5 learning points about learning

Went to training yesterday. Those who know me will know to expect me unleash a gargantuan rant about how useless the training was. For the benefit of everyone, here is a small, toned down sample.

1. No matter where are you are going to facilitate training, make sure it has all the requisite technology needs for you. Asking for things like a) a power cord for the TV to show your PowerPoint presentation and b) is there Internet, are two basic questions to resolve before the presentation.

2. Adults are like children; they can be unruly, disruptive, stoopid (deliberate misspelling for humorous effect…share in a chuckle), and spend time on their smartphone. However, like teachers, a single facilitator should be able to handle a group of about 20. We were less, but had 3 facilitators, all of whom sat at one end. This is too large a set of facilitators for such a small group. It might be reasonable if the plan was to split into smaller groups, but this didn’t happen.

3. Tailor the presentation to audience. We were two distinct groups of attendees, with an obvious distance between our knowledge of the subject matter and the other group. I think if the gap is too wide, consider having two different sessions. Furthermore, think about the aim from the presentation and training. This was repeat training for me, and I have even facilitated training on the same subject matter so my expectations were pretty high.

4. Physical environment matters. We were crammed in a room in an external agency building where they had clearly just redecorated. There was no natural lighting (…sigh) and the air conditioning was on deep freeze. Think about the workspace.

5. Keep the subject matter specific. In a single day training, you’ll be lucky to cover more than one specific issue well. We had three, and it made it difficult to focus. Remember that the training is more efficient and effective based on what the attendees get out of it, not the cost of facilitating. 

So that’s my list. Normally I wouldn’t so sanguine about it, but I was in a good mood, and my hopes weren’t that high.

Normally, I get little out of in house training, except it gives me time to think and come up with ideas for work. On this occasion, I had already gathered some ideas for work over the weekend, so didn’t get that benefit. I did however get some benefit of thinking time for some writing projects, so the whole day wasn’t wasted.

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