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August 21, 2001
Training Not A Favorite For Some Execs
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Two in five corporate executives are reluctant to take time off from the job for training, according to a survey by Provant Vertical Market Solutions, a Boston-based provider of training products.

"Of 175 executives who responded, 42 percent are disinclined to set aside their everyday responsibilities for learning," said Provant VMS President Herb Cohen.

Moreover, one-third of the executives thinks their training takes too long.

In spite of their reluctance, very few of the participating executives -- 3 percent -- called their training experiences completely wasted, noted Cohen.

"That's the good news, along with the finding that 47 percent generally regard training time as well spent," he said.

Nevertheless, half the respondents has had mixed experience with their training, which has to be a warning to training providers. "Executives are facing greater time pressures, and we trainers can't take for granted their continued willingness to take part if we don't make the most of the training time we get," Cohen said.

Middle and senior-level people pose a distinct training challenge, admitted Cohen. "Executives are not only very busy, but they may also be unenthusiastic participants. This means trainers have to develop a learning experience that's professionally designed for their level and sophistication and one that uses their time effectively."

Training today, Cohen observed, is rapidly moving away from a single event held in a classroom to ongoing learning with lasting impact. In addition, providers are developing blended solutions that integrate e-learning with instructor-led training.

Simulations also play a growing role in executive-level training, according to Cohen.

"Computer simulations that use sophisticated interactive software are the equivalent of a flight simulator for executives," he said. "They get to make business decisions in a safe environment where they can't crash, so to speak, but can learn from the consequences of the choices they make."

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