Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why are Trainers running behind International Training Certifications

This was a question raised by Naina Mehta in Trainers Forum.

My answer:
Thank you for the question which everyone probably wanted to ask but dared not?

Before we get stuck-up with blaming our Indian fascination for everything 'phoren', let me offer a perspective. As I have been a 'Certified Trainer' in International programs as well as I deliver my own conceptualised "Training Programs", I hope to present a balanced opinion

1. What is an International Certification? A certification allows you to deliver a particular training program with it's modules (this generally is an Intellectual Property program which has it's base on some research, book, thought or philosophy). This certification allows one to deliver this program across the globe or pre-defined areas (as per the contract signed with the intellectual property holder). Usually these modules are very structured (a few cultural variations allowed) but the trainer can't bring in his own content to the program. The methodology, activities, games etc. are standardised, generally designed by Content Developers who have studied human psychology, tried and tested the content, pedagogy and it's impact on the participants and the transfer of learning's to the workplace. A certification shows your competency to deliver these specific training and it doesn't mean that you are a certified trainer for all kinds of training programs.

Advantages: Structured, researched, planned modules with focused key deliverable

For a culture like ours, the data /content-driven approach may not connect with many participants. Lack of customisation (the modules being predesigned) is another challenge.

Note: There are some quality-conscious International Training companies who wouldn't certify if the person can't grasp the content or if the person can't deliver as per their methodology/pedagogy. These certifications are intense, run up to a week, only 4-6 participants are allowed in this TTT and the qualifying percentage is about 25% only.

Who prefers such certifications?: Usually MNC's and Indian Global Co's prefer such certified trainers as the training intervention being a Global L&D initiative, they can be assured that the content and the delivery is standardised (a minuscule % of cultural variation is acceptable).

Cost of such programs?: International training rates apply. The trainer gets a small fee but the bulk would go for IPR and for organisational costs of R&D, Content Development, Videos, Marketing etc.

Is Certification necessary? For delivery of these IPR training programs, YES.

2. Can't we have Indian Certification? Yes, Why not?
But honestly how many of us Trainers / Training Companies really put efforts to research, develop, conceptualise, contextualise our Training. One doesn't even document the questions asked in the room and neither the off-hand feedback received by the Trainer. There is generally no standardisation. The program could be the same but each Trainer puts in his own variation, brings his own content to the room based on the comfort level of his/her delivery and/or knowledge. Ice-breakers, energisers, activities are used randomly without even understanding the connection between the subject and the debrief. Some of our trainers are on a "gimmicky" platform aiming to get the "wows" in the room.

Advantages: Does well for Motivational, Sales training etc. Scores high on rating's. If single Trainer approach then works well.

Disadvantages: No research background, no clear content road-map, no validity of what one is saying in the room.

Note: There are few quality-conscious Indian Training companies who are doing a great job. They run TTT's, certify trainers who can deliver the content and keep a check on the delivery of the trainer's.

Who prefers such trainers? Usually localised Indian Co's/SME's who would prefer the same Trainer to run these trainings at all their locations. This itself assures them of standardisation and customisation. MNC's also prefer such trainers if there are budget constraints (local budget), the program is generic and they would want the same trainer to deliver the training at all locations.

Is Certification necessary? For delivery of such training programs, NOT NECESSARY.

3. Why are we running behind such International Certification?
Few counter-questions:
Why are people running for Management Degrees?
Why run after IIM programs or a ISB certification?
Why run after a US MBA or a Doctorate or an additional qualification?
Those who know the difference vis-a-vis to our local degrees and the 'A' category B-schools would know what I'm talking of...

Another question - If not such International Certification then where do I get such certification in India? Those of you who will point out to ISTD, we all know that the ISTD Diploma has to be revamped immediately and made more practical. Further this certification needs to be validated by International Associations/organisations... only then will the world value Indian Training certification (like our IIT's, IIM's etc).

I hope I could bring a bit more light to these debate.

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