FAQs - Training and Teaching

  1. How do I get management support for training?
  2. How do I improve the effectiveness of distance learning?
  3. What do I do with a dull, depressing training room?
  4. How do I handle disruptive participants?
  5. How do I improve training evaluations?

 

1. How do I get management support for training?

The best way is to start seeing managers as partners in the training process. Training is a process, not an event. And managers, participants and trainers alike have a great deal of impact on whether any kind of training is implemented. If managers see that what is being offered to their employees is equipping them to perform faster, better, easier -- they'll support training and other solutions that you recommend. Make sure you involve managers in both the needs assessment and evaluation processes and consider creating an advisory board of managers that can lend expertise and credibility to your efforts.

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2. How do I improve the effectiveness of distance learning?

Even today, much of the e-learning and webinars that are being produced are largely ineffective. Why? Because poorly created content that bored in the classroom will be even more boring online, whether synchronous or asynchronous. Material has to be in shorter chunks. The size of the group for breakouts needs to drop from the 5-7 we recommend in the classroom to just 3. It will take you 25 percent longer to deliver the same content unless your participants are really knowledgeable about using the tools available on your delivery platform. The closer you can match what's required in participant-centered classroom delivery, the more effective your online efforts will be.

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3. What do I do with a dull, depressing training room?

When I hear this, I think of a training room with no windows that is painted an extremely depressing color and is long and narrow. You may not be able to change these things for the class you're doing today, but you can make some changes for the long run. Paint the room, improve the lighting, get more comfortable chairs, etc. But what about today's class? First, create colorful flip charts that you can place strategically on each of the walls. Second, get some fun manipulatives that you can put on the tables: Koosh balls, stress balls, and colorful post-it pads can liven up the room. Play music designed for learning, but make sure that you don't violate copyright. We've designed 30 minutes of perfect music based on research done by Steven Halpern for walk-in, exit, discussion, reflection, games, and breaks.

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4. How do I handle disruptive participants?

Make sure you use small groups of 5-7 people. Rotate the leadership so no one person can "own" the group. Have small groups periodically generate questions rather than simply asking, "Are there any questions?" which may allow the domineering to take over. Also, toss questions to the group to answer, rather than either calling on someone or allowing volunteers. By engaging more people, you minimize the possibility for disruptive behavior.

 

5. How do I improve training evaluations?

First, think beyond the level one, end-of-course evaluation most people think of. Management is not interested in whether people liked it. They are interested in knowing the people used it and that the applied skills and knowledge added value and made a difference to the organization.

To improve evaluation you need to improve preparation. Prepare managers to prepare their people to come to the course with the right mindset: a learner versus prisoner, vacationer, or socializer. Have people set personal objectives early in terms of what they want to learn. Ensure that each person develops an action plan while they are in class. Help create short-term (60-day) accountability groups (3-4 people) who will support one another in applying what they learned to their jobs. Enlist the support of managers in ensuring that adequate time is given to participants in the first 60 days after the training to really apply what they've learned on their jobs.

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