This may sound familiar with some readers, but hopefully not!
Rolling back my years to my Physics O-Level (yes, I am that old…), my classmates and I had the misfortune to get the worst possible teacher in the school. For two years every lesson would follow the same format, we would walk in, be given a pile of books to read and then left to it. Heaven only knows how some of us passed the exam (and they were not all multiple choice in those days), luck probably…
I would hope that training and teaching today has moved on, but it does make the point that there is more to training than just reading a book, and whilst this can give useful theory, there is nothing like hands on coaching and mentoring to really generate interest and enthusiasm.
A former Managing Director of a business that I worked for in my youth had some good answers to this…
- Firstly, tell them what you are doing and why, how does it link in with what other people do
- Provide them with some material so that they can start to explore the topic more
- Then show them, get them to watch you and take notes.
- Discuss what you have done to see if it makes any sense.
- Then ask them to do it whilst you sit with them and you can see if they have grasped the subject matter.
- Have a break and get them to do it again and have a debrief to make sure they are happy and if you are happy too then let them do it on their own and then check the work until you are satisfied that they are competent in that task.
So, this all sounds like common sense I guess, but far too often there is too much reliance on the “book” to provide all the answers, and if I can digress for a minute, this is one problem with formal examinations. I have no issue with any individual who wishes to better themselves and take a path of formal study, but it should be relevant to their day to day activities and provide a direct benefit to them and you as the employer (after all, you may well be paying for it), rather than ticking any sort of box.
So, back to the training.
The six steps above should be part of your training culture and this should include a wealth of different material.
Yes, the text book has a definitive place in all of this, but coaching, mentoring, and using your own experience is a big part. As are the modern resources provided by the Internet, on line research and libraries. Computer Based Learning and Development systems such as the Development Zone all have a big part to play and a big plus is all these bring different learning styles into play and some people will react better to some than others, so you can blend all these into a very personal and individual learning plan.
By doing this, more people will want to engage, will be enthusiastic and will learn more; far more than just reading the book.
Here at RWA Solutions, we have developed a number of tools that can help you, ranging from the Development Zone, to helping you establish a bespoke Training & Competence scheme as well as individual training, coaching and mentoring for you and for your staff.