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In the Learner's Shoes: Lessons for Trainers

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Earlier this year, I shared advice to help learners get the most out of training. In this blog, I thought it might be useful to spell out what this means for Trainers!

  1. It's an old cliche, but please remember that the more you put in, the more you will get out. We learn far more when we are actively involved rather than passive observers. We defintely don't want silence in the 'classroom'! > Lesson for Trainers: Build in lots of opportunity for interaction. Giving a presentation is NOT the same as training.
  2. Training is for you, not the trainer. Yes, we have a framework but we will be driven by YOUR needs as much as possible...as long as you tell us what they are! > Lesson for Trainers: Tell people what you plan to cover and ASK delegates for their personal objectives. Tailor the content of the workshop to suit.
  3. Training is NOT assessment. You are here to learn, and try out new things. Some will work, some won't. That's fine, and isn't it better to do these experiments when there are no negative consequences? > Lesson for Trainers: Provide a safe environment. Make sure feedback is welcome and open. NEVER 'report back' on delegates without getting their permission AND telling them what you will share.
  4. To grow and develop you must be prepared to come out of your comfort zone and try something new. However, we will never force you to come out of your comfort zone so far that it's scary. Feeling a little nervous can be a good thing, feeling terrified is not, and we would never put you in that position. > Lesson for Trainers: Never 'force' anyone to do anything. Build in different ways that people can join in and find something that they feel willing to try.
  5. The event is only PART of the story. If you come along and get involved that's great, but unless you DO something as a result back at work we could have all been doing something more useful with our time. > Lesson for Trainers: Make sure you leave ample time for review and action planing. help people to shape their ideas to ensure they are realistic.
  6. It's OK to reject some aspects of the training. We are all different. we have different abilities, gaps, personalities and challenges. Choose the bits of the training that are meaningful to you, and forget the rest. You can choose what you do with it. > Lesson for Trainers: Where possible, present different ideas, models and view points. In many subjects, there is more than one 'good' way to do something.
  7. I am a facilitator, not an oracle. I stand at the front of the room to draw out all the amazing knowledge and experience that ALL of us have. I may not have the answer, but someone in the room probably does. We learn more when we share. > Lesson for Trainers: Encourage discussion, and don't be afraid to say 'I don't know'. If you don't know and can't find an answer in the room, find one after the event and share it with participants.
  8. Start with the end in mind. Decide what it is that you want to get out of the event - this will start the process of tuning in to the parts of the workshop that are more relevant to you. > Lesson for Trainers: Point out when you are covering topics that people have expressed an interest in, or that you know are particularly relevant to them.
  9. Relax, enjoy, challenge and have fun. Not only will you have a better time, but you will learn more too! > Lesson for Trainers: Use the environment to create a relaxed atmosphere. 'Fiddle toys', music, posters and drinks on the table can help.
  10. Reflect, talk it over and take action. Be realistic about the changes you will make and what help you will need to make them. I would rather people make a genuine commitment to do ONE thing differently, than write down 10 action points which amount to nothing more than a wish list. Talking to your manager or a colleague about what you will do also makes you more likely to do it! > Lesson for Trainers: Stress the need for them to get support in the workplace and to have a discussion with their manager within 48 hours of the workshop.

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