You’re Really Good at That! (Or How You Become a Trainer)
I’m Good at My Job, I Swear
Where’s the Breakdown?
- Procedural: You process customer returns everyday for 2 years. It’s second nature to key in code 555 in order to bypass the three standard welcome screens. It takes nothing at all to complete the entire logging and refund event in 3 minutes. This is procedural knowledge. You can think of it as all of the manual tasks you can complete without thinking about it. For me, a good example is knitting a washcloth.
Take a moment and think about a task that you can do without putting too much thought into it. This excludes things like breathing and blinking!
- Declarative: Now if I asked you to talk me through, how accurate do you think your first try will be? How long to do you think it will take you to describe it so that I can replicate the process flawlessly? The is called declarative knowledge.
How Can I Improve My Trainings?
- According to the authors of Telling Ain’t Training, an effective way to set the stage for your trainings is to address positive and negative experiences related to the topic at the start of the session. This will:
- Diffuse a situation by acknowledging past experiences of the participants and
- Allow you to gauge what participants know and how they approach problem solving.
- Establish the why and how of the trainings. As discussed in other posts, relevance is extremely important to adult learners. They need to know why they are learning this content and how it can be immediately applied to make their jobs easier and/or more efficient. You also want to discuss how they’ll be learning to do these things.
- Here’s where the Adult Learning Principles come in:
- Integrate real world scenarios as a way to demonstrate practical application to your learners. This also allows them to participate and share their experiences in similar situations.
- Include a resource list that participants can refer back to. This can include detailed (or simplified!) explanations of content covered during the course, or further reading related to the topic.
- Consider Task Mapping – During an Instructional Design course I took in graduate school, I chose to create a training for managers based on their job description. The posting included things like ‘budgeting’ but because many people are promoted into the position, it’s not an inherent skill. By task mapping, I was able to uncover assumed prerequisite knowledge and build from that level before moving onto budgeting; for example, an understanding of financial terminology, a intermediate grasp of Excel and formulas and understanding of profit margins.
The next time you design a training, clearly define what you need to teach your learners and then use the suggestions above to decide how you’re going to do it. Throughout the process, be conscious of what you’re doing vs what you’re saying when outlining or developing content. Read it out loud to yourself and, if possible, ask someone else (a non-SME) to follow along. If they can’t, rework the areas where they get stuck until you have a resource that is thorough but easy to understand and follow along.
Stay tuned for my next post which explores the best ways to build a strong foundation for all your training needs!