Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The CBT Lady

In the spirit of trying to explain to people what I do for a living, I was trying to explain to someone recently what I do for a living.

“I help organizations design and deliver online training programs…”

The guy made a cross with his fingers and hissed at me saying, “Oh no, you’re the CBT Lady!”

Visions of hairnet covered lunch ladies. I haven’t recovered yet from this one.

The CBT Lady?

“Oh no. You create those horrible things that we have to sit through. Every screen is locked out.  And there’s a test at the end and if you get one question wrong you have to take the whole thing again!"

222683089_cb22ee0807I then tried to explain, “We create elearning that is NOT that…we try to do that much better…”

“Oh no, the CBT Lady!”

Two weeks later.  Same guy. He introduces me to his wife. She and I start chatting about what we do. “She’s the CBT Lady!”  And then she starts hissing at me.

It was all in good fun. But seriously. This is how our industry is perceived by the world -- by those forced to suffer through hours of clicky-clicky blah-blah at the hands of the CBT Lady.

Whatever you do, don’t be The  CBT Lady.  I’m begging you.

Photocredit: “Always be nice to the lunch lady” by MelvinSchlubman

17 comments:

Colleen Carmean said...

Sad thing is, I don't think the CBT lady knows that she IS the CBT lady. When you meet her, I think you're obligated to tell her.

Anonymous said...

While there is always room for improvement – learning and development professionals should constantly strive to create better learning materials and deliver more effective training - I think the learner has to take ownership of his / her own learning experience.

It becomes an uphill battle any time someone views training as "something I have to do" instead of "something that will help me achieve my goals".

Erin Kuhns said...

I apologize for my ignorance, but the only thing I know CBT to mean is 'Cognitive Behvioral Therapy' and I don't think that's what you mean here. Could you please explain what CBT is? Thanks!

Dick Carlson said...

I usually tell people I kill baby seals with a huge, spiked stick. That way they don't hate me as much as if I say I create online learning.

Mark said...

Thanks for this Cammy! Made me laugh. Last thing we want is for our learners to think of us this way. Envision a world where we truly make it Learning (online).

Cammy Bean said...

@Erin...sorry for the mystery acronym! CBT = Computer Based Training.

Erin Kuhns said...

Thank you! As soon as I read your answer, I thought, "Duh!" - I knew that. But I'm not used to using it in my own work context. Thank you for clarifying.

Cammy Bean said...

@Anonymous -- Ahh...but I'd say a big problem is that a lot of corporate elearning (especially compliance training) doesn't actually connect back to an individual's goals...

Jane Bozarth said...

@anonymous I put that back on the organization for making so much training "mandatory". Learners are told it's something they have to do. And really, learners create their own learning experiences all the time. They just don't choose to use the company's bad CBT programs -- since those don't lead to any learning anyway.

AnnieintheSun said...

Hahaha, thanks for providing my chuckle for the day. Cammy, your sense of humor is one of the reasons I wanted to showcase your thoughts on the QuickLessons blog. Thanks for that, I just posted it today. In my eyes, you're a far cry from a hulking, grim faced cafeteria lady or whatever the stereotype of a CBT lady equivalent is. You are an Instructional Design Icon! http://www.quicklessons.com/blog/2012/02/cammy-bean/

Kelly Meeker said...

I hear this all the time when I'm explaining to people what I do. It's embarrassing and so incredibly frustrating. I'm really tempted sometimes to whip out my laptop and try to demo some of the really cool examples I've encountered.

Seriously, though, I hate having to "justify" my profession in conversation. Very depressing.

Anonymous said...

Hi it's me again - Anonymous. : )

Cammy / Jane, I apologize. When I made my comment, I wasn't thinking about mandatory / compliance training. I suppose it's difficult to make every topic relevant and engaging.

So what's the solution? Do you simply accept the fact that compliance training will be dull as dish water - and people will forever attribute your materials with the dreaded "CBT lady" personna that you so abhor?

No offence, but it seems like both of you have identified the problem - corporate training isn't connected to a learner's goals - but I'm not hearing a solution.

Who needs to fix this problem? The organization? As learning and development professionals, isn't it our responsibility to source out / advocate the most effective programs for our colleagues?

Wide-Eyed Optimist

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Hmm...Are you real, a ringer, Devil's Advocate...or are you Cammy's Mr. Hyde? ;-)

Have you really never been on the receiving end of the type of training described?

LOL! There's no "taking ownership" for the learner in the kind of (probably) "compliance" training that gives CBT Ladies a bad name...the learner is completely at the mercy of the machine.

Not for nothing is it called "compliance" training...

"We control the vertical/we control the horizontal" (--the opening spiel from "The Outer Limits").

Anonymous said...

Hi CBT Lady, I've been assigned a challenge to make voluntary online training more utilized by employees. This training is in the form of a subscription to an amalgam of IT courses 2-4 hours in length, that are designed to enhance whatever track you may be interested in. There are hundreds of pretty amazing courses in this package, yet almost nobody is utilizing the resource. True, this is generally to take place in the employee's spare time, but the benefits for the individual are huge. Any suggestions on how to help motivate the crowd? Thanks!

Cammy Bean said...

Sounds like you need to do a better job selling the benefits upfront. If this course is so great, help them see what they'll get out of it. Also 2-4 hours in length is a LONG time. Are these broken down into more digestible chunks?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I will see generally what types of blockers exist for folks and suggest ways to encourage them past those. The courses are very easily digestible, 15-40 minute modules with 5 or 6 videos in each. You can speed up the player if the presenter is slow or the material is familiar etc. Any time you return to the site it will pick up where you left off, so it is super easy to spend 30 minutes if that's all you have. There are literally 3000+ courses, subcategorized into a couple dozen "tracks" so users get tangible benefit once they find material they're motivated to learn. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

The CBT Lady is still alive and kicking in my org! Our training manager pays lip service to bite-sized learning; it's an uphill and discouraging battle when bite-sized is seen as incompetent and where fun quizzes should be turned into assessments for learners to "earn their pound of flesh". Thanks for the wonderful read and your insightful blog!