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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Training: Do They Really Listen?

One of the biggest source of frustration by trainers like me is the fact that a good number of the people we train heard what we said during training but failed to listen...

Case in point: I conducted a trainers training course a few months back to a couple of upcoming line trainers for one company. These same trainers are also team leaders who are responsible that their respective teams are able to deliver the results needed. in short, they are a bunch of busy bodies hurled into the task of developing people's functional skills to enable them to carry out the tasks that will be given to them lest they fail the training.

The training was quite comprehensive. They were taught how to conduct needs analysis, prepare a course design and lesson plan, prepare logistical requirements, conduct presentations, facilitate learning and evaluate the effectiveness of the training based on reaction and learning. A good part of the training is experiential that enabled the participants to do some skill practice activity. The training culminated with a presentation of their course design. During the course of the training and especially during the culminating activity, I recognized some participants who did very well and others whom I feel did not develop well and will probably require to act as understudy for those whom I identified as ready. to make the already long story short, they graduated and I submitted my recommendation to the production manager on what kind of preparations are needed to get the best out of the trainers. To my chagrin, none of my recommendations are followed. The trainers were asked to conduct training a day or two after graduating from my class without the necessary preparation. The reason, they are too busy and do not have the time to follow the instructions I gave them during training. As a result, they drove the training by the seat of their pants. in short, they winged it! As a result a lot of opportunities to help people succeed both trainers and trainees were wasted. They did not listen...

I can cite a hundred more of similar situations when people who attend training say they appreciate the knowledge shared but are just too busy to to make the changes or feel that the change was inconvenient. In the mind of those invested for their training and sometimes (this is not funny) even they wonder if the training was worth it.

In my trainers training courses I always emphasize the importance of addressing not just the cognitive and psychomotor aspects of learning but just as importantly the affective aspect of it that is intended to make people recognize the value of doing the right things right.

As they say a good teacher is also a good student. These experiences that I have, taught me a good lesson on how to improve the chances of learners actually using what they are taught. I put as part of my courses what I call a post-workshop activity that require my participants to apply the principles and skills in a related situation and submit a completed evaluation and report of their accomplishment. Being able to do it once of course do not guarantee that they will continue to apply the learning but I tell you, the chances are better. Plus if they succeed in doing it just once, they've already returned at least a good part of the investment.


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