I really hate to say this about my own profession but after nearly 40 years I have learned that the worst students are .... trainers and educators.
We only have to look around our own profession to see just how little it has grown across the board despite the massive funding it receives today. Sure, there are pockets of excellence and very dark corners where a lot of futuristic thought is being shared, but in the main the industry has, in my opinion, gone backwards.
For example - Kirkpatrick's model has been around for over three decades but there is still no concrete models showing how levels 3 and 4 can be used to evaluate training. Also, Phillips' model is seen as the next best thing (by some) when in reality the whole notion of ROI can, and should, be applied at all levels - not as an add on. Experienced trainers who rigorously apply a systems approach whould know this - and they would identify exactly how levels 3 and 4 can be applied.
Another example - read any literature about workplace training (ie, VET) and you will find very little mention of the 'workplace'. It is all about inputs and nothing about outputs or effects. On the other hand, read any business literature and you will also find very little written about training. Somehow the two are seen as separate when in reality they are intertwined and interdependent. One cannot exist without the other, but where is this highlighted? Even at conferences we find very few - if any - business professionals discussing how effective training is. (And vice versa.)
Another example - in Australia we sweat tears of joy over the Cert IV and Dip for TAE and profess it is a program which is going to save us from death and despair in the economy and jobs market, but since it was introduced in the mid 1990s our productivity has actually gone backwards. Moreover there were better 'train the trainer' courses in the 1970/80s than there are now - much better. (In fact it could be argued that industrial training was far better in the 1920s than it is today, but that is another topic.)
I could go on but you get the point. If we can't get our own profession right then what chance do we have to be seen as capable of influencing other industries?
Phil Rutherford Ph.D Web: www.3gpm.com/drphilrutherford Blog: http://theotherdrphil.typepad.com/phils_weblog/