Initially you can have a Training session with a subject matter expert and get your key people trained and get an insight on the subject ... and then going forward they can pick up the same and train the others and new joinees ..
I have seen this model work in best both in terms of finances as well as knowledge sharing ..
I can understand that why you have raised this query of peer-to-peer training. I could read between the lines.
Possessing knowledge on particular subject is one thing, and ability to transfer it to someone's head is another. It's not even a question of transfer of knowledge, at workplace what we require is skills. Will peers be able to build the skills? If building skills in someone were to be that easy then possibly profession teaching, training, coaching etc would not have existed.
Training skills are absolutely independent. It takes years together to master these skills. If you wish to conduct peer-to-peer training, then are these peers capable of training? Who has assessed their training skills and on what parameters these skills were assessed?
Conducting training requires building knowledge resources. To do this, lot of time is spent in reading books, magazines, web resources etc. When external trainer conducts a training for a day, a sincere trainer could spend couple of days in building a content, align it to the requirements of the client and so on. Will "peer" be able to do this back end activity?
After each training, we the trainers maintain a file to record lessons. With each batch, the quality of the training improves. This goes on for years. However, in your case, "peers" will consider this training as their secondary duty and therefore, will they record their lessons? If records are maintained, then who will be the beneficiary of these records?
Any training, be it soft skills or otherwise, has to be linked to ROI. We must be very clear as to what should be either increased or decreased. Far from measuring training effectiveness when "peers" will conduct the training, have you measured the training effectiveness when external trainers were hired?
In the peers-to-peers training, both the sides are spending their time. One for learning and another for training. Will you be able to measure ROI on the time spent? Question of incentives can be discussed only when you generate revenue because of this method. Incentives will be small part of the savings/revenue. But then how will you measure the savings?
In view of this, the following questions merit their consideration:
a) Who will do the training, when they will do, where they will do, how they will do. Likewise, who will learn, when they will learn, where they will learn, how they will learn. What if initially there is lot of interest but it wanes over a period of time?
b) How will you measure cost of this activity? On what parameters will you measure?
c) How will you measure the benefits? On what parameters will you measure?
d) How will you measure costs arising out of transfer of incomplete knowledge? On what parameters will you measure? Will one single instance of customer dissatisfaction or operational breakdown wipe out the entire savings made?
e) Will the internal trainers be taken seriously? Please do not forget the famous Hindi proverb ghar ki murghi dal barabar .
What is the via media?: - As a alternate, you may launch "Formal Mentoring Programme" in your company. In this programme, mentees (learners) are assigned to a mentor. Mentor is a senior person who is amalgamation of guide + coach + trainer + consultant + adviser and so on. They meet regularly and in their meetings, mentor guides mentee in learning new skills. Therefore, focus shifts from training to self-learning. Above all, mentor helps in building personality of his/her mentor. Mentors help in building career of the juniors. Above all, mentors help in developing the bond with the company. Mentors help mentees in understanding the vision, mission and values of the company. They crack the organisation's culture and philosophy. As far as I am concerned, I help companies in instituting formal mentoring programme. Feel free to contact me if you wish to do that. Click on the hyperlink to know more about the training on Mentoring.
I can understand that, some of the companies can't afford external trainers and its difficult to manage the budget for that.
We have tried this peer to peer training program and it was somehow succesful.
We appointed experienced professional in-house and ask them to present their fav. Topic to us.
I agree with Mr. Dinesh, we must go and hire the services from external trainers and get benefical results. But many times, companies cant spare a specific budget for trainings. So mean while u can go with ur idea and develop the skills from ur experienced staff.
Definitely you will learn something, rather not to take initiative and learn nothing.
I will surely get back to you if i have further queries on this.