Bill Cottringer

Here are the ten best common sense principles to understand and apply in order to improve the quality of your training efforts and the actual results you get:

1. Separate “training” from “teaching” in your mind and presentation style. Teaching is presenting ideas, fine tuning thinking, exploring understanding, and planting seeds for later cultivation and harvest; training involves providing critical information and hands-on experience aimed at improving performance to assure maximum productivity on the job.

2. Before you begin, find out what people know and can do and what they don’t know or can’t do, so you can concentrate on improving what they don’t know and can’t do. Know your trainees well enough to customize the training to them. Sometimes it is a good idea to give a pre-test (to find out what is known) and then a post-test to measure the actual learning and progress that was made on a topic as a result of the training.

3. Keep in mind the most effective training and learning occur through refresher training and re-learning something better than a person already knows. New information and skills often take intense one-on-one explanation, demonstration and practice.

4. Figure out how to accommodate people’s preferred learning styles—visually through pictures ,auditorily through clear, simple written and verbal instructions, and kinesthetically through physical materials to work with.

5. Avoid the common tendency to try and train the person on too many things. Overload will reduce understanding and retention.
6. Always prepare your materials ahead of time and have extra activities to do if things run quicker than you expect. Also, test out the technology beforehand!

7. Develop a good test to administer to measure both knowledge retention and skill improvement as a result of your training. Without that, you can never know for sure the value of what you have done.

8. Document all training carefully, especially training required by licensure. Documentation should include the trainee’s name and signature, the trainer’s name and signature (Certified trainer too if different), the exact dates of training, the subjects/topics the person was trained on, the number of training credit hours, and a scored signed test answer sheet. This is the minimum requirements for any training documentation.

9. Develop a simple one-page training evaluation to measure the quality and impact of the training, Ask for practical feedback from the trainees as to what went well and what could be improved for better results and whether or not they would recommend others go through the same training (a real tell-tale sign). But don’t ask for feed back you won’t use. Use it to learn & improve.

10. Realize the enthusiasm you show for the training you do, out-speaks any great content you have to offer or your fantastic expertise. When you convey the love you have for the subjects of which you are training, it is contagious.

Author's Bio: 

Bill Cottringer is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA. He is also author of several personal and professional books, the latest of which are "Reality Repait Rx" and "Do What Matters Most. He can be reached at 425-454-5011 or bcottringer@pssp.net