Training Tips Thursday is going to be a new regular feature on my blog. After taking a bit of time out of my training career to focus on being Mummy, I’m returning to that type of work again. So, because of that, I thought I would share some of my knowledge and experiences. Hopefully this will be a useful read for other trainers and possibly, at times, an interesting read for those who have participated in training.

Training Tip #1 – Plan but don’t be afraid to ditch the plan.

I never deliver training without having a fairly comprehensive training plan. Whether the training session is part of a year long course, leading to a qualification or whether it’s a one day course on a specific topic, I always have a plan. My training plans do vary from course to course but on the whole my plan is broken down into:

  • what I will cover in each section,
  • resources I need,
  • activities I will involve the learners in and
  • rough timings for each section of the course.

When I make a plan I like to stick to it but sometimes I just can’t.

In my experience there are a few reasons for this:

The learners might not be at the level I’m expecting.

I delivered training for a local authority for many years and this issue went both ways. Sometimes I had a group where a lot of members of the course just weren’t ready for the training. Sometimes they didn’t have enough experience or hadn’t completed prior training required for them to be on the course. There were also times when the people on the course genuinely already knew a lot of what I planned to train them on, so I needed to adapt my plan.

The news that day was particularly pertinent to my course.

This could be the case in a number of training sessions and happened to me on a few occasions. It would have been short-sighted to stick to my plan and use old examples or case studies when there is a very current example in the public eye.

The training has raised questions for learners about their work practice.

If those questions are obviously relevant to the rest of the group then I always think it’s important to give those questions time.

The group aren’t getting on.

This happened on one of my year long courses where the group met regularly over the year. This meant putting the learning to one side completely for one of the sessions and just getting to the bottom of the problem and moving the group on from it. A lot of the training I delivered on this course involved group discussion and it wasn’t effective while the group couldn’t get on so it was pointless continuing unless they could work together.

When I experienced all of these things I was nearly always co-facilitating, so the challenges were fairly easy to address because we could split the group if needed or one of us could be scribbling notes on the plan to change the next activity, while the other one was delivering. It’s harder to adapt and plan on the fly when you are facilitating alone but I think it’s still important to be flexible with your delivery.

Next Week

Training Tips Thursday #2 will be about being honest with your learners.