Using Personality Profiling Tools to Improve Training Results

  1. pdtraining-connected-classroomYour company’s motto is ‘learning that people remember’. Do you see this as a problem with a lot of corporate training? …ie perhaps there is a lack of ‘learning transfer’ once the student is back in the office – what is learnt simply does not get applied and therefore it gets forgotten? How can this be combated?

Battling the forgetting curve – according to the Ebbinghouse Forgetting Curve, the average participant begins forgetting what they’ve learned almost immediately without the use of any practical activities to support the new knowledge.  This research was originally conducted in 1875, so this has been a problem for a long time!

The research suggests there is a 6-9 hour window before participants start to forget up to 50% of what they learned, if they have not completed any practical activities related to the new information or skills.

So our learning model is based on tying the training to different personality types, using real world examples supported by actual practical activities, either designed on the spot by our professional trainers or planned as part of the complete learning experience.

The participants then have 24 x 7 access to peers, a range of training support materials (personality profiling report, courseware, course notes, videos, forums, training booster emails) and their trainer to assure that if they do start to forget anything, they have instant access to any type of support they require.

  1. How closely do you work with corporate clients to ensure what you are delivering matches their business challenges and needs?

We listen.  Of the 1700 courses we delivered in 2014, there is not a single event where we followed the book and PowerPoint presentation as it was originally written. Using our personality profiling tool, every course is delivered to cater to the needs of our corporate clients and the individuals in the room on the day.

To the extent that even if we are delivering the same topic to multiple groups in the same company, we will position the delivery of each and every session, based on the personality type, needs, backgrounds and learning goals of the individuals in each training event.

Fortunately our systems are highly refined, and our trainers do this multiple times per week, so it is all seamless; it’s ‘just the way we do it’.

  1. People do learn in different ways. Some prefer face-to-face, others are quite happy to do it online at their own pace. Some need guidance and support; others don’t. Any comments about how and why people learn in different ways? Have we found any standard traits based on personality types??

Personality Type                                                                     Learning Style

Directive Driver These are Self-directed learners, however they will often have a high abandonment rate if the content isn’t concise and doesn’t get to the outcomes with new ‘ah ha’ moments delivered quickly or frequently.In a classroom environment these people will want to quickly get to ‘what do I do with this information, and what good is it to me’.  You’ll lose them quickly if you get bogged down in history or details.

They will comfortably take part in activities, but they need to be pointed and purposeful.

Adaptive Coach These can be quite self-directed in their approach to learning, though online content would need to be video based – preferably presented by a well-known/respected personality in the field.Much like the Red Directive Driver, these learners thrive on the conclusions and results, not so much in the theory, research and detail around the academic rigor it took to get there.

In a classroom, the opportunity to interact with their colleagues, and work toward a common understanding will be an opportunity they relish.

However, you’ll lose them fast if you spend the day in facts or figures and PowerPoint – these are the inventors of the term ‘death by PowerPoint’.

Contemplative Advisor Give these people the access, time and quiet space…With a deadline that they need to meet, and they will happily pour though online content – especially if they get the time and luxury to work through the case studies, facts and detail around the science behind the lessons.In a classroom setting, these people are the biggest protestors of role plays and group work – let them listen, observe and perform written tasks.

Asking them to join in will meet with resistance; often they’ll be worrying about being in the spotlight to really take in the content.

Consultative Counsellor These learners need interactive people based content, and will work through it if given the time to do so, however they will benefit from watching video of respected people providing the information/ videos when online.They will often get buy-in when the training has the details supporting the facts – don’t shy away from providing detailed content for this type of learner.

In the classroom if you set up activities with strong explanations and clarity on how to go about them, these people will enjoy and willingly participate in the day….Make sure you watch these participants, your activities can easily run overtime, as they enjoy collaborating with their peers and love to focus in on the details!


  1. PD Training has taken these insights to the next level by introducing personality profiling for students to see which teaching methods they respond best to. In the business world we’re used to hearing about personality profiling being used for things like leadership potential or team building, but rarely from the L&D side. Can you outline how and when in the process these profiles are conducted?

The best results come when the profiling is done prior to (or if necessary at the start) of the training event.

We use the insights provided by the profiling tool to deliver the training in a way that is more tailored to each individual’s natural preferences, however that’s only just the beginning.

By learning more about yourself and others in the context of a business course, the epiphanies people have about recurring scenarios can be life changing.

Common Question in Business Courses:

  • I get so frustrated that Jack always wants to have-a-chat in the mornings and I just want to get to work, why does he always have so much time to talk?
  • Why do I always loose out in negotiations?
  • Why does John always brush me off?
  • Why don’t I ever get through my to-do list?
  • If I could just learn what motivates Mary!
  • Why are some people so much better at delegating?
  • John and Mary really just butt heads – why is that?
  • It makes me so mad that Peter never reads my emails, why won’t he?

