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Training for Trainers
Learning without thought is labor lost. Thought without learning is intellectual death.
What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand. Confucius (551-479 B.C.)
This section of the eRiders website provides some introductory materials to help eRiders gain training skills so that they are better able to deliver training to clients. The section is not intended to replace attending a Train The Trainer course run by a qualified trainer.
The resources in this section were researched by the Information Systems team of LASA based in the UK.
The structure of this section consists of short sections describing the different elements of training accompanied by links to websites which provide further useful material and information. The contents are:
· Training needs analysis
· The learning cycle and motivation
· Setting objectives
· Designing a course
· Setting up and finishing exercises
· Learning styles questionnaire
· Good practice
· Giving and receiving feedback
· Questioning techniques
· Grouping participants
· Training Aids: Using handouts, flipcharts, PCs
· Role plays, exercises and warm ups
· Dealing with difficult trainees, latecomers
We hope that eRiders will find it useful and that it can become an evolving resource – we welcome good (and bad!) experiences of training situations which can be added to the site.
This section of resources contains general links to materials on training for trainers.
Training Needs Analysis
As the person who has been approached to design and deliver a training course, before you do anything else you will be rewarded if you do an analysis of the person, organization or groups needs. Essentially you’ll want to know who the participants are going to be and what they want to do once they’ve been trained. The training cycle is:
· the request for training
· finding out who the participants are going to be
· what they want to do once they’ve been trained
· planning the training
· delivering the training
· evaluating it on completion
As part of this, the commissioning organisation will need to assess what training is required and at what level. Organisations do this in various ways e.g. through appraisal and supervision sessions – but another way is through self-assessment which can be appropriate for IT application training. There is further explanation of this and an example of an assessment form on Lasa’s (London Advice Services Alliance) website (see link below).
The Learning Cycle and Motivation
People learn in different ways depending on their personalities – see Learning Styles Questionnaire – but whatever their style the learning cycle shows that there is a progression from one stage to another:
· Have the experience
· Review and reflect on that experience
· Conclude form the experience and generalise
· Test out and plan the next step
· Start again!
The Learning Pyramid, as defined by the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine, found the following average retention rates for different training and teaching methods:
Lecturing - 5%
Reading - 10%
Audio-Visual - 20%
Demonstration - 30%
Discussion group – 50%
Practice by doing – 75%
Teaching others – 90%
The success of discussion groups, practice by doing, and teaching others validates the benefits and learning outcomes that can result from training courses.
In order for trainees to benefit from the training programme, certain needs must be satisfied. Abraham Maslow established the theory of a Hierarchy of Needs - that humans are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied.
The various needs can be defined as:
· Physiological– food, water, shelter
· Safety– free of danger emotionally and physically
· Belonging – to be loved, liked or needed
· Esteem – To achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition
· Self actualisation – find self fulfilment and realise potential
For trainees to achieve, their needs must be satisfied from the bottom up starting from their physiological needs. For example, trainees who are cold, hungry and unhappy with the training environment will not be able to move to the next level.
Training objectives must be set before the training session is designed. They must be clear, specific and unambiguous. An objective is a clear statement of what the trainee will be able to do at the end of the training. Objectives should contain performance words - “Be able to describe dynamically assigned IP address problems on a Windows 2000 Server” is a clear objective; “Understand dynamically assigned IP address problems on a Windows 2000 Server” is more vague, and unobservable.
Designing a Course
So, as an example, imagine you have been asked by a small NGO to deliver a day’s IT training course. Things you might want to initially ask the organisation are:
· When do they want the training to take place? Are you free?
· Have they carried out their own internal training needs analysis to inform the process?
· How long a course do they want?
· If you are charging them, how much will they pay?
· Do they have a training suite for you to use or will it need to be hired?
· What facilities will I need to have?
· How many trainees are there likely to be? Can you train all of them at once or will it require a number of sessions?
· Are there any accessibility issues?
· What is their current level of competence?
· Will you need to provide any after-course support?
· Do they require you to produce a manual for trainees to take away with them?
· Will refreshments be organised? Are there any special dietary needs?
· Who is responsible for publicising it?
