I have been fascinated with the question “What makes a great trainer (or adult educator)”? for years. Through exploring research, examining my own practice, and evaluating hundreds of other trainers, I formulated a set of effective training behaviors. I used these behaviors as the basis for an assessment tool called Elevate Your Training! Assessing Training Skills in Your Organization, which will be available soon.
This article is your “appetizer”. Enjoy!
Four Dimensions of Effective Training
Across diverse industries, effective adult educators consistently model a few specific behaviors. These behaviors tend to fall into four dimensions.
- Carefully prepare for a successful educational experience, instead of just hoping that one will occur.
- Maintain abundant participation from the beginning to the end of the class.
- Strive to perfect their platform skills.
- Effectively manage their classrooms, demonstrating appropriate levels of both dominant and cooperative behavior with participants.
Let’s take a quick look at Dimension #2, “Maintaining Abundant Participation”. I have included five behaviors within this dimension. Most adult educators might very well come up with a similar list of behaviors. But my challenge is this: Do you, and others on your team, consistently model all the behaviors that fall into this dimension?
My bias: Only those educators who consistently perform all these skills can be considered “facilitators of learning”. (Otherwise, they are simply “presenters”.) As adult educators, we must be clear about what we do, and honest in the language we use.
Maintaining Abundant Participation
The trainer/adult educator:
- Encourages class-wide participation, using words, body language, and affect.
- Integrates individual, pair, and small group activities in which participants process training content for the majority of classroom time.
- Responds to participants’ non-verbal cues and behaviors.
- Elicits responses from all participants, not just the more verbal ones.
- Integrates opportunities to plan how students will apply new information or skills to their roles outside the classroom.
- Asks open-ended questions. Waits for a response before re-phrasing the question.
- Finds ways to meaningfully engage participants who finish tasks first.
I’ll soon make the entire Elevate Your Training! Assessing Training Skills in Your Organization Tool available. It will be formatted in a way that will make it easy for you and others to assess each others’ skills in real time. My goal is for you to support each other while building a world-class training team for your organization.
Happy training to all!