Posts Tagged: Training-A-Z

The A-Z of Training: G is for Goals

Posted by Adam Chester on 11/06/2014 at 09:07

Since the World Cup kicks off this week, we’ll use this article to talk about goals. When we set out the learning objectives for a course we are establishing a set of goals that we would want out learners to achieve during the course.

Learning objectives are a great place to start when designing training materials as it gives an outline for the content of the session. They can also be used to describe the content of your course and help you to “sell” the training to potential stakeholders.

While you have defined the objectives for an individual session, your learners may be attending for a variety of reasons and have orthogonal goals. A trainee may be attending for wider personal development and looking to fill in gaps in their knowledge while another attendee may only be interested in a specific part of the session.

In last week’s article F is for Failure I discussed potential implications for missed learning objectives. The more closely you can align your goals with the goals of your audience the fewer learning objectives will be missed.

The A-Z of Training: F is for Failure

Posted by Adam Chester on 04/06/2014 at 11:49

If we learn most from our mistakes, how can we support learners who fail?

In many contexts it is taken for granted that our learners will undertake a training activity and go on to apply the knowledge they gained. At a basic level this is as simple as attending a single session and then applying those skills in the workplace but in some situations this may involve multiple sessions with an end of course assessement.

What happens to learners who fail to apply their knowledge correctly? There can be serious business implications for failure: lost revenue, poor customer service and non-compliance. While these implications may be attributed to the learner how can we help them to learn for their mistakes? In my experience dialogue is important to help understand why an issue occured. Discussion enables the learner to provide an insight into their thought processes and helps to identify where the training might be improved. The act of discussing the task as hand also helps to reinforce the correct message to the learner and an oppertunity to ask further questions.

Do you include a strategy for mananging failure in your training? How do you help your trainees toward the learning outcomes? Let us know in the comments below.

The A-Z of Training: E is for Engagement

Posted by Adam Chester on 28/05/2014 at 11:35

The ability a trainer has to invigorate and lift a session depends on two primary factors:

  • Their personality
  • The personality of the group

We (the trainers!) are responsible for the first point. In general trainers are personable people. We enjoy social interaction and want to encourage all trainees to actively participate in every session.

The recruitment managers are responsible for the second point. Hopefully the new team members that enter your training room are buzzing with excitement and are looking forward to working with you.

There are a number of techniques which are well suited to helping your trainees engage with the session. I'll include a few of my favourites here.

  1. Make your trainees at ease. Trainees (particularly those who have never been in one of your sessions) can feel nervous if surrounded by unfamiliar co-workers. I always include a short introduction about myself, and if the audience permits some self-depricating humour goes down well.
  2. Let your trainees know how you want them to interact. As a university lecturer I encourage participation by asking general questions about the material in early lectures. This sets the expectation that I might ask questions and that it is OK to get answers wrong. Doing this helps me to evaluate how much material has been understood, and helps me to better pace my lectures.
  3. Use a variety of media. Different trainees will respond to material in different ways depending on how it is presented. Reiterating a point using alternative media may mean the difference between a trainee understanding the material or leaving them bewildered.

If you have any tips you would like to share on engaging an audience, then please contact us!

The A-Z of Training: D is for Development

Posted by Adam Chester on 21/05/2014 at 09:39

The majority of readers of this blog would agree that development is essential, but I think that it has something of an image problem.

In some professions there is an expectation that its members will continue to develop they skills and knowledge throughout their careers. For others external changes e.g. new regulations or changes in the law dictate that they must keep up to date in order to continue practicing.

The Developmentally Disaffected

Outside of this however, there are a relatively large number of people who do not engage in their own active development. They do not see any reasons for improving their skills and are not motivated by the prospect of enhancing their knowledge. How can we help the disaffected employees re-engage with their own development? I see a couple of main reasons for this:

  • A perceived lack of opportunity after developing;
  • A lack of appealing development opportunities.

In the first instance I think that we can facilitate development by offering additional reasoning beyond the development itself. Suggesting how the training could be useful and offering some scope to put the development into practice afterwards gives the learner a purpose for their development.

It can be difficult to know what to offer in the way of development opportunities, especially where there are financial constraints. If you have employees who are looking for development that cannot be delivered within the organisation (and no budget for external training), you could consider allowing them some self-study time to explore the area using available resources. Before doing this though it is a good idea to set some expectations on time spent and what the outcomes of such development might be.

Every individual will have different ambitions, strengths and weaknesses so creating a comprehensive development programme is a difficult task. I have found previously that canvassing employee suggestions and ideas can help as it allows you to gather together all of their requirements and align them with business objectives.

If you have successfully re-engaged your team members with their development, then leave your hints and tips in the comments below.

The A-Z of Training: C is for Compliance Training

Posted by Adam Chester on 14/05/2014 at 09:00

For many organisations compliance training forms the minimum training requirements for any role.

Generally this type of training ensures that employees operate within the laws and regulations that are applicable to their role. Failing to deliver compliance training potentially creates a legal liability for your company.

Some legislation (for example the Disability Discrimination Act) ensures that all current and future employees are treated fairly and are not discriminated against on the basis of disability. In any organisation reducing discrimination leads to a happier and more productive team.

Finally delivering and recording this training accurately can help in proving that a company is not at fault where an individual fails to comply with legal or regulatory processes, despite receiving appropriate training.

How does your company manage compliance training? Do you think you could be doing it better?