Tip #87: Auditing Training: Looking at the Learning Facilitation Decisions

The third training decision category is what the trainer will do to facilitate the acquisition of learning. This includes group facilitation and stand up presentation activities.

The findings from an audit of the first three weeks of Motor Vehicle Services Specialist 2 classroom training will help to elaborate on the types of strengths and deficiencies I have observed in this category.

Learning Facilitation Strengths and Deficiencies:

Motivation, or the learner’s intent to learn, is one of the most important factors in successful accomplishment. Dr. Hunter has identified six professional techniques which have high potential for increasing a learner’s motivation or intent to learn: (1) Level of Concern; (2) Feeling Tone; (3) Success; (4) Interest; (5) Knowledge of Results; and (6) Intrinsic-Extrinsic Motivation. Both instructors use many of these techniques very effectively. This week, we will review the last two techniques.

5. Knowledge of Results Strengths

The amount, specificity and immediacy of the feedback that learners receive about their performance is their knowledge of results. When learners find out what they are doing well, what needs to be improved, what to do to improve it, and then feel that there is a reasonable probability that they can improve it- they are motivated to try to accomplish that improvement.

The exams appeared to directly reflect the topics covered in class in the work examples, cases and information that was stressed in lecture. They also required that the trainees use judgment, analysis and knowledge of basic policy, all of which was emphasized in the class activities.

It was clear that the trainees buckled down to study after the second exam results gave them specific feedback about their level of knowledge. The class average score increased from 81 on the second exam to 90 on the third exam.

The instructor ensured that the class would do well on the third exam by deciding to give credit for each correct answer for questions which had more than one correct answer. If she had not scored in this fashion, the trainees who gave one wrong answer would have gotten the entire question wrong. This wise teaching decision helped to increase the trainees’ level of confidence and helped them to focus on the areas in which they needed more information or concentration.

The other instructor provided knowledge of results by noting “See, they got all of that- very good” in response to work group answers. He did this again on the next day when he encouraged the class that “You need to know” about the transfer of license plates ” but you all do.” He reinforced this by asking the class to give him four examples of when an individual’s automobile license plates can be used by someone else according to state policy.

Knowledge of Results Deficiencies:

  • The level of comprehension needs to be checked more thoroughly.

The instructor explained the difference between loan and lease, but he did not give examples to check whether the trainees understood the difference. When a trainee asked him to tell them, he referred her to the manual so she could find it herself. It would be more helpful if he held the trainees accountable for finding the answer by asking for it at that time or later during class.

  • A more participatory process would increase the probability of learning.

The instructor gave examples about credit and then answered his own questions rather than allowing the trainees to respond. He continued by giving situations involving credit, expanding on the situation, and then answering his own question for each new situation.

He changed his approach and allowed the participants to answer his questions in the afternoon. In response to the auditor’s question, he explained that he chose not to give the trainees time to answer the questions when talking about title and registration law because he was covering exceptions that had not been covered earlier in the work problems.

The auditor agrees that the instructor should retain control over the initial presentation of new information, so that the trainees are not confused by wrong answers. However, when the information is later expanded upon and applied to new situations, it is then appropriate to have the trainees participate in identifying the correct answer.

  • It is possible to increase the class participation to check their comprehension.

First, it would be helpful if the instructor increased his use of trainee names in his work examples, rather than using his own so frequently. This would raise their level of interest and gain their attention.

Second, it would be helpful if he called on and used the names of the people in the last two rows and the non volunteers, to ensure that they understand and can apply the information.

Third, it would also be helpful if he called on those involved in side conversations, particularly in the back of the room, to be sure that they heard and understood the answer.

6. Intrinsic-Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation exists when satisfaction from the activity is the learner’s primary goal. When a learner is learning in order to achieve some result from having accomplished that learning, the learner is operating from a more extrinsic motivation.

The trainees were certainly motivated by extrinsic factors. They were concerned with getting good grades on the exams, completing the training, and becoming knowledgeable in the technical content of the training. However, they also clearly enjoyed the interactive and participative process of learning. As a result, the trainees’ interest and motivation to learn remained strong throughout the full three and a half weeks of initial classroom training.

This is directly attributable to both instructors’ professional use of the other five motivational factors during the training.

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