I recently met a friend Steve, who works for a manufacturing organization. Steve, a Senior Service Technician, shared with me that he has been assigned the task of training customers on how to use the new inspection equipment.
He helped put together the training material to be used, but has never trained customers previously. He feels apprehensive, not about the material, but about delivering the training and being responsible for a classroom full of people.
The responsibility of training customers is assigned to Steve because he is considered a subject matter expert, who is qualified in performing a task, has good knowledge about the technical process and can give more real-world examples during the training session.
This is the case with most organizations. They think SMEs like Steve who have strong domain knowledge can train learners effectively. But in reality, it is not so. SMEs who don’t have a prior experience in training adult learners cannot deliver up to the mark.
They should know what training is and are the principles to be followed. They should be trained before they train. So, what do you think Steve should know before training his customer?
He should know about:
- Adult learning principles
- Adult learning styles
- Characteristics of an effective trainer
- Facilitation skills
- Methods of delivering information and
- Various aspects of training
Adult learning principles – Training succeeds only when a trainer applies techniques to train adult learners because most of the adults learn while doing the task.
- Adults always look for what’s in it for them, they want to know how will the training help them, what are the reasons for learning something.
- Adults learn more quickly through activity and they want to apply the new acquired skills immediately.
- Adults do not learn in the traditional classrooms.
- Adults come with their own experiences and would prefer to use their knowledge.
- Adult learners should be involved in the learning process.
- Adults need to be shown respect.
The more interactions, variety, and interest you incorporate into your teaching process, the more successful your training will be, and the more will the learners gain.
Adult learning styles – There are many types of adult learning styles, and the most common styles are the visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles.
- Visual – Learners learn better when they see things and pictures.
- Auditory – Learners need to hear to grasp the information.
- Kinesthetic – Learners learn better when they perform hands-on activities and when they touch the things.
Characteristics of an effective trainer – There are some common characteristics of an effective trainer.
- Trainers need to show concern and interest towards the learners.
- Trainers should express commitment to the work and enthusiasm for the training through proper body language.
- Trainers should be flexible and willing to listen and learn from the learners.
- Trainers should always treat learners with respect and be calm.
- Trainers should have fun and enjoy the training session.
Facilitation skills – A Trainer must be able to:
- Lead group discussions
- Conduct activities
- Ask questions
- Listen to the learners and respond to their questions
- Handle difficult situations effectively
Methods of delivering information – Your appearance has an impact on the successful delivery of a training session.
- How you look: This will set the presentation tone
- How you sound: This matters a lot because a good voice is the primary means of communicating the information.
- How you act: Eye contact with the participants helps to open and regulate the flow of communication.
Manage the training
- Involve the learners at every stage of the training
- Establish Behavioral and Attitudinal ground rules at the start of the training
- Ensure that the classroom selected for training has all amenities
- Always use a lesson plan
- Assess the learner’s progress through evaluation
The above concepts can be thought effectively through eLearning. E-learning can be an effective tool to train the trainers who are situated globally. It is very cost effective, enables learners to learn at their own pace, saves time, reduces travel costs, and provides consistent delivery of materials.
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