As a training professional, I believe in keeping my own skills sharp. So I recently attended a three-day course delivered by a training vendor. I was excited to be investing time in my own development, and enthusiastic about learning as I sat near the front of the room. But within about 30 minutes of the start of the course, I suppressed an urge to run screaming from the building.
As a master trainer, I have always worked to share my airtime with my learners. That is, I try to keep my input to 40 percent or less. I look for ways to let them discover the content, rather than just telling it to them. But in this course, I was in for a different experience. I hope I masked the panic in my eyes when the facilitator declared, up front, that he would be reading directly from his guide to ensure consistency of message. We endured three days, during which 80 percent of the focus was on him. Sure, we did a few activities, but those were overshadowed by the long stretches of mind-numbing reading.
This experience renewed my passion about and commitment to learner-centered training. Of course, I will always make sure I meet my management's need to deliver a specific and consistent message. But it's just as important to me to focus the learning on the participants and their needs. You don't have to give up one to have the other. Are you in the same situation? Here are some ideas to help you out.
Look for opportunities to talk through concepts, instead of reading about them.