James Musson

March 6, 2021

Knowledge Check

Yesterday I was treated to a morning of online training while working from home.

This consisted of the standard training day fayre: a slideshow, a presenter reading from that slideshow, then a quiz to check I’d been paying attention.

That quiz bore the euphemistic title of a "Knowledge Check". 10 questions, fairly detailed, to check if I'd been paying attention. Most felt like they were designed to catch me out by checking I could list, for example, three colours of notices issued by a partner agency. (Not the meaning of the colours; just to list the colours.) Despite the presenter on this topic reassuring us we wouldn't need to memorise the colours.

Hmm.

Training is valuable. But is it meaningful when its final step is a memory test? What about the degree to which I would be able to apply the training to my daily work? To explain it to my colleagues when we find ourselves knee deep in the inevitable edge case?

I know there are challenges of delivering effective training during a pandemic, when online communication has become the easiest way to engage a larger group of people in the same teaching. But it's hard to avoid feeling like the exercise is complete because my name will now appended to the list of those who have (virtually) showed up for the training. Rather than because I'm doing my job better, with more compassion and humanity. 

Because that's not about knowledge. That's called a Reality Check.