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“Learning never exhausts the mind” are the wise words by one of the greatest artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. There’s no doubt about the importance of his advice—lifelong learning is an indispensable tool for every person and organization.
A recent study by Deloitte reveals that the number one trend in organizations is: changing the way people learn. In fact, a whopping 86 percent of survey respondents believe they must reinvent their ability to learn. As a trainer, this couldn’t ring truer.
The Bob Pike Group offers six unique ways for continuous learning opportunities that will help boost your own training prowess and presentation techniques.
We learn the most from others who have “been there, done that.” Acquiring new skills from colleagues helps enhance your own training skills while keeping on trend and relevant in the marketplace. This is not to say teachers or trainers don’t learn a lot in a variety of other settings and situations, but there is something to be said about the shared respect and experience of your trainer counterparts. From attending other trainers’ F2F or online sessions as an observer, to setting up a coffee date for advice—there are many ways to embrace the community of trainers or teachers around you. You might just be surprised by how much wisdom, experiences, and tips that you can apply to your own training development!
Think about the last training session or presentation you attended on the learner side. Was the presentation engaging? Were the slide show visuals and content memorable? Think of learning experiences as takeout boxes. What skills or classroom activities were you able to take away and apply into your work? The learning process continues long after the training is over. On top of being able to recall actual course content that may come in handy for you as the trainer; also remember any pain points (lack of teamwork or unengaged speaker) or high points (fun activities or games) you can recall as you design your own courses and content.
Simply put, as the trainer you are placing expectations on your learners to gain new knowledge and be able to apply it into the real world. Course content goes beyond just subject area knowledge. It’s important for you to put yourselves in your learners’ shoes. As you partake in your own continuous development courses or other learning opportunities, you’ll always have your “student mindset” activated. With that empathy, it’ll be easier for you to instinctively train in an engaging and participant-centered way.
Creating new content is so important in keeping your brain engaged in your material while preventing “training burnout.” Life is already filled with lots of repetition! Continually challenge yourself to learn new material, while even becoming a SME on new ideas or topics. Continuous learning can help with achieving and creating new personal and career goals. Knowledge creates an excitement to take on more knowledge, and this often leads to a more ambitious outlook for you (which comes across as you present online or F2F!). This is win-win for you and your learners.
We don’t know what we don’t know. At the end of any session you lead, ask for participant feedback—AND apply it as you design future courses or content. As a trainer, it’s okay to be sensitive about your performance by measuring it through the objectives your learners have achieved. Being resilient and open to constructive feedback is so important! On the flipside, your own self-evaluation is key. Effective training involves assessing yourself and being accountable to what you have control over to make future improvements. Your own self-analysis can determine the success of your training program going forward. It’s good for all of us to have some spontaneity and improve skills every once in a while!
In a time where many people are taking the time to self-develop and grow their skills, be sure to not pigeonhole yourself to only “do what you’ve always done.” If you’re only an expert in one topic, it doesn’t show your vast ability to your colleagues, leaders, or your learners. Becky Pike Pluth of The Bob Pike Group encourages us to think in terms of singing competitions. Contestants are expected to know both low or high notes to show that they’re well-rounded and capable of any song that comes their way. CEOs and managers will continually come back to you if they know you are well rounded and capable of designing any project sent your way. Imagine the opportunities!
Whether you're learning informally through reading an article, or in an educational setting like a seminar—experiences like these can provide new and important insights to enhance your skillset and overall knowledge.
No matter the industry, continually learning new skills and developments can improve your performance and your organization’s profitability! The Bob Pike Group offers a plethora of courses and resources that will help make your own learning journey fun and effective. Our Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp is a great starting point!