HPISC Client Impact Stories

All my SMEs need is a lesson on Adult Learning Principles

Find out how Marta discovers the right solution almost by accident by requesting your copy of the impact story below:

During a weekly L & D staff meeting, Marta learned that her boss hired a consulting firm to help qualify their SMEs as OJT Trainers.  Hmm, she thought.  When the consultant is on site next week, I will approach her about helping me qualify my technical SMEs.   My due date is coming fast.

“So, I heard that one of your modules is on adult learning principles.  Can I come in and watch you deliver that piece?” Marta asked the consultant.

“Sure, of course.  May I ask what you plan to get out of it?” replied the consultant.

“Oh.  I have to train SMEs on how to deliver content from a vendor and I’ve been told they have to be qualified”, she answered.

“I see.  Are they already qualified on the content?” the consultant asked.

“Yes. That part of the training has already been delivered.  You see, CAPA 123 is huge and has all these parts to it.  But in order to close out the CAPA, the rest of the organization needs to attend the training on the newly redesigned quality system.  The corrective action was to overhaul the quality system and then get SMEs to deliver it to their departments.  You know, train the trainer kind of roll out,” she explained.

“Yes, that is a popular way to distribute the responsibility for training so that it doesn’t fall to just one person.  So, can you tell me again what is your part in the CAPA?” asked the consultant.

“According to our training SOP, trainers need to be qualified and that means they attend some kind of course or workshop on how to train.  I don’t think sending them to your entire OJT workshop is needed, but they could use some tips on teaching adults and I can deliver that module after I visit your session, if you don’t mind”, she informed the consultant.

“Marta, you are more than welcomed to sit in on that portion of the course tomorrow and you are right, your SMEs don’t need to attend this workshop at all.  It’s for OJT trainers and designed uniquely for life as a qualified trainer “back on the job”.  What you are describing is a classroom session.  And that is a totally different set of skills.  Adult learning principles give you insight when working with adults.  It doesn’t make you a qualified classroom presenter”.

Marta’s Real Challenge Revealed

“But I don’t have time to develop a classroom presentation skills course and the ones I googled have all this extra content on designing power points”, extorted Marta.

“Hey, Marta, I have a possible solution.  I have an hour lunch break tomorrow during my OJT workshop.  Come downstairs and I will show you a course that I developed for SME Classroom Facilitators that I think will work for your situation”, offered the consultant.

Marta arrived a little early the next day and after the attendees left for lunch, the consultant propped up her iPAD in display mode.  Each slide was viewed and Marta asked design questions to evaluate fit and ease of use. 

“I think this will work”, she said with a big smile on her face.  “So can you deliver this next week?  The CAPA needs to be closed in two weeks and the SMEs still have to deliver their sessions” requested Marta.

Marta’s Dilemma Continues

“Next week? But I’m already here next week delivering more OJT SME workshops”, informed the consultant.

“This stinks.  I finally found a course that works for me and you are already booked.  Just my luck!”, retorted Marta.

“Hang on, I have an idea.  Since you are already an experienced classroom trainer, all you need is a knowledge transfer on the design of this course, right? So, I can create an audio tutorial of me delivering the course.  It would be like you sitting in my class.  But, you cannot send this out to the SMEs and call it training, okay? It must be instructor lead face to face”, urged the consultant.

Finally a solution to my problem

Marta couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  “This is way better than borrowing a module from the OJT workshop” she said aloud.  They confirmed again that she would listen to it, take notes and arrange for a 1 hour follow up discussion for any concerns or additional questions.   She left the lunch meeting and happily provided the update to her boss who approved of the plan. 

Comfortable with the design as planned, Marta discovered additional opportunities to add her own style into the delivery and continued to tailor the workshop to meet the needs of her SMEs; not just technical SMEs in general.

End Results

Being able to deliver two different customized workshops to qualify SMEs in their assigned tasks helped the L & D department succeed in their CAPA deliverables and hence the SMEs were then successful in their task to close out the CAPA on time.

Business Alignment of Organizational Needs

Request the PDF Version below to learn how four levels of needs were aligned with this project solution.

Lesson Learned/ Insights for the Client

SMEs as Classroom Facilitators require a different skill set than OJT QTs.  It’s less about the SMEs need to lecture the content and more about managing the classroom, the learners needs, the clock and still meet the objectives of the learning event.  In other words, it’s about managing the learning experience of the learners.  This skill set does not come naturally to technical SME.

“Listening to the audio was like having you here with me.  I could see you in my mind as well as have you in my head.  I can’t thank you enough!”

Marta, QA L&D Training Specialist
PDF Version: Business Alignment of needs included in the PDF.

Who is the Author, Vivian Bringslimark?

HPISC Library has articles, impact stories and white papers.

Step Away from the Podium Abstract: Corrective actions for CAPAs are driving the need for more training to be delivered. But with shrinking budgets, reduced L & D staff, and more workload in less time, companies are reaching out to their internal subject matter experts (SMEs).

Curious about the differences between Classroom SMEs and OJT SMEs? Allow me to answer / Send you additional information

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