Win A Short Course Consultation

Posted by Adam Chester on 24/06/2014 at 12:51

Following on from the publication of our guide to using short courses effectively, we are offering three organisations the chance to win a half-day consultation on implementing short courses.

To enter the competition you'll need to tell us how you think short courses can help your organisation.

Click here to enter!

Winners will be selected on 8th July 2014 and notified by email

Good Luck!

The A-Z of Training: H is for Help

Posted by Adam Chester on 18/06/2014 at 09:29

How can we help our learners best? In an ideal world we would be availble to answer queries in a style tailored to each learner around the clock, but this isn't feasible even when there is a single trainee.

I think that the best thing that we can do is provide access to the information and resources we would provide if we were available. Perhaps there are people in our organisation that we trust to answer questions on specific topics? Maybe we have a library of short courses that can be looked up as required?

For these techniques to work the Learning and Development manager needs to have faith that the information provided is fit for purpose. This can easily be achieved by writing the material personally or curating material from other sources.

Additionally the learner needs to feel that the information provided by the resources are authoritative and in line with organisational policy. Where this does not happen a learner may not treat the information as credible. To avoid this scenario developing a visible process for learning is essential.

How does your organisation help its learners?

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!