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The Unavoidable Shift In The Training Industry

There is nothing to fear if we are willing to learn and understand

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

We often fear what we do not understand. When the Malaysian government announced the  first Movement Control Order (MCO) in March 2020, all training programmes came to a halt  – at least for me. Although I studied Computer Engineering back in the day, I had never really  gone full swing geek-mode when it came to integrating technology in my training programmes. 

Probably because I started my career in training with an old school mindset – writing, doing,  and physical interactions. I trained participants time management skills by teaching them how  to keep track of tasks and events in an organiser. My soft skills classes had plenty of practical  exercises, and my team engagement programmes mostly had management games that  required physical tasks and group work. All these contributed to me being specifical of online  training. 

Even before the MCO started, when other trainers asked me about training online, I would  reply, “Sorry, not my forte.”  

In retrospect, that was my response because subconsciously I did not have confidence that I  could produce the same level of engagement and effectiveness without using tools and  techniques that I had grown familiar with. The bitter reality was, I did not want to leave my  comfort zone.  

As the MCO started, I thought I would be just fine, and things will go back to normal once the  MCO was lifted in two weeks’ time. I believed that I could wait it out. But then the MCO was  extended, not once but a few times. I had to re-evaluate by beliefs. As much as I found it  uncomfortable, I came to terms that I must seek to understand this “online-thingy” if I were  to survive post-pandemic. Besides, I had a lot of time on my hands now and nothing much to  do.  

Change had always been inevitable. Even though we talk a lot about the VUCA (volatility,  uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) in recent years, it had been used as early as 1987.  Even the idea of disruptive technologies was first used in 1997. In short, even without the  pandemic, the world has been non-stop evolving. Perhaps I was too ignorant of the signs but  nevertheless now, “my world” is directly affected – specifically the local training industry. 

We as trainers often talk about motivation, self-development, improvements, positivity, and  such to our participants. But when it is us that needs to face the hard facts, we become  emotional, defensive, in denial, and react negatively. I am not saying this to anyone else, I am  saying it to myself – I failed to walk the talk and I had to snap out of it quickly if I wanted to  continue providing for my family and continue my career as a trainer. 

It took me a while but, after a year, I can confidently say that within my own capacity, I  somewhat figured out “online training”. I managed to publish a book based on my experience  of going online. I did it to share tips for those who were struggling and only now are beginning  to explore online training (just like I was). I started a new personal YouTube channel fresh  with the intention of practicing to get comfortable talking to a camera. It now has close to 200  videos of me sharing content on training and soft skills related topics. I write eBooks and  articles online almost daily to fine tune the way I explain things in text. All this, so that when  the time comes, I will be better prepared. I am so grateful that in the past months, I managed to get several webinars and online workshop gigs with participants attending from across the  globe including Poland, India, the Philippines and Southeast Asia.  

The signs are showing that none of this online training is slowing down. The pandemic may subside in due time, but technology will continue to affect the way we work and do business. The newer generations coming into the workforce are now better informed and more equipped with tools that enable them to learn faster than before. Although face-to-face interactions is  part of human nature and we will always have room for those type of training programmes, we  should not be too naïve to see that our strategy must change and evolve over time.  

There is nothing to fear if we are willing to learn and understand. Trainers will not go obsolete  if we continue to add value to the content available. Competition and market offerings of  freebies does not put a company out of business, being stubborn and not wanting to improve  customer experience does. So, to all my trainer friends out there, all I can say is, “Let’s keep a  good attitude and stay relevant!”

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Written By

Ahmad Fauzan Othman is the Lead Trainer for HRDF Train-the-Trainer certification course and has trained various level of employees from the private and public sector. Fauzan has been actively sharing content online since 2015 and has conducted numerous webinars which have had viewers from across the globe including Poland, India and South-East Asia. Follow him on LinkedIn.




    9th February 2021 at 11:51 am

    Well written, There is even ‘The Running College’, ‘University of Traffic’ & ‘The School of Walking’ in support of the quest of knowledge by learners. Learning has become as easy as munching a snack or more. Changes are permanent. Adoption to changes are invitable.

    • Editorial Team

      9th February 2021 at 1:13 pm

      Great comment Syamsul. If you are keen to share thoughts, feel free to upload your insights on Marketing In Asia too. Take care

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