The important thing to remember here is that it will take you at least as long to design and prepare the course as it will to deliver it. This time needs to be paid for, if it isn’t funded already. It will also eat into time that you could spend on other eRiding activities!
Setting Up and Finishing Exercises
When setting up an exercise you should make sure that the following are clear:
· What the exercise is about
· Length of the exercise
· Relationship to any theory already discussed
· What will be required of the participants
· If and how the group will be divided up (individually, pairs, small groups)
· How you will take feedback
· Instructional aids (OHP, handouts, Post Its, pens etc) are at hand
· Environmental considerations (space to work undisturbed)
· Everyone understands the exercise and is happy doing it
After the exercise you will need to:
· Take feedback from the trainees (Using varying methods: One group at a time; A contribution from each group; Findings placed so that others can comment; Ask groups to clarify learning rather than content)
· Ensure everyone’s contribution has been acknowledged and valued
· Correct misinformation in a sensitive manner
· Let trainees know how long they have for feedback and curtail anyone using up too much time
· Summarise the exercise
· Relate findings to learning point
· Relate to what is coming up next
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford identified four different styles of learning. They have defined them as being:
Activists like new experiences. They learn best when they are thrown in at the deep end – trying things out without considering all the consequences. They learn less when having to listen to lectures or read or think on their own.
Reflectors collect data and mull it over before coming to conclusions. They learn best by observation and reviewing the information and learn less through role play or being rushed.
Theorists integrate observations into logical theories and may be detached. They learn best when they are in structured situation and are offered ideas and concepts which they can question. They learn less in emotional situations or if they feel at odds with the other trainees.
Pragmatists tend to be impatient and are down to earth. They learn best when they can see a link between the topic and the job or are shown models to use. They learn less when they can see no obvious benefit or the learning is too theoretical.
Everyone has their own way of learning and most people are a complex mix of all four styles with a leaning towards being activist-pragmatists or reflector-theorists. The learning styles questionnaire helps to identify trainees’ styles which can help how a session is delivered. You’ll probably find that you have a mixture though, so the course will need to be delivered using a selection of methods to cater for a variety of styles. The questionnaire is copyrighted by the authors but there is an online version which can be obtained from Peter Honey’s website – link below. Similarly, there is also the VAK, where you can use the online Sensory Modality Learning Profile where you can check if you’re a Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic learner, and Abiator's Online Learning Styles Inventory Test.
The link to the Campaign for Learning website below provides more in depth analysis of different learning styles.
Giving and Receiving Feedback
Feedback is information given to a trainee in order to help them learn from the experience. Feedback should be:
· Useful and appropriate
· Given immediately
However, remember that people cannot process large amounts of information and can usually only concentrate for limited amounts of time.
As the receiver of feedback, don’t attempt to defend yourself even if you don’t agree with what’s being said. Request more information if you’re not clear about what’s being said, think about it and thank the giver.
Groups, Facilitation and Exercises
Tips, techniques and resources for keeping your training session running smoothly and effectively engaging participants.
Using handouts, overhead projectors, flipcharts, PCs and video.
Disruptive students can wreck a training session for everyone. It’s important to be able to deal with the situation without creating a bad (or worse!) atmosphere. If a trainee is doing something that ignores the rules set at the start of the session, refer them back to the rules – for example, “We agreed that eating in the training room is not allowed”. If at all possible, don’t challenge a difficult trainee during the session. If someone is extremely disruptive, you may need to talk to them alone at a break. Set ground rules and use small groups to manage disruptive or dominant participants.
A simple evaluation form can help with tweaking and developing future courses and obtaining instant feedback on how the course went. A simple paper form will usually suffice although longer course may require something more complicated, perhaps using Survey Monkey.
A few basic guidelines:
· Get trainees to fill in the evaluation as soon as possible after the training ? on the same day at the end of the course is best
· Keep the form as short as possible
· Keep the questions simple and meaningful
· Use sliding scales for obtaining qualitative data (.g. ?very satisfied? through to? not ?satisfied at all?)
· Keep questions closed and provide multiple choice plus ?other - please expand? options where possible
· Request trainees put names to the evaluation where possible but keep this optional
· If the evaluation is very poor, make sure trainee is contacted to find out more