It’s wonderful when a company has a high performing subject matter expert (SME) who can train other employees. It’s wonderful, that is, if the SME knows how adults learn and how to design an effective and engaging skill-building program. Unfortunately, training skills are not in many SMEs’ wheelhouses and the consequences to the company can be dire.
Consider the last safety training your SME provided. If the participants were bored and tuned out, it is highly likely that safety violations will occur.
There are seven red flags that tell you your SME trainer needs help:
- The SME only lectures. Lecture can provide information, but it doesn’t build skills. Participants need to do something with what they’ve heard, otherwise 56% is forgotten within an hour!
- The SME is reading from the PowerPoint. The SME either has his or her back to the audience or isn’t looking at them. The PowerPoint slides are text heavy, which is counter to effective PowerPoint design. The PowerPoint should supplement the training, not comprise the training.
- The participants don’t have a workbook. They need something to refer to in the future besides a printout of the PowerPoint deck. The workbook activity pages keep the participants actively engaged and later serve as a job aid.
- The participants don’t have an opportunity to work with the new information to show that they understand and can apply what they’ve learned. For example, the participants may not be able to literally practice safely stacking different sized crates, but they can problem solve case studies to check their understanding of safety procedures.
- The participants aren’t paying attention. If the SME is droning on, and there’s nothing for the participants to do, it’s easy for the participants to become distracted and tune out.
- The participant evaluations of the SME are negative. If the participants don’t like the training, that should tell you something about its effectiveness.
- The participants don’t change their behavior back on the job. This is the final and most telling indicator that the training was ineffective. Training is intended to develop skills or change attitudes. If there is no evidence that either occurred, it is clear that the training hasn’t achieved its desired outcome.
Set your SME trainers up for success by sending them to my train-the-trainer program.
May your learning be sweet- and safe.
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