

Natalia Mueller said:

Hi Nicholas,

IMO there are better ways to do it and then there is how many companies actually do it. What I have seen several times is that the need becomes apparent so training duties are shifted from SMEs and HR personnel. This can be effective (and a great transitional career opportunity) IF there is someone involved that understands adult learning and how it relates to eLearning to guide the developers.

There seems to be a natural but painful progression a lot of companies go through as they underestimate the experience necessary to make effective training. The focus is on getting the training out and building a catalog. Then after a couple of years they realize that it's not doing what they thought it would. The same goes with an LMS. They often start small and affordable then grow out of it. Those growing pains can be a valuable learning process for everyone involved, but some can certainly be avoided by learning from others' successes and pitfalls. Somewhat like you're doing here?


+1. Beautifully put.

I have seen nothing --> HR ---> "TADA! - a catalogue!" --> "HELP!" --> Hire a Training Professional --> business results --WOHHOO!

on a number of occasions.