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1. One-to-one task training
One-to-one training usually happens on the job, as it involves training someone how to perform a task in the workplace. Pitfalls include
- Showing someone the whole task in one go so they become confused
- Not allowing them to practise
- Not getting them interested in the task in the first place
- Assuming actions or standards within the task are obvious.
To prepare and structure a job training session
- Check that you have everything that you need, including time and the correct materials
- Gain attention by explaining what they will learn, doing or saying something to gain their interest, and telling them what’s in it for them
- Break the task down into manageable chunks; demonstrate and practise them one at a time.
2. Group training (instructional)
Group training usually happens off the job. It is about allowing delegates to explore the background knowledge, skills or behaviours required for them to perform their role more effectively at work.
- Introduce the session by gaining interest with an ice-breaker or similar technique.
- Explain what personal benefits the delegates will gain from the training.
- State briefly what the training session is about.
- Give the agenda, saying what will be covered and what delegates will be expected to do.
- Tell the delegates what they will be able to do by the end of the session.
- Teach them everything they must know first, then things they should know, and only if there’s time include the extras they could know.
- Consolidate by testing.
3. Controlling nerves
Remember – a racehorse needs adrenaline to win the race. So it’s not really a matter of getting rid of our nerves, but of learning how to harness them.
- Don’t indulge in negative self talk; focus outwards towards the delegates, the training and a successful conclusion.
- Increase your confidence with thorough preparation.
- Physically release tension before you start.
- Anchor confidence, flexibility and energy.
- Meet and greet delegates to establish rapport.
- Take time to be calm.
- Look at it from other perspectives.
4. Building rapport
Without rapport, your training will flop.
- If you can get the group more formed, more cohesive and with members more in rapport with each other, your task is much easier.
- Try an ice-breaker – making them do something unusual.
- Learn about their common attributes of dress, speech and so on, and match them where appropriate.
- Discover what you have in common with them.
- Use pre-course materials to make contact.
- Meet and greet them to establish one-to-one rapport before you start.
5. Establishing ground rules
The idea behind having ground rules is that these group norms become openly agreed up front. This then reduces conflict and misunderstanding and helps to create the right environment for the group to work and learn effectively together.
- Ground rules help you maintain control and handle disruptive behaviour.
- Explain the benefits to delegates.
- Brainstorm ideas with the delegates.
- Narrow the list down to ten and get agreement.
- Refer to the rules when problems arise.
6. Group size
Generally speaking, research shows that the size of the group has a number of important consequences. The larger the group
- The more centralised the role of the tutor
- The more chance of active members dominating
- The more inhibited less active members become
- The less creative group discussion
- The less satisfied group members are with the results of their discussions.
7. Room layout
The learning environment will be influenced by the layout of the room and the seating arrangements.
- Classroom seating is suitable for instructing large numbers.
- Rectangle/boardroom layout identifies the clear leadership of the trainer, but is not suitable for large groups.
- Circle layouts encourage interaction.
- Long triangle layouts focus on the trainer.
- Horseshoe shaped layouts promote openness.
- Islands encourage small-group work and are useful when delegates may be outside their comfort zone.
8. Preparation checklist
It is useful to go through a pre-session checklist, even though you may not need everything on the list for each occasion.
- Have temperature and light controls been checked?
- Has equipment been checked?
- Have refreshments been organised?
- Do you have all the stationery you will need?
- Do you know the whereabouts of toilets and fire exits?
9. Developing participation
We all know that people learn best when they are active, involved and having fun, so it’s important to get delegates to participate.
- Encourage delegates to do at least 70 per cent of the talking.
- Ask open questions.
- Recognise contributions.
- Protect new ideas.
- Avoid contributing your own opinions and encourage group interaction.
- Use group work and brainstorming to draw out the quieter people.
10. Dealing with aggressive behaviour
Although this is probably the behaviour that we trainers dread dealing with the most, it is in fact VERY rare!
- Stay relaxed and non-defensive.
- Get curious about what could be causing the behaviour.
- Ask ‘What must be true in order for this behaviour to make sense?’
- Look for the positive intentions of the behaviour.
- Know that it is not about you personally.
- Maintain the objector’s self esteem.
11. Keeping on track
The pace of the training needs to be adjusted to the learning speed of the group, but at the same time you must deal with the content in the time allocated.
- As training progresses, pay attention to relevance of information and shared experiences, timing and degree of understanding achieved.
- Use the agenda to keep people on track.
- If the pace is too slow, either use ice-breakers, exercises or small-group work to raise energy levels or speed up your own pace.
- Make sure everyone understands what is expected of them when running a role-play exercise.
12. Visual aids
It is said that people remember 20 per cent of what is heard, 30 per cent of what is seen and 50 per cent of what is both seen and heard.
- Flipchart notes and drawings can be invisibly prepared in advance, though they have a less dramatic effect than other visual aids.
- Overhead projectors make elaborate presentations and effects possible, though they can be difficult to transport.
- Television and videos offer an effective way to provide feedback on role plays.
- Elaborate presentations and effects are possible with PowerPoint, though – as with videos – it is possible to go over the top and swamp the training.