The development of training can be a difficult task for new instructors and seasoned veterans alike. New trainers must understand what makes it successful and then begin to build toward those goals. Experienced trainers must fight the tendency to become complacent or monotonous.
To improve your skills, here are five handy tips that every trainer should keep in mind:
1. Set SMART goals
Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound):
Keep your goals specific as to what your learners need to understand or be able to do.
Set measurable ways to track how well you and your learners are reaching those goals.
Understand which goals are actually attainable or achievable so you can focus your approach to the content.
Keep your training relevant to address either on-the-job performance or external requirements, like OSHA training or continuing education.
Finally, make your goals time-bound so your learners have the parameters for completing the training and becoming proficient in the material you present.
2. Use variety
When was the last time you were bored during a training session? Well, boring training isn't very effective. But adding stimulating variety is one of the best ways to prevent boredom. Use visual aids, audio cues, activities, discussions, challenges, videos, music, polls and questions. Always keep your learning fun!
3. Stay within your limits
No one can be an expert in all things. Your job isn't necessarily to be a subject matter expert but to communicate information in a way that helps learners understand and master it. Consider getting help from a SME in your company to expand your own knowledge. Also bring in guest speakers who can offer deeper understanding of the content to your learners.
4. Work hard
For training to be effective, both you and your learners need to work hard. Stitching together a bullet-point program with little effort will produce minimal results. Even if you want to stay within the limits of your own understanding of the curriculum, you'll still need to research, plan, gain a solid understanding the material and your learners, set goals, follow through and follow up.
In addition, learners must be actively engaged and interact with the material so they can retain the knowledge. Showing up, then tuning out, won’t help them learn anything. Give them the chance to make an effort.
5. Plan follow-ups
Becoming proficient at knowledge requires repetition. You may meet your class for only a certain amount of time, but it doesn’t mean the training must end there. Reinforce the learning by following up with reminder emails, text messages, practice sessions during weekly meetings, and even games and prizes for mastering the subject matter. Follow-up opportunities can go a long way toward making your training memorable and enduring.