Prior to class, review the course description, objectives and topics and see if you have the pre-requisites skills. Talk to others who have attended the course and see how they are using the skills.
Meet with your manager before class to discuss how the course information can be applied to your job needs. Find out your manager's expectations. After the class, discuss the training with your manager and determine what support is needed for you to apply the skills.
As an adult, you are in charge of your learning, not the instructor. Take advantage of the class time, practice sessions and instructor's knowledge while you are in class.
Learning is an active process! Ask questions, do the exercises, participate in the discussions, take notes, help other class members, talk to the instructor, etc.
Don't be embarrassed or frustrated when you make mistakes. Mistakes are learning opportunities for you, the instructor and the rest of the class. You learn more when you correct mistakes than if everything goes perfectly.
You know your job best. Take each skill you learn and ask yourself and classmates, How can I use or adapt this skill/technique to my job demands?
Time is money in a training class. If you are late, you are wasting not only your learning time and money, but the time and money of the rest of the class.
Whining doesn't make the software go faster or work better. Whining doesn't change corporate policies or procedures. It just wears down your energy, as well as that of the instructor and other learners. Don't feel compelled to kill the messenger. The instructors do not make the policies, they are there to help you develop new skills to do your job.
You are an adult, in charge of your learning. If you feel that the class is too slow/fast, or topics aren't pertinent, convey this to the instructor during a break. Don't keep this all to yourself or complain to your classmates. Most instructors will try to be flexible and see if they can address your concerns.
Course evaluations are important to the instructor as well as to the managers in the training department. Take the time to give useful, pertinent feedback and offer suggestions, not just criticisms or smile sheets with no meaningful comments.
10 Commandments for Trainers
(Copyright, 1997. All rights reserved. Can not be reprinted without permission)
Posters are available of this list. Order form is at: http://www.susan-boyd.com/poster.html
Prior to class, make sure you know the course material, software, stumbling blocks, and the sequence of the exercises and topics. Review past evaluations of that course, and see how you can enhance the learning. Know what material must be covered, vs. skimmed or skipped due to time constraints and class needs.
Prevent training nightmares by checking that the training room has the right supplies, course materials, software, room set-up, etc. Confirm policies for late arrivals, emergencies, arrangements for breaks/lunches, access to room before/after hours, etc.
Take responsible to report and solve, if possible, problems as they arise. Keep the class informed of your progress. Be responsive to the learners' issues and concerns. Be patient and supportive of learners' needs. Remember how hard it is to learn and how practice and making mistakes increase the learning process.
Encourage all learners to be active and take responsibility for learning. Use partner and team activities for review and concept application. Encourage learners to learn topics and answer questions by using resources such as reference cards, on-line help, training manual and software manual in class as part of the exercises.
Covering all the topics in the training manual is not as critical as making sure the learners can use the most important commands and functions. Do not sacrifice practice exercises for more content. We learn best by doing, not by listening and we learn more through repetition and concept integration, than through isolated topics.
Take each skill you teach and ask managers and your learners How can you use or adapt this skill/technique to the job demands? Software functions taught outside of a job context are meaningless to most learners.
Time is money in a training class. If you start the class late, you are wasting the learners' time and setting a precedent for others that schedules are not important. Stick to any time schedule you announce. Take short mini-breaks to increase retention.
Learning should be fun for you and the learners. Look for ways to energize your teaching style by adopting new analogies, ice-breakers, explanations, team activities. Treat each class as the opening night of a Broadway show. Personalize the class by getting to know the learners, their job needs and challenges.
Ask learners at the start of class to set a learning goal and ask periodically throughout class if this was met. Mingle with the learners during breaks to get informal feedback on the pace and comfort level with the material. Ask for the top 3 skills learned and top 3 areas they need more practice with.
Don't let the training process end after class. Follow-up through email, surveys, and phone calls to see the effectiveness of the training and how to enhance it. Track help desk calls and keep in touch with your learners. Use their ideas, talents and accomplishments in future classes. Be a continual learner and experimenter.
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