Many QA /HR Training Managers have the responsibility for providing a train-the-trainer course for their designated trainers. While some companies send their folks to public workshop offerings, many chose to keep the program in-house. And then an interesting phenomenon occurs. The course content grows with an exciting and overwhelming list of learning objectives.
The supervisors of these SMEs struggle with the loss of productivity for the 2 – 3 day duration and quickly develop a “one and done” mindset. Given the invitation to “train” newly identified SMEs as Trainers, the QA Trainer gets one opportunity to teach them how to be trainers. So s/he tends to add “a lot of really cool stuff” to the course in the genuine spirit of sharing, all justifiable in the eyes of the designer. However, there is no hope in breaking this adversarial cycle if the Training Manager doesn’t know how to cut his/her own content.
From 16 to 8 to two 4hr blocks of time
I used to deliver a two-day (16 hour) workshop for OJT Trainers. I included all my favorite topics. Yes, the workshop was long. Yes, I loved teaching these concepts. I honestly believed that knowing these “extra” learning theory concepts would make my OJT SMEs better trainers. Yes, I was in love with own my content. And then one day, all that changed.
Do they really need to know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
During a rapid design session I was leading, I got questioned on the need to know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As I began to deliver my auto-explanation, I stopped mid-sentence. I had an epiphany. My challenger was right. Before I continued with my response, I feverishly racked my brain thinking about the training Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) we revised, the forms we created, and reminded myself of the overall goal of the S-OJT Program. I was searching for that one moment during an OJT session when Maslow was really needed. When would an OJT Qualified Trainer use this information back on the job, if ever I asked myself?
It belongs in the Intermediate Qualified Trainers Curriculum, I said out loud. In that moment, that one-question exercise was like a laser beam cutting out all nice-to-know content. I eventually removed up to 50% of the content from the workshop!
Oh, but what content do we keep?
Begin with the overall goal of the training program, not just the TTT course: a defendable and reproducible methodology for OJT. The process is captured in the redesigned SOPs and does not need to be repeated in the workshop.
Seek agreement with key stakeholders on what the OJT QTs are expected to do after the workshop is completed. If these responsibilities are not strategic or high priority, then the course will not add any business value. Participation remains simply a means to check the compliance box. Capture these expectations as performance outcomes.
Once there is an agreement with the stated performance outcomes, align the learning objectives to match these.
Performance outcomes are not the same thing as learning objectives
Some folks might say that I’m mincing words, but I beg to differ. The expectations for training delivery are that participants learn the content, aka learning objectives, and then use or apply them back on the job thus improving departmental /organizational performance. Are you providing the training and then keeping your fingers crossed that they can deliver on their performance outcomes? Are you including practice activities within the workshop? This ensures that learners have an opportunity to begin the transfer process. And the facilitator is able to complete formative assessments in real-time while providing immediate feedback where needed.
Yes, there is still ample room in the course for learning theory, but it is tailored for the need to know only topics. When challenged to add certain topics, the instructional designer now refers to the performance objectives and ranks the consequences of not including the content in the workshop against the objectives and business goals for the overall program.
What happens when the Instructor is over-ruled by their boss? Read Robert’s learning journey here.
What is the value of the written assessment?
With the growing demand for training effectiveness, the addition of a written test was supposed to illustrate the commitment to compliance expectations around effectiveness and evaluation. To meet this client’s need, I put on my former teacher hat and created a 10 question open book written assessment. This addition resulted in needing additional time to execute and hence, more content was cut to accommodate the classroom duration.
My second epiphany occurred during the same rapid design project, albeit a few weeks later. What is the purpose of the classroom written assessment when back on the job the OJT QTs are expected to deliver (perform) OJT; not just know it from memory?
The true measure of effectiveness for the workshop is whether they can deliver OJT according to the methodology, not whether they retained 100% of the course content! So I removed the knowledge test and created a qualification activity for the OJT QTs to demonstrate their retained knowledge in a simulated demonstration using their newly redesigned OJT checklist. If I’m asking for 8 hours of time to deliver a workshop, it must be value-added. -VB
Find out what happens when the most critical aspect of a course is “accidentally” left out.
I’ve fired my vendor! Can you help me? |HPISC Impact Story
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Who is Vivian Bringslimark?
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