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Train the Trainer Article

Training Managers to Train
Al Borowski, MEd, CSP, PP

Manager, supervisors and staff people earn their jobs and titles by the knowledge, wisdom, and experience they bring to the job. Many times, they are called on to share that information by training the people that work for them or with them.

While they are subject matter experts in their field, most do not have a background in training or education. And often, the training role they assume becomes a frustrating, stressful, or even ineffective task.

To be effective, education and training must be clearly thought out in terms of the objectives of the training, the skill levels of the learners and the measurements by which the results of the training will be measured.

To be effective, training must focus on the preferred learning styles and communicating styles of those being trained. Because learning styles and communicating styles vary from learner to learner, trainers must plan and incorporate various training modalities to ensure all the learners’ needs are met.

Establishing rapport in the work environment differs greatly from the rapport needed in the learning environment.

Both the instructors and the learners come to the training program with different expectations and different agendas. What the trainer expects the learners to get out of the class can become markedly determined by the effectiveness of the trainer.

Teaching adults and teaching children requires different attitudes and approaches on the part of the trainer. Children come to learning settings with little experience, and a higher degree of excitement for learning. Adults bring a lot of experience and personal and work baggage that can interfere with their excitement for learning something new.

Because of their experiences in the workplace and in life, adult learners like to be involved in the learning process. They do not like to be talked to continuously or watch films that may or may not have relevance at the time.

Trainers must learn to blend lecture, individual activities, group activities, and multi-media presentations.

If appropriate, they need to learn how to create audio and visual aids that will promote the learning process.

Although the supervisors and managers know the information, they still need to spend at least four hours of preparation time for each hour they will be training.

To measure the effectiveness of the training, supervisors, and managers must learn how to ask questions correctly. Trainers can ask six different types of questions based on the purpose of asking a question in a learning context. Knowing what those six types of questions and becoming skillful in using them requires practice and a willingness to learn what they are.

Besides asking the participants correct and meaningful questions, trainers need to develop highly effective listening skills to be able to understand the questions participants ask and to very quickly determine why the participants ask questions.

Probably the most important thing a supervisor, manager, or staff person can do is to build and maintain trust between them and the learners. Employees may trust that the instructors know their jobs but sometimes lose trust in the instructor’s ability to communicate their messages in a classroom environment. Sometimes the instructor’s attitude towards the learners can show impatience or disappointment in the learners.

“Hey, I told them what to do and how to do it.”

Adult education is all about selling, not telling. Children accept learning concepts on blind faith in the adult teachers. Adult learners want to know why and how the new information will help them. This requires a completely different mind set in the attitudes of those doing the teaching.

If the training involves a classroom setting, managers and supervisors need to learn how to effectively use the audiovisual tools available to them. Using flipcharts, overhead projectors, LCD projectors, white boards, and the like require an understanding of if, when, why, and how to use each devise. Instructors must also understand room set-up, sight lines, and acoustics contribute to the success of the learning.

Whether this is a one-time program or an ongoing training program for new employees, trainers need to learn how to create leader guides. Leader guides document the content, flow, and materials used to achieve the learning objectives. Leader guides help keep the instructor on track and also serve as a learning tool for other trainers who might be called on to teach that class.

For more information on training trainers, click here.

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Al Borowski, MEd, CSP, PP
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Professor of Positivity

Connect all the Dots
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