By Elisabeth Goodman, 1st June 2016
Why share our tips on training?
One of the cornerstones of RiverRhee’s way of working is that we pass on the capabilities that we teach, through our training and coaching, for our clients to support themselves after our work with them is done. So it was with some pleasure that I learnt recently that the US colleagues of one of our regular clients in the UK are now running their own version of our one-day Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma course.
It also made me realise that one capability we had not explicitly shared was how to deliver training. Perhaps our client had learnt this through emulation of what had worked well when we worked with them.
For the benefit of this client, and for others, here are our reflections on what we believe contributes to effective training.
- Use a why, what, how, so what format
- Include a combination of approaches to support different learning styles
- Share stories and case studies
- Create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere
- Make it easy to take away key learnings
Use a why, what, how, so what format
I learnt this approach in my NLP Practitioner training and have found it invaluable ever since. When introducing each topic in a course we either ask the delegates, or suggest reasons ‘why’ this particular subject might be important to them – so that they want to find out more. For Lean and Six Sigma it’s about finding ways to streamline and improve the way they work so that they can consistently deliver value to their customers and make better use of limited time and money.
The ‘what’ is a description (only as long as necessary) of what the topic consists of – perhaps with some background on its origins, the key principles, frameworks, tools etc.
The ‘how’ consists of the ‘nuts and bolts’ – how to apply the principles and tools.
The ‘so what’ is the opportunity for delegates to consider what they will do with their new knowledge once they are back at work.
Include a combination of approaches to support different learning styles
We learn from a young age to “show and tell”. It’s because some people learn more easily from being able to see things (visual cues), others from hearing (auditory cues). There are also people who are more kinesthetic – so that being able to touch things will help them, and auditory-digital people will benefit from more detailed explanations and examples. These different representational styles are also ones I learnt about in my NLP Practitioner training.
We cater for these different styles through the use of visuals on slides or flip charts, giving presentations, using videos. We have lots of discussion and examples. And we have hand-outs and various study aids that people can handle and refer to.
Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles describe preferences for theory, reflection, action and pragmatism. So we give background on what we teach, allow time for private reflection, practice in pairs and small groups, and we base all our courses on people’s own challenges, projects, processes and situations.
Include stories and case studies
Telling stories also dates to our childhood and indeed to the early stages of humanity. Just beginning a story triggers a different level of alertness and receptivity. Stories are fun to tell, and fun to listen to. They are an extraordinarily powerful way to get a message across. They don’t have to be strictly true.
Case studies are a form of story – the fact that they are based on something that really happened is what gives credibility to the lesson that you wish to reinforce. Again having visuals will help to give them strength, as will testimonials from the people who were involved.
Create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere
People will learn most effectively if the atmosphere is right. Our favourite training venue has lots of natural light and space to move around in. It is far removed from our delegates’ normal place of work so that they can focus with minimal distractions. Refreshments are close to hand.
We often use two trainers and play off the dynamic between us to create a sense of fun and relaxation. We believe people learn better when there is laughter. We watch out for body language and other cues that tell us when people are engaged, confused, need a rest or change of pace.
Make it easy to take away key learnings
Coming on one of our training courses is an opportunity to take time out to reflect on challenges and learn and practise new skills. The price to pay is the extra work to catch-up on when back in the office or lab, with the associated risk of all the new learning being buried in a drawer along with the course notes.
We ask delegates to complete some pre-course questionnaires and exercises to help them identify what aspects of their work they will focus on during the course. We pause and encourage them to record key insights and actions they would like to take at intervals throughout the training. We make time for them to recap, share and so commit to what they will take away do at the end of the day.
What will you do with these training tips?
How do these points relate to your own views on what makes for effective training? Which if any are you applying, or will you apply?
We always welcome conversations around what we share in these newsletters and what we do.
For those of you based at the Babraham Research Campus near Cambridge, UK, do come and see us at our exhibition stand in the Bennett building on Thursday 30th June.
And of course you are always welcome to sign up for one of our training courses to experience our approach for yourself. Our next one is the Introduction to Management on 21st-23rd June and details of this and our other courses can be found at http://www.riverrhee.com
Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams. See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.