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What happens when training is so close to reality

I’ve just returned from running a graduate induction programme. The aim of the programme is to provide an overview of the business and to immerse the new recruits in the culture of the organisation. The week is run in a way that simulates workplace learning - nothing is given to them on a plate, they have to find things out for themselves. Through a business focused task they are challenged to find solutions to real problems and find out a lot about working in teams, the business and themselves along the way.

The challenge for us in these very “real” programmes is to persuade the graduates that it is worth taking time away from the task to review and reflect on what they are learning. As with work, most opportunity to learn is through action but as in work, the graduates get  into the task so much  that they want to keep working rather than stop and take stock for a while. The reviews are where the real value of the programme lies and by being insistent that they would be valuable, we were able to ensure that the graduates got as much from the week as possible.

Feedback from the graduates at the end of the week was that the reviews were one of the most useful elements of the programme! Just as in work we are so wrapped up in the task that we forget to reflect on what we are learning but when we do take the time we remember how valuable it is.

Please comment if you have had similar experiences.