Over the course of the next few months, I am going to share some tips on how to spruce up an old training. Once you decided that your training is outdated, consider step 2.
2. Create cognitive of processes.
Following a well documented path minimizes the opportunity for mistakes. As a an expert or a trainer, you know exactly what to do and say and when to do it. Your trainees don't yet. They are still unsure of what prompts or cues they should pay attention to in order to make the correct decisions.
Explicitly demonstrate your thought process so that your trainees will know how to think. Tell them why and when you are making decisions. Do this multiple times so that it establishes a pattern. Soon your trainees will internalize this cognitive process and perform expertly. For example you can say:
a. What I am doing is...
b. The reason I am doing this is...
c. I know I should look at this resource because...
Click here to read step 1.
We can help you communicate your cognitive processes to your trainees for improved processes.
Over the course of the next few months, I am going to share some tips on how to spruce up an old training. Once you decided that your training is outdated, consider step 1.
1. Tell Stories.
Real personal stories are the best stories. Stories are a way to connect to your audience. You want your trainees to become invested in what they learn by connecting the characters in the story to themselves or someone they know. That empathy helps to make people commit to the reason why the task or the skill is important. Once a trainees is committed to the why, the trainee is more open to the how.
There are a ton of online resources that help writers tell clear stories that will engage an audience. Google is your friend here. If storytelling is not your strength, contact us. We will help your trainees connect with their trainer.
People complain. It's what we do. However, some complaints are valid. When trainees repeatedly complain about one aspect of training, it is time to listen.
Problem: Length of training - If your trainees are complaining about how long your training is, it is time to re-evaluate if all of the information is being explained is presented concisely. Wordy explanations make long reading assignments and long-winded trainers. Your trainees will take the information they need and tune out the rest. Or wordy explanations will confuse your trainees, and the trainer will spend more time re-explaining a concept.
Solution: Job Analysis - Evaluate what tasks trainees needs to be able to do when they are on the work floor? If they need to drive a forklift, what steps do they need to complete and what information do they need to know to drive a forklift? If they need to take customer calls, what steps do they need to complete and what information do they need to know to take customer calls? Only include that specific information that is applicable to the job.
Solution: K.I.S.S - Keep it Simple, Silly. You are smart and so are your trainees. However, training is not the time to show off your expansive vocabulary or vast understanding of the history of the industry. Tell the trainees what they need to know in simple terms.
Solution: Explain acronyms - If your industry or companies uses a lot of acronyms. Save time repeating and re-explaining acronyms to your audience.
We can help you adjust your training length.
Image: Andreea Laura Parlafes, The Noun Project
The more I work with new SMEs, the more I learn about myself. I take my time processing new information. I find that some SMEs want to share new information with me and want 10 new ideas from me immediately. My brain doesn't process that way. I hear you, and I understand you; but, I am processing. After I process all of this new information, I can provide great ideas.
I think we forget about the variability that exists among learners. We want to provide learners with new information in 10 minutes and have them produce innovative products or engage in mind blowing conversations 2 minutes later. Remember this?
Trainer: What are the implications of this law on recent imigrants?
Eager Trainee: (shoots hand up immediately)
Rest of class: (sits quietly)
The rest of the class may not be stumped but actually thinking. They may be deciding if what they will say will add value to the conversation. Or they may be wondering if they have the right answers? Or they may be thinking about whether or not the ideas they have come up with in their heads will be communicated effectively to the rest of the class.
The idea of wait time is excellent in face-to-face classes, and the implementation of think-pair-shares work great trainings, also. Wait time is exactly what it sounds like. Give learners several minutes to think about what they will say before they answer the question. I suggest instructing learners to write their answers down instead of thinking about them. It gives learners something to do, and you have a better idea of who is processing as opposed to who is day dreaming or waiting out the clock. Think-pair-shares does the same thing as wait time except it requires learners to talk with a neighbor about the idea before sharing out with the class.
Online these two concepts aren't very difficult to implement. Wait time is built into asynchronous conversation as long as responses to questions are required several days after it is posted. Be sure to remind learners to take the time to think before posting responses. Think-pair-share can be created by partnering up learners in chat rooms, discussion pods, or even encouraging to exchange contact information. This way learners can discuss ideas with someone before posting their responses to a whole class discussion board. It lessens the anxiety of being critiqued on an idea by an entire class that you never had an opportunity talk with someone about.
Try implementing Wait Time or Think Pair Share in your next training or online course. Come back and tell us about your experience.
We can help you implement these activities in your training.