Four steps to make that training succeed

The other day, I met a former trainee of mine I had taken in through a module of entrepreneurship about two years ago. It was a well organised training with multiple sessions (I trained people on management) that ran over a fairly long period of time.
Sam Kebongo
Sam Kebongo

The other day, I met a former trainee of mine I had taken in through a module of entrepreneurship about two years ago. It was a well organised training with multiple sessions (I trained people on management) that ran over a fairly long period of time. The basis for selecting the trainees was that they must have had business ideas that they want to develop into real business. This was a good way of going about it. It ensured in-depth formation. The participants were to begin their own businesses soon after the training.

Against this background, I asked how his business was doing. He had not begun. It was coming soon. This is the same answer that I got two years ago. The eaglet never left the nest!

This scenario is not unique to that training. We have had customer service trainings going all around for almost five years, but we still go on and on about our customer service issues. The same bedevils a lot of ‘capacity building’ sessions that we have. This makes you wonder where we get it wrong.

Perhaps the first question you should ask is: why do you train? It seems like a simple question at first. You might say you want to be better at you’re your work. There are so many possible responses. We package them as ‘objectives, deliverables and or outcomes’ when we are writing proposals.

Whereas, it is nice to be able to achieve so much in one training; this prospect must be handled with care. It is the multiplication of objectives, deliverables and outcomes that waters down trainings. In Kiswahili we say, ‘mtaka vyote hukosa vyote’ (s/he who wants everything misses out on everything).

The customer should accurately identify and rank needs in order of importance. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. The trainer’s role is advisory.

There is need to appreciate the learning process. Effective learning has three components: analysis, experience and observation. All these are important but at different times and varying degrees.

These components can be combined for effective training. Naturally, each trainer has their own methodology, but generally it should involve the following steps;

1. Trainer shows, Instructor explains. The trainer must show what s/he wants the students to do, and, as they go through the various actions, tell (describe and explain) the students what s/he is doing. As you demonstrate, explain nuances, tricks, tips, cautions etc.

2. Trainer shows, learner explains. The second step, involves a repeat demonstration. However, this time, but this time the learner tells the trainer what to do and what to look out for. The  learner should  lead the process; s/he or she should tell the trainer what to do before they do it. This ensures that they have grasped the concept being taught.

This way, the learner to engage the new skill mentally by seeing the procedure in his or her mind and having to articulate it to the instructor. The instructor, however, has control over the actual process. A misstep in verbal instructions from the learner does not have to be acted upon if the actual doing might cause damage or harm. This allows for corrective instruction.

3. Learner does, trainer explains. The learner performs the task with step-by-step instructions from trainer. Naturally, the learner’s mind is thinking about what needs to happen, but the trainer’s instructions provide accuracy and safety.

Further, one of the biggest obstacles to learning, student embarrassment, is kept to a minimum. The student can focus brainpower on the deftness required on what is being done, instead of trying to remember what to do next.

4. Learner does, learner explains, trainer evaluates. Here the learner merges the mental and physical learning under the guidance of the experienced trainer. The learner builds confidence and the stage is set for true ownership of his or her ability to do the task. The learner has the ability to explain what should be done and is proficient in doing it.

This four-step method is not necessary or even applicable for all learning situations. It may seem simplistic, redundant, and time-consuming thus expensive), but when teaching skills, it ensures solid learning.

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