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Monday, November 16, 2009

Reflections on training

Sigh, I will never agree to do anything on Monday again -- it's just too difficult. Anyhow, I will post the ppt to the cataloging tools presentation shortly.

Considering how much training I've done over the years (some by choice, some not), I know a few things about teaching and training:
  1. You can't train the untrainable -- We all meet people who are disengaged and stuck (in a class, in a job, in a.... ) Sometimes as a teacher/mentor/friend/colleague, you can help get them unstuck (it takes a giant spatula, though!) Other times, no hope. A trainee/student has got to meet you part way (see #2).
  2. Prize -- What is the reward for learning, the motivating factor? Pride in doing a better job? Ability to be more autonomous? Greater self confidence? More responsibility? A good grade? A certificate? A promotion? Intellectual curiosity? Something to list on the resume and thus a better job? Donuts? If there is no reward for learning, you will have a much harder time teaching.
  3. Learning styles -- both yours and those that you are teaching. Laugh if you want (and I have a colleague who laughs at this notion, btw), but if you have a predominantly visual learner (I'm visual and kinetic) and you talk to them all of the time, guess what? They are literally NOT hearing you. If you are teaching a group, try to have some text and visuals, do talk or use multimedia, and finally, give them an exercise or 2 to do if possible. Quick tip to identity the 3 basic learning types:
    • Visual learners will often say -- show me or I need to see that. They want handouts, procedures, and visuals. They will often communicate in visuals -- notes, emails, drawings.
    • Auditory learners will often say -- let's talk about this. They want to talk through the problem.
    • Kinetic learners will often say -- I need to do this. Show me how and then let me do this. They want to work through the problem. For many, this is a physical working out. Try one piece of the puzzle, doesn't fit, try the next. Apprenticeships and shadowing are often helpful.
    • Most of us are not just one learning type, but a mix. However, the predominant learning type is one key to successful training.
  4. Teaching/training is hard. Regardless of field, anyone who is a manager/supervisor IS a trainer/teacher and should have some basic understandings of the foundations of teaching. As a whole, unfortunately, our society seems to think that anyone can teach with little to no training (except for perhaps, those who are actually going into a dedicated teaching profession). Teach WELL? There's a different story entirely.
  5. Teaching/training is a 2 way street. Not only do they need to MEET you part of the way (see #1), but you must meet them part of the way, too. Good teachers listen to (and solicit) feedback from their students.
Anyhow, a few quick thoughts as I get ready to talk about training.

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