Monthly Archives: April 2014

Problems and Solutions, What Have You Experienced?

I enjoyed reading the chapter in our text (Foundations of Human Resource Development, Swanson, R. et. al.) this week regarding an overview of training and development.  And while there is potentially much more lofty theories and ideas that I could have written about in my blog this particular time, I thought it may be even more interesting to repost a section of this chapter regarding problems trainers may have and what experts had to say about avoiding such issues.  I am interested in knowing, has anyone ever experienced these?  And, if you have what did you do to recover?  What will you never do again?  Or, better yet, if you haven’t experienced them what do you think you do that helps you to avoid it?

To quote our text, “Presenters want to succeed, and participants want high-quality interaction.” (Swanson, R. p. 242).  The challenge is often determining what will provide a complete balance of the two for the particular audience in that moment.  So….I’d love others thoughts as I go down the list myself…perhaps in this blog we can deem it knowledge sharing:)

“Fear (Be well prepared; use ice breakers, acknowledge fear)”

I’d actually add to making it through the first five minutes.  I’ve often found that if I can just get through the first five minutes, my nerves seem to calm and I begin to settle in.  Being prepared is a given, but finding your own personal groove is a whole other piece.

“Credibility (Don’t apologize; Have an attitude of an expert; Share personal background.)”

You don’t have to know everything, no one knows absolutely everything.  But know your subject well enough and let your knowledge of being a trainer guide the rest.  Allowing yourself to be open to dialogue that contests your opinion can also be powerful:)

“Personal experiences (Report personal experiences; report experiences of others; use analogies, movies, famous people)”

Love this one!  Making it relatable can definitely help to make it stick!

“Difficult learners (Confront problem behavior; circumvent dominating behavior; use small groups for timid behavior)”

Yikes!  This one can be super difficult.

“Participation (ask open-ended questions; plan small group activities; invite participation)”

This can be so huge in making the experience!  But what works for others when folks get…too participative?

“Timing (plan well; practice, practice, practice)”

And even then you may need a back up plan for when your timing ends up off (e.g. too much dialogue, not enough time for exercise, etc.)

“Adjust instruction (know group needs; request feedback; redesign during breaks)”

Please see above:)

“Questions (Answering: Anticipate questions; paraphrase learners’ questions; “I don’t know” is OK) (Asking: ask concise questions; defer to participants)”

Love this!  I can’t begin to tell you what answers have come out of participants that are SO much better than what I could have come up with.  I ALWAYS learn when I teach.

“Feedback (solicit informal feedback; do summative evaluations)”

This is something that I am actually working with someone on now.  While the truth may hurt sometimes, if your goal is to truly provide the best experience possible for your learners, you cannot negate this process.  And consider that word as well, evaluation and feedback is definitely a process.

“Media, materials, facilities (media: know equipment; have back-ups; enlist assistance) (material: be prepared) (facilities: visit facility before-hand; arrive early)”

OMG, I cannot begin to tell you how important this rule of thumb has been for me!!  Electronics can always go haywire.  I’ve experienced a classroom that was set up and did not have a laptop, a missing thumb drive, a non-working remote and a blown bulb.  Life can be so unpredictable!  And there’s nothing like running in to find issues and not having enough time to try and fix them to ensure a smooth program.  Give yourself time, and always have a backup!

“Openings and closings (openings: develop an “openings file; memorize; relax trainees; clarify expectations) (closings: summarize concisely; thank participants)” 

“Dependence on notes (notes are necessary; use cards; use visuals; practice)”

And sometimes just trust your gut that you’ve done enough.  As long as you remember the high points, they will never know what you may have forgotten to say 🙂