Questions like these come up in different business courses all the time. Often, people are attending training that is focused on something unrelated, and the self-awareness and awareness-of-others that comes out through the profiling part of the day answers these questions and more. People are empowered to manage themselves and situations much more constructively than ever before.

It is common place that clients tell us that the profiling part of the training was THE most valuable thing they took from the training because they gained a true insight into their fellow team members, and could now communicate better and understand why certain people conduct themselves that way they do.

  1. leading-dimensions-ldp-personality-profiling-tools-onlineThese profiles also help your trainers to understand – and I assume tailor their courses – to match the personalities they are teaching. Can you outline how these personality profiles help the trainers?

When you are delivering a communications or people focused course, you often have participants attending from many different job roles, experience and seniority, with wildly different technical skills and personality types, so it’s impossible to know how to run the session to suit their various personalities until you get some insights about them – that’s where the profiling comes in to the fore.

So as an example, if you were preparing a course to deliver to a group of tax accountants or senior software developers, it’s likely you can assume the learning needs, personality types and the best way to present the information based on the audience (this is not always the case).

However, if you are going to deliver training in negotiations skill, you often have software developers and senior tax accountants in the same room with customer service and sales staff, so you’re bound to have different types of personalities in the room.  Especially in the delivery of a public class with enrolments from any corporate walk of life, so if you can gain insights about the individual’s personality types you’ll know – ‘the personality types I have in the room mean they will be most receptive to …’

So you now know you should pick on X person to join in or lead the discussion and Y person to conduct some research.  You can now prepare and deliver courses that leave each person feeling truly connected with, and engaged by the content, thereby making the most of the time spent in training for each and every person in the room.

The whole purpose is to help individuals (and their employers) get the best possible impact from the time and money invested in training.

  1. You mentioned there is an expectation now – from younger people especially – that they should be able to do their training or learning ‘on the go’ via tablets and mobile devices. How has PD Training responded?

The reality is that tablets and phones are designed for content consumption and collaboration. The demographic for digital natives is skewed to younger people (technology has always been a part of how they lived) but the reality for all is that if you can have access to the information you need, exactly when and where you need it, to be confident in your approach to something at work, and most people want to do a good job, doesn’t it make sense to enable people to do a good job by taking advantage of the digital revolution around us?

We thought ‘Yes it does’, so we created the Connected Classroom platform to help individuals and companies realise the benefits of technology in a corporate learning and productivity context.

However, even digital natives have varying personality types, so it’s less about the gadgets and more about giving each participant what they need to succeed.  It just seems the digital natives perceive a greater need for technology and mobility to be part of that process, so they see our solution as better targeted to their needs.

Having said that, from our perspective it is more about enabling people to do a better job using technology they already use constantly, rather than focusing on younger people specifically.

  1. Interestingly you mentioned that there was some resistance from both the learners and the trainers when it came down to delivering and consuming learning ‘on the go’. Does this need to be considered when constructing learning modules?

We initially chose a technology platform that is fairly ubiquitous – Google Android – which is now carried around by 60-80% of all mobile phone users – and created an easy to use App to enable simple access to personality profiling and training course materials before, during and after the course (the Connected Classroom incorporates much more than just this element, but this is where we experienced surprising push-back).

The reality is that when you use the most seasoned professional trainers in the market, they have “been doing this for 20 years” and then someone else (pd training) introduces a change to how they run the course, there needs to be a carefully crafted Change Management program focusing heavily on the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) for them and the participants.

From a trainers perspective, the benefits of accessing more extensive resources more flexibly, and having quick-to-complete Personality Profiling tools to run the class more effectively, means you’ll have more fun because you are doing a better job….But if you are the trainer that uses flip charts because you can’t use PowerPoint, it all seems a little daunting, and you tell the participants “I run my training events like this”.

From a participants point of view, if you’re coming to learn a new skill, and all of a sudden there is an unexpected layer of other skills you have to learn (ie, how to turn on and manipulate an Android Tablet to access your courseware) it can be intimidating.  We learned a number of things from the participant’s feedback, so we are in a constant state of continuous improvement.

It’s a reality that technology is less highly adopted than the Google, Samsung and Apple marketing machines make out. The issues are all easily overcome, and the learning environments can be elegantly simple, so it’s just a matter of removing certain variables and delivering a great user experience for the trainer and participants; resistance then quickly evaporates.

When constructing a learning module, design it for your mother – especially if she still asks you to come around to program the microwave clock.


Getting people to remember what they’ve learned, without using interactive, example-based scenarios, and not providing post-training support, is almost impossible simply due to human nature.

As a professional development training organisation, we are very passionate about providing the best services possible, so pd training is continuously pushing the boundaries and barriers with regards to human learning and improved performance and productivity.

We are using science (personality profiling tools) and technology (the Connected Classroom) to help us develop better training solutions and get better outcomes for our clients.

Experience the Connected Classroom for yourself and let us show you how and why it’s a better model than traditional off-the-shelf training solutions.  Your staff will be better equipped to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently, and ultimately isn’t that the most important aspect of investing in learning and development?