The problem with understanding

The problem with understanding

Many training outcomes are couched in terms of ‘understanding’, but what does that mean?

How can you tell when someone understands something?

At best, it means that you will see them do something that implies understanding or answer a question about it.

And even this is subjective. Do they understand the topic like I (the subject matter expert) do?

Or more than they used to?

What level of understanding is required and how would you know they have reached that level?

And from their understanding, do they draw the same conclusion and act the same way I would?

If not, is that a problem, because I am right, and they are wrong?

‘Understanding’, then, is not a useful term when considering organisational learning and the point at which we have learned something.

Far better to focus on the job to be done and train people so they can do the job in the way it needs to be done.

Look at the learning outcomes of your current training courses. How often do you use the word ‘Understand’?

How can you remove the word ‘Understand’ and focus the outcome on what people need to do rather than some nebulous idea of what might be going on in their head.

My best wishes, Paul