I guess that most of you drive and here in the UK once you have passed your test then you are able to drive, without any further assessment until you are 70. So no-one has ever checked whether or not my driving is of a certain standard…is this the same with your training skills?
How often do you assess the standard of your training or that of others who are delivering training for your and your colleagues? Do you accept that just because they work for a training company that the standard of their training is acceptable? Bearing in mind that training is an expense to any company you surely want to make sure that you are getting good value for your money?
I believe as professional trainers we should be assessed by our peers & colleagues regularly to help us to ensure that our training sessions are always delivered to an acceptable standard. So as a minimum you as a trainer, or you as a manager employing a trainer should ensure that the session that is being delivered covers different learning styles, is delivered using a variety of teaching methods and that the trainer ensures all parts of the learning cycle are covered.
I have recently assessed some ‘baby’ trainers as part of an accredited course and in some cases their idea of a training session is to talk at the group without any interaction at all. Yes I know that there are times when you have information to ‘tell’ your group but it is also critical that as trainers we are assessing whether or not learning has taken place. The idea of formative assessment throughout a training session is key to keeping your learners engaged and to ensure that learning is taking place.
It is also about our professional credibility to ensure that we ‘walk the talk’ and regularly get someone who knows what they are looking for to sit in on our sessions and review our style and techniques. There is a danger that we get rusty and set in our ways so we also need to be innovative and creative in our delivery style to ensure that our learners do actually learn!
The same goes for the material that we use, this should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it is up to date and relevant to today’s audience, not the audience of 5 years ago!! Yes I know that there are exercises that I have been using for a while because I know that they work but you still have to ensure that they are relevant to the audience. This is what is good about having another professional trainer look at your work with a critical but friendly eye to remind us of our training as trainers.
You might find it scary with someone watching you at the back of the room but it will give you some good pointers on how to improve your work which is what we want to be doing – failing that you could always video yourself and self-critique that!!
Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth