Considering how much training I've done over the years (some by choice, some not), I know a few things about teaching and training:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.