Practical training will save business.
A couple of days ago I went for a preliminary meeting with a new client to agree the specific content and method for some staff training. The basic content had been agreed as part of a bid/ selection process, however now was the time to get away from the “specification” and understand the real job based outcomes required. The training will form part of their customer services training package and while not new to many of these people is an important refresher following some difficult feedback from customers.
What made this experience for me was the realisation of the client that the 2hr sessions would:
- Not use PowerPoint
- Only spend 1/2 hr in the classroom
- Be real experience in their live working environment (with the public able to observe)
- Use their equipment
The other “bids” the company had received had focused on classroom “training” and not include much in the way of “real” learning or experience.
Now while this is not “rocket science” I do wonder if may in training have forgotten that real world exists and the best way to learn anything is to “have a go” in the real world, with real world risks and opportunities.
During our meeting, as well as going around the site planning where we would facilitate the learning, I was also quizzed by the manager about my experiences in this sector and with the challenges they were facing. This was refreshing, as I have had a lot of experience and could demonstrate that – this would be important in terms of credibility with those to be “trained”. It is also a the start of a refreshing trend for purchasers to check that the trainer in-front of them is occupationally competent as well as being able to train. It does look like the days of the “all rounder jobbing trainer” are on their way out. Good news for business – bad news for trainers that want a lot of variety in their work.
Context – real learning
While I cannot say who the client is or the content specifically (give it a few months) what I will say is this is a manual handling based training in association with disability awareness. So the training will comprise:
- Basic underpinning knowledge (theory) – no more than 1/2 hr (legal requirement!)
- Hands on in the classroom with the equipment – lets get dirty and see how this stuff works
- Basics of the equipment – Do’s and don’t and to find out what it is like to be in this position
- Then out to the “real world” where each person will apply the learning and help provide feedback to those undertaking the learning activity – and again to experience this from the perspective of the customer services agent and the customer! – this will be a first for many even though some have done the job for some years.
The groups will be small – 3-5 people, thus making sure the focus is on learning not “ticking the box” to say that people have “been on the course”.
It is refreshing for a company to recognise that the training done in the past was “tick box” and now real learning is required. I hope that many other enlightened organisations start to use practical skills trainers for real skills and have groups small enough to ensure that skills transfer actually takes place.
How are you as a trainer keeping your training real for your customers?