H R Talk: Effective training techniques through employee involvement

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Invitation to training will normally result in excitement or nervousness for employees. They bring with them different perceptions which the trainer needs to manage.

Employee involvement is key to effective employee training and managing of the perceptions that the employees bring.

Employees attending training are preoccupied with their own thoughts and problems. Some are willing to learn, others are not.

There are those who are open to new ideas and others who resist. How can you get them involved so that they can take ownership of their own learning during the training?

The four areas outlined below will assist in determining what should be considered.

Put yourself in the learners’ shoes: When delivering training, there is course content to be covered.

While this is important, priority has to be given to the fact that the learners are able to receive your content.

There is therefore, need for the trainer to put himself/herself into the learners’ shoes and ask themselves a few questions that these learners have when attending training:

What is this session about?

Will it be of use to me?

How can I apply this to the real world?

What motivates me to attend this session?

Is the content delivered in an easy and simple way?

Are different teaching methods involved or is it a boring lecture?

Answering these questions yourself will help you better prepare to deliver effective training.

Assessing learner needs: Carrying out learner needs assessment is essential for achieving learner involvement.

This task could be difficult due to time, budget or information constraints. However, it is important and some kind of assessment will make a difference. Some points for investigating learner needs are as follows:

How many participants will be attending the session?

What are their current job responsibilities?

What are their skill levels as applicable to the training subject?

Is attendance voluntary or mandatory?

How will the training affect their current or future job responsibilities?

If this investigation is not possible before the training session, then when the session starts, it is a good idea to request the participants to introduce themselves and to mention what their expectations from the training session are.

This will assist the trainer in determining the course of the training which will benefit the learners
Communicate with your learners:

Communicating the objectives and programme outline to the course attendees before the session will help them prepare for the training if the objectives are properly written, they can also be used to motivate the learners such that they will have a positive outlook towards the training.

If this is not done for some reason, then it is important that this be done at the start of the training.

Communication is a two-way channel: Therefore, feedback from the learners must be somehow incorporated into the training.

This may be extra work. It will be much easier to just deliver the content as is, but the purpose of the training is to enable to reach the heart of the learner via effective training, not just delivering content.

Switch on the learners: However well you may be prepared to deliver the session, if the learners are not switched on, the training will not be very effective.

Switched on learners will be ready to receive content, which means there is need to conduct activities to achieve this. Switching of activities include creative opening exercises that develop positive first impressions, which are crucial to gaining learner commitment.

These warm-up activities are learner-centred and content-relevant. The intent is to achieve learner involvement and for the trainer to develop relationships with the learners.

These are not the same as icebreakers, which are usually used to entertain and energise learners.

When people arrive at the training venue, they are probably still preoccupied with their own problems and thoughts. The warm-up exercises will also be a means of addressing this.

Employee training can be made effective with some extra effort in getting their involvement and hence ownership for the training.

You will find the extra work pays off because the session will be much more satisfying and feedback from the attendees will be positive.

Taking into account the ideas discussed above will result in effective learning achieved through the involvement of the learners, which makes the learning more meaningful.

Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner. You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk pnyausaru@gmail.com . Views contained in this article are personal

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