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Understanding is only the first step

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In September and October I've had the pleasure of running Train the Trainer workshops again. The bonus with these is that a third day was added (a few weeks after the the initial 2 days) so delegates could design and deliver their own short training session. I learned loads...incuding how using bowls of crisps can bring statistical principles to life!

crisps in training

I'm pleased to report that everyone found the sessions worthwhile and got something out of them.

The most glaring learning point (even for me as an experienced trainer) was how much learning takes place when people actively get involved in exercises.

I summarised it by comparing this to the TV work of the wonderful Professor Brian Cox. I understand what he explains on his TV science shows. I really do. That is I can follow it and it all makes sense at the time. BUT:

  • Could I explain it to someone else so that they would understand?
  • Can I use this understanding in a real life situation?
  • Would I remember it in a month's time?

The answer to all of these questions is "no"... yet I 'understand' it at the time.

Of course, this also relates to having behavioural objectives attached to training. The company I was working with has a lot of professional services within in. They use 'understand' as a learning objective a lot. They are often pushed for time in training sessions and have a lot of content to get through. As a result, their 'training' sessions are typically briefing sessions with the opportunity to ask questions. It was pleasing to see them realise that this isn't enough. It doesn't mean people have learned, so a different, more active approach is needed to really switch on those lightbulbs and achieve REAL understanding.

Activities aren't fluffly, childish or a 'nice to have' - they are fundamental to the learning process. That's why every single Power Hour Training session includes at least 2 of them to help bring the learning to life.

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