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Guidelines for Effective Training


Participants place more value on courses when they learn something they can apply immediately.  When they go back to their jobs with a new understanding or skill that they use right away and can attribute to the training, they will recommend the training to their coworkers.  They are also more likely to view future training opportunities with a positive attitude.

Courses that encourage participation and allow participants opportunities to “practice” their new skill or understanding are viewed most favorably.  Adults learn by “attachment”, which means; they associate new things with things they already know or have experienced.  Having the opportunity to apply a new skill or understanding cements the attachment process for adults.  Making sure the material covered follows a logical flow is also a part of attachment.  The logical flow allows participants to “see” the big picture and associate the new knowledge with knowledge they already have.  If the material is presented in such a way that participants see it, hear it, get their hands on it, and can analyze it then they have a significantly higher retention rate than when they only see it or hear it.  This style of instructing also crosses the barriers that differing learning styles may impose on group learning situations.  When adults are in the room it is important to realize that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience among the participants.  The best instructors will facilitate bringing that knowledge out and sharing it with the group at large.

The great dilemma of training n business and industry settings is that to train employees must be pulled off the job.  Companies want the maximum training to occur in the shortest possible time.  Effective training focuses on the topics that will produce the greatest results. To do this the training provider must do some “homework” before training is developed and delivered.  What performance does the company hope to improve, change or institute?  What knowledge do the participants already have?  What type of “practice” would most nearly simulate participants’ job experiences?  How much time will be allotted?  How many people must be trained?  All of these considerations go into prioritizing material and selecting those things that will produce the desired results.

Theoretically, instructors do not have to be subject matter experts to teach a particular topic.  The idea being that expert instructors can teach anything while subject matter experts cannot necessarily teach.  However, when participants compare training with instructors who have field experience to those whose experience is limited to research, those with hands-on experience win hands down.  The ability to interject “war stories” enhances the learning process and gives clarity to explanations of new material.  Practical examples are another way to help adults form associations with which they can attach new knowledge, and it becomes essential when training times have been cut down to a minimum.

Adults must be able to question what they are learning.  The question and answer process allows material to be presented in more than one way making it clear and more understandable.  It also offers another form of practice to the participants.  This is an opportunity many instructors take to allow participants to express their knowledge and on the job experiences that enhance applicability.

For adults it is important to state the objectives of the training at the beginning.  Adults want to know why they are there, what they will learn and what they can expect to gain.  They are then prepared to find those nuggets in the training as it is presented.  A review of the objectives as they are accomplished allows anyone who may have been “left behind” to ask questions and catch up.

The profile of effective training is:

The participants will:

  • Learn something they can use on the job

  • Feel like it is worth while to attend

  • Recommend the course to others

  • Feel that their needs have been met

The course will be:

  • Interactive/Participative

  • Will have a logical flow to the learning process

  • Clear and easy to follow

  • Course material will aid learning

  • Appropriate time will be allotted for each subject covered

The Instructor will be:

  • Knowledgeable

  • Effective in his/her presentation skills

  • Use practical examples

  • Answer participant questions

  • Accomplish the course objectives


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