Training is only as effective as the knowledge being transferred.
Here are ways to improve your companies training:
Ensure training continuity by expecting each delegate attending the training to instruct the people who report to them. Effective training is one that ensures training retention. Delegates react more favorably to trainers who have experience in their industry and who have experience and addresses the issues and situations highlighted in the training. The more closely the instructor can link the training to participants’ real life experience, the better for training transfer and the application of the knowledge in the workplace.
- Training – part of a consistent message from the organisation
Too many organisations approach training as a potpourri or menu of available classes and sessions. When there is no interconnection between training sessions, organisations lose a great opportunity to reinforce basic shared skills, approaches, and values. Training must reference earlier sessions and previous courses to draw parallels and reinforce content.
- Try to incorporate the delegate’s manager, and the manager’s manager, to attend the training session with the delegate
When three management levels attend training together, participants may be more willing to try out the ideas learned in the training. This is especially effective if delegates see their manager trying out new skills as well. This also reinforces the training following the session.
- Provide “chunks” of training
People are able to learn more when information is provided in manageable sized chunks, based on a few well-defined objectives. This allows the delegates to practice the concepts in-between the training sessions. Both the content and the application of the concepts are reinforced at each subsequent session. This also allows people to discuss their successes and difficulties in applying the training in their actual work session. The instructor can help participants practice the training content by giving assignments that are debriefed at the next meeting.
- Train people in skills that are immediately applicable on the job
Strategic skills such as listening, providing performance feedback, and team building, set up situations in which practice is immediate and frequent, to help delegates retain the training. In application-oriented training such as software training, don’t bother with the training unless participants have the software. Training is often more effective if they experiment with the program first, before attending the session.
How the instructor opens the training session begins the process of managing delegate expectations. (“You will be able to do the following as a result of attending this session…”). People act themselves into a new way of thinking rather than think themselves into a new way of acting. Delegates need to know what expectations they can have of the session so ensure the objectives are realistic. The opening should stress “what’s in it for the trainee,” the value of session, and the value of the information during the entire session.