Have you closed a session recently and said to yourself, “WOW! That was great training!”
I had that experience about six weeks ago, and it really inspired me to start writing a blog. Well, that and the fact that I’d just done an interview for a magazine and felt like I had more to say than the 330 word allotted to the article... Could be that I always have more to say than the allotment!
Moving on! I love to design and deliver training programs, I have some really strong opinions on the state of the art, I find writing to be a wonderful outlet-so here it is... a foray into creating a space to share ideas and have a bit of provocative conversation about current practices...
I have to say that I was reluctant to evaluate the glow I have been feeling about that experience... And yet in my work, folks are always-heck, I am always-asking learners, "Who is a stellar trainer, and what makes her or him so? What is superior training, what are the characteristics of the experience?" So, I guess I need to take a close look at what I was thinking and feeling...
I believe it was a combination of the content, the amount of time afforded the program, and the folks involved. The content was the combination of two courses, one about instructional design and the other a “train the trainer” course; the program was five days long; and, the folks were all from one company, though not all from the same site, and me, a passionate trainer.
These were people who were dedicated to the task, were willing to try new and different strategies and methods, and they all had good attitudes about being there. I was excited to be doing the work because it brought together my two areas of expertise-and I was asked to add some new material to the mix-so that brought an edge to the experience, a sense of anticipation... a question as to whether my new content and activities would “fit the bill.”
I believe it was a fantastic experience because folks knew what to expect when they arrived: we co-created a collaborative environment, participants had open minds-even when asked to dive into “out of the box” learning activities-folks were serious yet fun about getting the work done-really applying what they had learned-and they responded well to a challenging environment. I felt that I had the time to develop relationships with the learners and really support their learning. The training program was comprised of so many of the qualities that I think of as “superior”: well-designed/fitting the needs, knowledge, skills and abilities of the group, given the right timeframe, a partnership in pursuit of learning, a balance between learning and doing, engaging, playful and demanding. And, I played my part, as a knowledgeable, focused, comfortable, passionate, and opinionated (about training design, development and delivery) trainer-using my academic and real world experience about how humans learn and the environments participants need to ensure that learning happens and training “sticks.”
Don’t’cha just live for those experiences?!