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“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Albert Einstein
There are only two immutable rules for a trainer. If training design and delivery honor these two rules, the training experience for the learners will be comfortable, relevant, supportive, and successful.
The first rule is to treat the learner with respect. Respect is a foundational factor in the development and maintenance of a healthy and effective learning environment. It creates feelings of trust and psychological safety that enable learners to relax and be open to learning.
This includes recognizing and respecting the learner’s previous experience, current expertise, and pressing interests and needs. The trainer can discover these through formal training needs assessments, informal e-mail queries or surveys, or introductory questions at the beginning of a session.
The workshop should be tailored to meet the learners’ needs. This also includes respecting the learner’s time by ensuring that there is good, relevant content and appropriate learning activities that build or strengthen necessary skills.
The trainer must also treat the learner with respect when interacting during the session. This means that the trainer needs to be willing to recognize that the learners are thinking adults with a wealth of knowledge and experience, treat them with courtesy and respect, and actively listen and respond nondefensively to their feedback. When trainers treat the learners with respect, they establish and maintain an environment that is conducive to and supportive of learning.
The second rule is to set the learner up for success. Success in an in-person or virtual classroom means that clear learning objectives are met. This requires that the learning objectives are measurable, and their achievement can be easily determined by both the trainer and the learners.
A trainer can do this by building on what the learner already knows; disconnecting any negative transfer; using a variety of learning activities; providing sufficient examples and practice so that the learners can experience and demonstrate their mastery of the new skill; and offering specific and constructive feedback.
The trainer can also set the learner up for success by creating and following a logical lesson plan. The lesson plan should incorporate a check for learner comprehension prior to moving to guided, monitored practice. It should provide sufficient opportunity for independent practice. If trainers do this, their learners will leave their sessions confident in their competence to use what they have learned.
Question: Is there anything you would add to respect and success as a rule for trainers?
May your learning be sweet- and safe.