Are we focusing too much on accredited qualifications?

Maria Zahra's article on The Times of Malta. 

The importance of ‘testing’ a person’s knowledge or ability against a benchmark has increased.

Over the years, Malta has seen an increase of accredited qualifications, either awarded from international professional bodies or home-grown qualifications.

Accredited training can bring about benefits to employees, the organisation and the customer. While studying and once qualified, the employee may feel greater satisfaction in their work and increased motivation and confidence in their role. The organisation benefits from an enhanced reputation as an investor in people and increased effectiveness of the team. The customer will ultimately get improved quality of activities/services.

But how do these benefits differ from a training programme/course which is not accredited?

The difference is the fact that the qualification can be recognised both locally and internationally (once recognised by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education) and can be seen as a benchmark as to what knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding the employee has gained.

The disadvantage of accredited qualifications is that they are structured and follow a particular framework and therefore, cannot be built around the organisation’s specific training needs (unless accredited specifically for the organisation). Another advantage is that one does not need to sit for an assessment.

A balance needs to be achieved. Organisations need their employees to be developed specifically to the employees’ and organisation’s needs. Accredited qualifications may not necessarily provide this. Our trainers at MISCO are able to customise courses according to the needs of the employee and their respective organisations. One could also question the credibility and the value of such customised courses – This is when employers then need to look at the reputation, experience and knowledge of who is delivering the training.

We are constantly faced with the challenging task of wanting our staff to develop, yet given the limited budgets and time-constraints, many try to find alternatives to the usual learning and development approaches.

Developing capabilities across all levels are still being given time and attention and learning must be applied to the ongoing challenges of the workplace.

This can be done through active learning, more employee engagement, constant feedback. Other approaches such as on-the-job training and personal coaching are being tested even more, however we do notice that employers are looking for fewer and more condensed ‘classroom’ time.

Whether it is dead; the answer to me is ‘no’.

The benefits of traditional training remain speed and cost of development, the increased collaboration between the trainer and the participants and the fact that it is a proven approach. It is also a good way of escaping from the distractions of the busy workplace, as well as a form of team building, if the training is organised for all employees.

Learning & development is changing and due to time constraints, employers are seeking new and faster approaches to develop their staff. In fact, the benefit of new training approaches that include technology is that it is not limited in how many people may participate.

The death of face-to-face learning is not close. There are still a large number of topics that demand face-to-face contact. Learning & development, in my opinion, is not changing due to technology. We just have more opportunities and approaches to it.

A learning organisation is one which places focus and importance on the development of its employees. It is open to new methods and processes and is also concerned with seeing its employees grow both professionally and personally.

A learning organisation knows that developing talent also means that it will keep the organisation competitive. Moreover, in a learning organisation, the development of the employees will be always on the forefront: this means that it is not something that is just done once, but is a continuous process.

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