It is true that “everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t”- Bill Nye. It is important for people to continue to learn, grow, and develop moving into the future. People constantly learn and grow each day whether they are aware of it or not, through life experiences, classrooms, conferences, seminars, webinars, etc. Many people have dedicated their lives to learning & education. It is imperative that when new things are discovered and developed that we are able to pass down & transfer that knowledge to the many. That is why training and development is such an important pillar for each company.
Andragogy is the discipline that studies how adults learn. It is based on five assumptions (Self-Concept, Experience, Readiness to learn, Orientation to learning, and Motivation to learn). When working in training it is very important that you get your audience in the right mindset. An individual must be both willing to learn and have the ability to achieve the learning objectives. If employees are required to attend a training program and they already have a strong understanding of the topic, then they will have no motivation to attend and learning will most likely not occur. Additionally if an individual is required to attend a training program on something new and innovative but has the perception that there will be no support for their new knowledge when they return, their learning will suffer as well. I guess the point I am trying to make with all of this is that as a trainer you have to understand your audience, their existing knowledge, and what you can do to help them.
As a trainer you are going to face barriers and obstacles. Some people have a low tolerance for change, some have a lack of trust in the information, some people are influenced by peer pressure and what their co-workers or colleagues are discussing on the topic. So, it is important that you address these barriers early on in the training. This is why you must work hard to get your audience in the right mindset to learn and absorb the information you are trying to transfer. You want your audience to understand that you are there to help them in a way that is conducive to their specific needs. It is also important for a trainer to understand the different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Different people have different preferences and it is important that when working in training you use all three to help increase the retention of the information.
So in the end, you must be able to show your audience what is in it for them; how this training is going to help them be more successful in their role today! You need to earn their trust and build your credibility by demonstrating your understanding of their needs. You must also be wary not to treat your audience as ignorant on the subject matter, if they feel that you are condescending in your methods and approach to teaching then you have lost them and no learning will occur. Adults are tricky audiences to master, but once you have created that participative program that gives them hands on experience, then you have reached your goal as a trainer. What training challenges have you faced in your organization?