There have been unending discussions among trainers from various industries as to what really makes training effective. If one would ask different learning and development practitioners, he can be very sure that he will get different perspectives and recommendations about what works and what does not.
In my years of training, this has always been one of my researches. I have always been interested about discovering how to not only please trainees or make them enjoy being in training but also how to bridge the gap between learning and application. This has led me to asking myself a lot of questions and to always putting myself in the shoes of many kinds of participants to be able to determine how each person with unique learning preferences and personalities learns best.
One major aspect, really, that helped me put together the five most significant factors of making training effective and becoming an equally-effective trainer would be observing not only what I can see on the outside among the trainees in terms of their behaviors but even how they respond to questions and statements and the obvious results that they show during measurement and evaluation.
So, on this article, allow me to share with you five workable essentials of making your training for your participants effective and something that they will cherish for a long time too.
I introduce PRIME, which is a mnemonic that stands for Practicality, Reinforcement, Interaction, Motivation, and Enjoyment.
P FOR PRACTICALITY
The Free Dictionary defines practicality as concerned with actual use rather than theoretical possibilities.
Training that is practical and practicable is the best training there is. I have proven that several times. Most of the other training programs that I have seen and experienced myself focus too much on or spend excessive time with the content and the theories. The result is, instead of paying more attention to being able to apply the knowledge, the most part of the training agenda becomes dragging lectures and boring discussions.
This is not to say though that providing knowledge by lectures and discussions is not important. Knowledge is a must-have, that is for sure. It is the first requisite that each trainee must obtain before being able to apply anything at all. However, a training that commits more time to overwhelming trainees with too much information is suffocating. Instead of the trainees remembering what they should put into practice as they transition to actual production, nothing sinks in because they are bombarded with too much to handle.
This is not also to say, however, that training should have more of applications than discussions. A training in which participants are not given a solid foundation they can operate on is poor and does not lead to the desired results or learning goals.
Instead, training should make knowing and doing or applying dependent on each other. When something is known or learned, it has to be applied or tried out right away. Trainees have to experiment on and find out their individual working styles. They should be given sufficient time to apply and adjust to the new knowledge and skills acquired. Just the same, when the application lacks the basics or is done incorrectly, then the knowledge must be revisited to ensure that it was taught correctly and it was understood accurately.
Therefore, instructional programs should be designed based on a collaboration between knowing and doing. It is knowing that make people be oriented about several things and of course, it is in doing or applying that they test out whether what they learned will work or not.
R FOR REINFORCEMENT
Reinforcement means rewarding or correcting trainees and their behaviors, personalities, and performance; whichever is applicable and necessary.
Training that reinforces is one that will not only be appreciated and will make trainees think highly of themselves all the time but from which their truest potential would really come out and by which their imperfections would be fixed and strengthened.
In designing and developing curricula, ample time for coaching every time a topic is discussed or a skill is cultivated must be put in place so learners frequently know where they are at and what they still need to work on and polish at any point during the training.
Similarly, rewarding trainees every time they answer questions correctly, they participate in class, they perfect quizzes, they win in games, and they follow instructions to the letter develops positive individuals who work harder and who prove themselves more in order to get commendations and recognitions.
Therefore, trainers should integrate giving away prizes or simply praising them/giving them a pat on the back each time they do something well or they say something right. This does not only make them confident. This gives them the extra push to always show their best in training.
I FOR INTERACTION
Training where the facilitator interacts with his trainees and the latter do the same among one another aids in learning and fast at that. There should be more asking and answering questions. There should be more discourses about the topics. There should be more opportunities in which trainees get to clarify confusing points. There should be more activities in which they collaborate with and consult with fellow trainees to know what they do not that others do and understand what others do that they do not.
When trainees speak more than they listen or when the trainer at least strikes a balance between both, the former are put in a situation where they discover more and they bridge the gap between understanding and transfer of learning by themselves.
With this, designs should be anchored on a quality number of fora, discussion groups, teachbacks, etc. There should be sessions where the trainees learn more from one another and more importantly where they can check for understanding.
M FOR MOTIVATION
Different trainees have different levels of tolerance for setbacks and diverse attitudinal tendencies. It is because of this that motivation or activities that motivate and inspire should be incorporated in training programs.
Even though I understand that motivation can be done anytime when it is highly-needed, it is still a far cry from when it is an actual part of the training outline.
Motivation is something that you do not only say but you also show and instill in their minds as well. Games and icebreakers in between help keep the trainees on their toes and focused especially when they are losing interest or they are getting bored. Trainers’ effectiveness and skills are measured by how long and how much they are able to make their audience pay attention to them and enjoy listening to what they say. When it is not the case, there is something wrong. They would just end up getting distracted or being preoccupied with something else
In the same vein, daily counseling sessions; while they are not a must; help make sure that nobody is being left behind or that nobody is losing focus or coming short of expectations for personal reasons outside of the four corners of the room. Trainers are also responsible in ensuring that his trainees do not bring personal problems to work at home and vice versa.
Thus, instructional designs should make room for moments when the trainer should give each of his trainees the chance to share what their problems are and if they have issues with them, the training, the environment, the people around them, and the like.
E FOR ENJOYMENT
The last piece of the puzzle that will surely make training effective and memorable is enjoyment. For as long as trainees are having fun in class, they always have the peace of mind and the enthusiasm to absorb as much as they can and stay in training from start to finish.
Apart from games and icebreakers, training that makes learners loosen up and enjoy most of the time leads to better results and higher learning retention. A trainer who is not too formal and stiff and who cracks jokes in the right situation at the proper time entertains his audience more and makes them want to learn more as well. Situations like this dispel boredom, monotony and discourage people from attriting as well.
Ergo, training should be made fun and interesting all the time with activities that allow them to have a break from the formalities of training and appreciate their experiences.
Hopefully, my PRIME method would help the readers, especially trainers; teachers; and instructional designers, formulate and devise the best and the most flexible training program, which trainees will not only learn a lot from but will also enjoy being a part of.
Until the next blog. For now, BE EQUIPPED!