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FUEL Your Trainers Success

March 20, 2017 Matthew Cole

Tools that allow trainers to engage adult learners.

It does not matter how good your story is nor how creative you are at making analogies. If your learners are not “buying in” then they are not learning at the level you need. You will waste precious time and energy when you could be spending that time internalizing the core concepts and demonstrating successful learning transfers.

Facilitate, don’t lecture

As a trainer, it takes less energy to allow the class to make your point for you. Have the confidence to let the class take over and drive while you navigate. By allowing this to occur, you will find that it takes less work to achieve your goal. The class will often prove your point better than you could. Once you master this process, you will find that you can take over at any time to further the line of thinking, or help them get back on track.

Some key best practices that may help you get started include:

  • Set expectations in the beginning
  • Use a “Parking Lot” for topics that need to be tabled for now
  • Reward thought processes and concepts that keep people on track
  • Give the class the power to “right themselves”

Understand the audience

Your audience will determine the foundation needed before introducing key concepts. Each class has its own dynamic attributes that determine where there is a learning curve. As a trainer, you must find where you need work in order to start the building process. After you have found the starting point you will need to find out what kind of individuals make up the class. Do they all have the same learning styles? Do they have various types of personalities that need to be engaged in a particular way?

Some key best practices that may help you get started include:

  • Do a pre-assessment (not a test)
  • Perform a “Getting to Know You” activity
  • Perform a “Learning Style” and “Personality Style” test

Engage the learners

Adult learners want to participate in the learning process. Giving them the opportunity to shine and show you why they were hired will allow you to fine-tune skill sets and let everyone benefit from the experience in the room. Ever wonder why people say, “We have over 100 years experience in …”? Who really knows how much experience you have in any given class? Take the time to tap into that practical knowledge. This can save you time, but also lay the groundwork for taking on tougher concepts or ideology.

Some key best practices that may help you get started include:

  • Using the “Socratic Method” (aka: Maieutics, Method of Elenchus, Elenctic Method or Socratic Debate) to spur conversation
  • Divide the class into groups and then ask them to teach the thought processes or concepts back to the class based on their experience and/or with additional materials.
  • Share a concept and ask for the class to interpret, share their thought process, or ask them to share the “how” to make it happen

Leverage technology

Technology is not the answer as many will tell you. Everyone wants to jump on this train or that one with the latest applications. Technology plays a role but it cannot be the whole training program. Learners will find loopholes in the application and skip through needed fundamentals. You avoid this by coupling the use of technology with your trainer facilitating the class. This will bring the best of both worlds to the class and minimize the downsides. Use technology to allow the participants to participate in the learning process.

Some key best practices that may help you get started include:

  • Polls, reviews, and electronic games that demonstrate what individuals are learning
  • Applications that allow anonymous interaction with fellow teammates without having to feel like they may be asking a dumb question. Anonymity builds confidence.
  • Screen sharing with interactive tools

Success

Prepare your trainers for success. Give them the tools to deliver engaging training sessions, observe their progress, and provide insight on how to improve. This is an ongoing process and should be consistently and constantly evaluated and adjusted. Make your Trainers part of the adjustment process. Your Trainers want to be engaged, valued for their insight and they want to participate in the process.