Is Your Training Relevant and Enjoyable?

From my previous installment, I hope you remember training and coaching are similar, yet in each different communication tools are applied for specific reasons. For the act of training, there are four components that need to be taken into consideration for effective learning to take place.

Four Components of Training

  1. When do you train?
  2. What is being trained?
  3. Who is delivering the training?
  4. Where do you train?

In the last blog we talked about when to train, so let’s tackle the other three, now.

What Is Being Trained?

There should be no more training for the sake of training just to tick a box! “First, organizations don’t take the time to analyze what their training needs are. This is simple. The first step in doing training is to do a training-needs analysis, figuring out who needs training and what kind,” according to Eduardo Salas, a Professor of Organizational Psychology at the University of Central Florida.

There will always be new information that you must consider, like whether or not it is relevant to be trained and communicated to your staff. Additionally, take a look at what training exists within your organization and ask yourself if it relevant to your current goals and if it in support of your business needs, culture, and brand.

Who Is Delivering the Training?

Once you have decided what training needs to be conducted, you will have to decide how it will be delivered. If necessary, reference the 60/20/20 principle from last time. If the determination is that it should be classroom training, there are several considerations to make.

We have all experienced tedious training sessions where we spend more time watching the clock and daydreaming than listening to the facilitator. Most companies have few formal training resources, and therefore rely on department heads, managers, and members of HR to deliver their trainings. Having a leadership position does not necessarily make for an effective facilitator to impart knowledge upon a determined audience.

Remember, the trainer is representing your entire organization. This may actually be a growth opportunity for a junior member of your team or a subject matter expert who has great enthusiasm to be groomed as a facilitator. According to John Henrik Clarke, “A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold his audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson.”

Ideal Trainer Attributes

  • Excellent communication and listening skills.
  • Ability to relate to specific business needs as well as the selected audience; building trust with all involved.
  • Open to receiving constructive criticism about the training style while remaining objective and not taking remarks, situations, or problems personally.
  • Ability to encourage participants to be independent thinkers by not giving the solutions to problems and not specifically guiding the way forward.
  • Willingness to learn from participants and allowing them to offer their own insights, perspectives, and ideas.
  • Can show genuine concern for the participants and establish an effective relationship with them without being judgmental about their views and contributions.
  • Confidence and patience – lots of it!

Where Do You Train?

Have you ever sat in an uncomfortable banquet chair for a training session or been stuck at a table where you have had to fight with a table leg for space? This part of the training process is often given the least consideration but is crucial to the success of an effective training session. An environment that is not conducive to training can distract or inhibit the learning process.

Location, Location, Location

  • Good lighting is important to stimulate your audience. Natural light is a bonus, but not necessary.
  • Adequate ventilation and appropriate room temperature are vital; it can’t be too hot or too cold!
  • What about seating? If there are team activities, then round or rectangular tables work best. If it’s a group where most participants don’t know each other or heavy dialogue is expected, then a U-shape is optimal so that individuals may see each other.

I realize these are just highlights and we could spend days going into more depth, but then this blog would turn into a book. Hopefully you have some ideas to get your creative juices flowing as you consider how to develop effective learning experiences.

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