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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lessons Learned from Training Trainers


I conduct a good number of training, from leadership, management, strategic thinking, customer service, assertiveness, personal mastery, creativity, teamwork, HROD, to coaching and mentoring.  I customize programs based on the unique needs of my clients. One of the most challenging and most fulfilling of them for me is training trainers. I’ll tell you why.  When I conduct training for trainers, I recognize the multiplying effect of my efforts. If I do well, I could help trainers help other people become effectively equipped to do their jobs.  It is challenging, especially when you deal with trainers who have developed bad training habits. Many have this notion that if you’re eloquent, funny, and can present well, you are training well. If people are entertained, agreeing with you, inspired by what you said, and gave you a high rating because they appreciate everything that you said, they are learning. I just don’t believe that is true. So here are a few things I learned and tried to do when I facilitate training for trainers.

  1. A good training is a well-designed training. Some subject matter experts line up their topics logically but fail to apply the right methodologies to make the learning process work. This is why I spend a good amount of time, helping trainers appreciate the fundamental concepts of learning and how they apply in the training design process, so they can design courses that lead to better learner engagement and synthesis level learning.
  2. Listen to Bloom – Benjamin Bloom developed the taxonomy of learning and it’s a great gauge of how deep trainers go with their training.  At cognitive domain, the levels are knowledge or awareness, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. A good training in my opinion, reaches synthesis and evaluation. Many seminars I attended go as far as attempt for comprehension. If you are a subject matter expert and your audience understand and appreciate what you said, you can get good evaluation rating, but many of them wouldn’t know how they will apply what they learned if they didn’t have an opportunity to practice applying it with the guidance of a trainer. It’s like explaining how a bicycle works, how beneficial they are to your health, how fun they are to ride, and go through the steps of riding a bicycle without giving them a chance to try riding one.  People will feel excited about the idea of owning a bicycle but will not have the confidence to try and ride it.  At the very least, I think training should go as far as application level. Which means they've tried riding the bicycle, fail, go back to the saddle and ride again.
  3. A seminar is not a training - A speaker in a seminar is a resource person, hence I call my self a trainer or learning facilitator rather than a resource speaker. A seminar is a formal presentation where resource speakers present their topics of expertise while the audience listen and process the knowledge they gain if they can. The resource speaker wouldn't know the difference if the  audience really learned or not. A trainer facilitates learning by helping participants learn a concept and guide them through the development of necessary knowledge, skills, and attitude to do a task. A seminar presenter uses lecture and presentation, while a trainer employs various methodologies not just to entertain or engage their audience, but to use the best learning tools to help learners learn. A resource speaker basically says, here’s what I know, do what you want with it. A trainer walks with the learners through their learning journey and helps them cross each learning milestone.
  4. Presentation and platform skills are helpful but not sufficient.  It sure is helpful, but one skill that trainers need to learn more than that is facilitation of learning.  The range goes from walking the learners through the steps of getting things done, to helping them process their learning through conversations, reflections, abstractions and learning decisions. Some people think that if they have stage  presence, can carry a crowd, have them tap the shoulder of their seatmates, and stimulate their affects, they’re good trainers. They’re good public speakers who can entertain and momentarily inspire a crowd, but if the crowd goes home or back to work not knowing what to do with what they heard or saw during the learning event, they didn’t learn. If they didn’t learn, maybe they weren’t trained.
  5. Training is done not when the event is over but when the learners have learned. In one speaking engagement, a participant approached me and said thank you and that he learned a lot. I said you haven’t learned anything. At best, what I did was make you aware of what you need to do. When you decide to apply the knowledge, you gained from the seminar, make mistakes and improve from there, go back to me and say how much you’ve learned. When I conduct trainers’ training, I walk the participants through the learning activity design process, get them to practice presentation and facilitation. At the end of the training, they would have designed a course, and demonstrated how to present and facilitate. I would have a gauge of how much they have really learned from the program aside from the smiley sheets that fill out in the end.  Some participants would complain that my lessons are quite challenging, and they feel they exerted a lot of effort. I would reply by asking, but how much have you learned? Can you quantify it? They almost always can.  
Learning is an internal process. It is activated by the learner's decision to learn. The job of the trainer is to create the condition to help the learner gain the confidence to pursue learning. That's at the back of my mind every time I facilitate training, and that's what I try to help trainers learn whenever I conduct a training for trainers. 

If you want to know more about how I can help your company trainers develop the necessary learning design and facilitation skills for optimal learning, please contact my company exeQserve through 459-9603 or visit ExeQserve Website. You may also join us on July 25 to 27 for a three-day Training the Trainer Workshop. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this information. Actually, I am also currently looking AMA online education courses offered by AMA University. The program is quite interesting on my part. It is an opportunity especially for those busy individual who aims to have a degree.

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