What sort of training do you deliver/like?

Training comes in many different guises and everyone has their favourite and least favourite way of learning new ‘stuff’.

One thing to always remember when looking at delivering or receiving training – is what works best for the trainee – and that person could be you (although it is great to be able to train in the way you do best to those that learn that way best too). Although there are two distinct types of learning (not getting confused with methods such as self-study, online or group/individual) these two types do not have to be in isolation – one session can include both types as one will be reinforcing the other.

For example, if you are delivering a session on a skill there will be knowledge (theory) that will improve the way the skill is carried out as it will help with understanding and appreciation. On the other hand a pure theory lesson could be enhanced with ‘doing’ aspects such as labelling diagrams, quizzes and possibly research. This will both reinforce the lesson as well as help trainees to retain that knowledge to be able to apply it outside the training session – if the ‘doing’ could be directly related to the tasks outside the session, the learning will be further enhanced and implementation will be quicker. We have all experienced that feeling when the trainees leave the room that the knowledge is left in the room and unless monitored and tracked it is not implemented. It always reminds me of the fact that you have to do something for at least 30 days for it to become a habit (such as running/exercising or dieting – our old habits are just on the cusp waiting to return!).

I want to talk about delivering skills training; as an IT trainer that is what I have mostly been involved with and even in my other teaching of ‘how to teach’ where it is the practical application that is tested – it seems appropriate for me to talk about this area. There are different ways to deliver this type of lesson but it will most definitely include the ‘doing’ of the skill. Whether it is a refresher session or a brand new topic the only way to test success is to practice and do.

The three learning styles – auditory, visual and kinaesthetic – all need to be stimulated and served during the session. In a practical lesson this is easily covered by explaining the task (auditory), demonstrating the task (visual) and getting the trainees to copy and/or practice the task (kinaesthetic). But do remember it is much better to do these in isolation as that will provide a focus and reduce distractions. If you were to demonstrate and talk at the same time the message from either will be diluted.

One type of delivery is to Explain the uses and any special names/terms to be used and then show a Demonstration of the skill in normal time. This will give the trainee something to aspire to and show how an expert carries out the skill. A slow time talk through/walk though is however essential and should not be replaced by a quick one. This will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate with initial instructions (again the auditory and visual learners are included). This would then be further reinforced with an additional step where they hear the instructions, see the action and then encouraged to replicate/copy (Imitate) the action (kinaesthetic learners now fully included). This would further be developed to promote the deep-seated learning by having a Practice session (EDIP). Another tip would be to ensure that the Practice element is at least 50% of the lesson to get that muscle memory engaged. (For those of you that are military trained – you will recognise this I’m sure!)

We’ll have a chat about theory lessons next time – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the type of training you love/detest.

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