Training is the process of taking a learner from A to B so they learn a new skill – simple eh?! Well, training is a science and can be done well, terribly and everything in between. Training methodologies and the science behind designing training has and is being constantly developed. To ensure that we access the best training we possibly can for ourselves, our teams and our businesses, it’s important to understand what those in the industry are talking about so you can choose, and buy, wisely.
I’ve been in sessions with training professionals, where so many acronyms are used it sounds like a foreign language if you aren’t in the know…….so, I thought a whistle stop tour around the ‘lingo’ of training could be an interesting exercise.
The term learning styles means that we all learn differently. Technically, an individual’s learning style refers to the way they prefer to learn, which is usually the way they learn best. There are deemed to be five core learning styles;
Visual : You prefer using pictures and images. Words on a PowerPoint presentation would be better exchanged for images and colour.
Aural (auditory): You prefer using sound and music and are happy to sit and listen to the trainer without need to take lots of notes.
Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing, so you probably love group discussions during training and learn well from debates with your peers.
Physical (kinaesthetic): You like to be active, you may learn best by ‘doing’ and putting the theory into practice
Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems, linear training that provides flow charts and check lists might work best for this learning style
An additional consideration is that we tend to fall in to two categories,
1) Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people so a workshop where you break into groups and are given plenty of discussion time will work brilliantly and in contrast to a solitary learning style.
2) Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study. A distance learning or e-learning course might be an effective way for this style to learn effectively.
A good trainer will deliver content that aims to engage all these styles during the course of a session, a great trainer will try to identify styles before the session by asking learners to complete a learning styles questionnaire in advance so the content can be tailored accordingly.
A blended learning approach can be very effective within any training programme. There is a school of thought that with advances in technology our Selective sustained attention, (also known as focused attention, which is the level of attention that produces the consistent results on a task over time) is declining, although most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 20 minutes at a time. This is critical for trainers when designing content. Blended learning really helps here as well designed training should incorporate many different forms of delivery, for example:
Classroom Training that incorporates these points and more! Trainer lead, group work, individual work, practical sessions, class participation, peer learning. The environment is very important, is there natural daylight and fresh air!?
E-learning or online learning – reading background before training, follow up training, further research.
Independent Study time guided by the trainer/material skills developed during the classroom/workshop experience. This also incorporates ‘on the job’ training (great for those who are ‘Kinesthetic’ learners who learn best by doing!).
Accelerated Learning – what is this? How can the word usually associated with 0 – 60mph have any relevance to training?
Accelerated learning is sometimes marketed as:
Speeding up and enhancing learning
Shortening training time
Creating exceptional learning results
Some of the above are absolutely true of a well-designed ‘accelerated learning programme’, However, this should come with a health warning as often there are no short cuts. Accelerated learning can be a term used by providers trying to save money/time by creating larger courses reducing classroom time and even removing content. True accelerated learning will take many aspects of ‘blended learning’ into account i.e. provide training for individuals in a way that is most effective for them, by delivering training in a style that connects with their learning style and using a blend of different delivery methods i.e. can e-learning be added for modules where self-directed learning can work as effectively as a classroom session?
How Training is changing?
Training used to be far more ‘Conventional’ that covered essential work-related skills, techniques and knowledge. Training would be ‘chalk and talk’ with a trainer speaking for most of the time while trainees sat in rows, mopping their brows while they scribbled notes as fast as they could, in an airless room with strip-light artificial white lighting. The Training industry has been on a positive, progressive journey and although this type of training might still exist (and occasionally have its place), this sort of traditional ‘training’ is now hopefully in a minority of training experiences!
This journey has led to a realisation that the most effective way to develop people is quite different from conventional skills training, which it’s generally regarded quite negatively by employees/Franchisees. They’ll do it of course, but they won’t enjoy it much because it’s about work, not about themselves as people. The most effective way to develop people is instead to enable learning and personal development, with all that this implies.
So, from the outset and Induction Training for franchisees – the focus needs to be on enabling learning and development for people as individuals – which extends the range of development way outside traditional work skills and knowledge, and creates far more exciting, liberating, motivational opportunities – for people and for employers/ Franchisee’s/Franchisors. Emotion will always win over logic, so when training people, it’s key that the trainer outlines ‘what’s in it’ for the trainee, whether it be a course they need to attend for compliance or the start of an exciting personal journey.
Franchisors are facing intense pressure to change, to facilitate and encourage whole-person development and fulfilment, with the aim of speeding up the route to success for their Franchisees.
Bio of contributor:
Laura Harvey-Smith is Head of Training for the Franchising Centre and passionate about all things training and development. The Franchising Centre offers and one stop shop for training needs to all in the Franchise Industry, offering training audits, classroom based workshops and Masterclasses through to Coaching and Mentoring Programmes on everything from Business skills to personal and Professional Development.