Leading Edge Training Solutions

training trainers, supervisors and their teams

train the trainer

Improving Training Outcomes

I was invited to present a workshop at the March 2012 conference of the Australian Association for the Manual Handling of People, along with the Moving and Handling Association of New Zealand. The conference was titled Challenging the Boundaries and had a heavy emphasis on training and education in this field. I chose to run with the topic ‘Improving Training Outcomes’

While I was researching for my topic I came across a forum of training and Education practitioners discussing the topic ‘What are the most important reasons for training failures’ I decided to analyse the hundreds of responses to the discussion and came up with what seemed to be regarded by the practitioners as the top things we should do to Improve our training outcomes. Most of these top 6 dovetailed with my initial brainstorm for the content of my workshop and I was able to use them as a research based framework for my content.

I have started a discussion forum with those who attended the workshop to tease out the content and to put into practice the issue that was number 1 - Ongoing follow up and coaching after the training event. Let me know if you are interested in knowing more.

moving and handling

Humour in training

I recently joined an online forum for Training Practitioners; its one of those things you might consider to help you see what fellow trainers are thinking in other parts of the word. I was attracted by a a discussion on ‘Incorporating fun/humour into training’ So I joined in, most folk agreed that they found spontaneous humour helpful and there were some interesting ideas to plan in some chuckles. I thought I would share my contribution here :-

‘Part of it I think is about knowing yourself and what works best for you. I don’t remember jokes and would not deliver a good punchline, but there are people who do. Most stand-up comedians spend a lot of time rehearsing their lines and the timing is important to them. As for me, rehearsing would be a disaster, I am spontaneous. But I do know that my spontaneous humour works best when I know the people I am with, so I invest in getting to know and relax with my course participants before the course. How? A few emails going between us prior to the course, being there with them having coffee/tea before the course, instead of standing up front reading my notes, a fun warm up activity fairly early on. So in a sense I have prepared the way for my spontaneous humour. And then there are those short video clips or comic strips salted into the presentation, carefully chosen to make a learning point, introduce a topic, but at the same time signalling that you have a sense of humour and we are going to have fun.’

You will find the full discussion


Does technology scare you, as a trainer?

Well it doesn’t seem to scare Purdy, the office cat, she’s all over the keyboard and off course the mouse; she has even been trained to watch the printing.

Personally, I love technology and can find my away around most situations when it doesn’t behave. But even in this day and age when computers are part of everyones lives, not everyone chooses to become fully literate with their hardware and software. One cant blame them, there is more to life than that and the field changes so quickly.

Crammed on the trainer’s table at our recent training for trainers course was a projector, amplified speakers, two macbooks, a camera, cellphone, remote controls and off course all the connecting wires. Over the years I’ve had to deal with laptops not talking to projectors, flash drives not showing up on the computer, video clips not opening on the available software, VGA connectors needing an adapter and recently a ‘keynote’ presentation created in the latest version of the software not opening on a computer with the previous version.

What’s the solution? Well, for me it’s 1.Take my own laptop and projector, even if there is a built-in system at the venue, 2. Checklist to make sure I have all the hardware I need (including that little adapter that I have left behind before, and the power lead) Have multiple video clip playback programs (quicktime, VLC, MPEG streamclip etc) 3. Save my presentations on multiple media (hard drive, flashdrive, CD/DVD) If you have created your presentation with the latest version of software and you are presenting on someone else’s computer you could use the ‘save as’ function to save a second copy in a previous version.

Overkill? feel free to join in the discussion to share your presentation horror stories or to give your ideas to cover all the bases.

trainer technology

Music in Learning Environments

Music is never far from me, whether it be a song sung whilst strumming my guitar, itunes playing whilst working at my computer, or a whistle whilst waiting in a supermarket queue. (interestingly this often creates comment)

So it’s only natural that I would use music within a training course. Music can help to set the tone as delegates arrive and mingle before the course starts, or when they return from breaks. Music can also provide a backdrop during small group breakaway sessions. Researchers have shown the benefits to the learning process if music of the right tempo is played during teaching or learning. Students studying for exams have long used music to enhance their learning environments.

A question about music in training by a delegate to our recent ‘IMPACT training for trainers’ course led me to look at the subject a little closer. As a result I have a number or articles on the subject I could recommend to those interested. I have also purchased some baroque guitar music created specifically for learning environments (it makes great background music when you invite your friends over for dinner as well Happy

Feel free to share your own experiences here and to contact me for more info.


Training for Computer Software Trainers

Many trainers get to become trainers because they are good at the subject they are training. This is often the case with training of technical skills, and would be true of computer software. Some people are naturals when it comes to coaching and encouraging others. Some are not. Whether you are a natural teacher or if learners ‘try your patience’, learning the principles of adult learning and the tools of the trainer will go a long way to helping you enjoy the teaching experience. You will also achieve the satisfaction of a good learning outcome.

We recently had an opportunity to combine the skills and material we have running ‘train the trainer’ courses, with the experience some of us have of teaching computer literacy. The outcome has been a ‘train the trainer course for computer software trainers’. The course has been refined over several months of application and we now have a product that is ‘tailor made’ for those who, on a full time basis or as part of their regular functions, impart their computer software skills to others. We welcome enquiries as to how we can work with your Organisation, or for the possibility of a pubic course.

For details of the learning outcomes for this course follow this link.


Train the trainer makes an impact

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your training? One of the best known frameworks for distinguishing between different types of evaluation comes from Donald Kirkpatrick. He constructed a four level hierarchy of evaluation, each of which is relevant and provides useful information to measure the success of a training intervention.

At level 1 learner reaction to the training is measured, at level 2 learning during the course is assessed. Level 3 measures behaviour change back on the job and level 4 evaluation deals with the impact the training has on the organisation. This is the difficult one to measure, but it’s not impossible.

Those who attend an Impact training for trainers course regularly give us great feedback on what they think of the course (level 1) and demonstrate their new skills by presenting during and at the end of the course. (level 2) They and their managers report improved approaches to course development and presentation. (level 3) As for level 4, we as training consultants are not called upon to undertake before and after impact studies, and most people don’t, so we cant say.

Trainers, like teachers are in a unique position to impact the people in their care, and well trained staff are undoubtably having an impact on their organisations.

I would love to hear, and report in this blog, how some trainers have gone about measuring and documenting the success of their training interventions.

train the trainer courses

A new season for IMPACT! Training for Trainers course

My association with the IMPACT course goes back nine years. The PIC (Performance Improvement Centre) was part of the Auckland College of Education and I was 'at the right place at the right time.' I was co-opted in to the team to help edit and write some of the material before it was sent to the publishers. As an associate of the PIC I was called in from time to time to facilitate IMPACT train the trainer and other PIC courses.

So whilst I am sad that Tom and Susan will be shutting the doors on PIC at this time, I am delighted and privileged to have been entrusted to fly the IMPACT flag for this season. We at Leading Edge Training wish Tom and Susan all the best in their respective new ventures. We look forward to working with the PIC clients who have supported and valued IMPACT over the many years of it's excellent service to New Zealand Trainers.

Impact training for trainers