Providing training is much more complicated than most people realize. There are many factors to consider, besides just telling learners what you want them to know and demonstrating how to do the tasks. Even being an expert at doing the work yourself doesn’t guarantee the ability to pass those skills on to others. There are many who are expert at doing some type of work, but don’t have the foggiest idea of how to explain it to others.
Planning a training session thoroughly is important to good training, but this means more than preparing a lecture. There are many aspects of preparing training, including creating a safe work environment, understanding the training level and needs of the learners, knowing the learners’ learning style and preparing the materials needed for training. The amount of time preparing always is much more than the actual time spent training.
There is also a lot of psychology in learning. The trainer must communicate ideas and information to the learners, which requires understanding the learners and how they are receiving the material. Many times, there is a necessity to modify the training in process, to account for some difficulty the learners have in grasping the material.
Les worked as a line supervisor for a manufacturing company. They were making some major changes to the company’s products, which required new equipment, new procedures and new training for the workforce. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough trainers available to get everyone trained in time, so management decided to have the line supervisors act as trainers for these new tasks.
This was a first for Les. He was used to depending upon the training department and had never paid much attention to how they did their job. However, he was competent in the tasks that needed to be done and was fairly confident that he could train his crew.
Unfortunately for Les and his crew, his confidence was misplaced. Even worse, Les didn’t take the time to prepare properly, as he didn’t have any realization about how hard it was to put a training session together. Instead, he thought he could just demonstrate the tasks right there on the production line, and his crew of experienced workers would quickly pick it up.
Well, as you can guess, Les had a less than excellent experience as a trainer. Not only couldn’t he explain the whys and wherefores of the task, he ended up starting his training without having everything there. That turned the whole thing into a circus, with his learners paying more attention to what he did wrong, than they did to what he was trying to tell them. There was even an incident where one of his star workers nearly got seriously hurt, because Les forgot to start off with a safety briefing.
That was humiliating for Les. After his crew left for the day, he went to the training department, looking for some help. He explained what had happened and answered their questions, even though he knew they were going to make fun of him.
Les was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t make fun of him. Apparently he wasn’t the only line supervisor who had problems as a trainer, and the company trainers were ready to deal with him. They signed him up for the TAEDEL301A course on Providing Work Skills Instruction, explaining that taking that course would help him understand how to set up a training session for work skills that would be effective and safe. They also recommended that he take the rest of the courses for his TAE40110 Certificate IV in training.
He didn’t go that far, but the course on Providing Work Skills Instruction was a lifesaver for him. The next time he had to provide some training on the line, he knew what to do, and was able to make the session effective and interesting for his team.