As a trainer you live in a box world. Policy is a box. The law is a box. Your budget is a box. Your syllabus is a box. The hours you get for training are a box.
You have a set number of hours, a set budget, and a set number of trainers to teach a specific curriculum. That is a box.
You live in a box so thinking outside the box may not serve you very well. The challenge for you is to think and thrive within the box world where you live.
“How do I do that” you ask. Start by cleaning out the box and get rid of the things in there that are taking up space and not serving you or the people you have the privilege to train. Start by getting rid of “That is the way we have always done it” and “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These two outdated peices keep you from diving deeper into the box to see what else you need to get rid of and how you can rearrange what you have in your box.
At an Academy level the entire recruit syllabus is one big box, filled with smaller boxes for each of the core areas taught during the Academy. If you have the ability to clean out and rearrange that entire box then do it. Sit down with the curriculum design people, the subject matter resources and the research on learning and ask the group, “How do we apply the research on learning to help us rearrange and update the material in this box to enhance the manner in which it is taught to maximize the competence, confidence and learning of the participants?”
What if however, you are like many trainers and do not have the ability to rearrange the entire box? You are simply handed one of the smaller boxes and told to teach this content to this many people, in this block of time. What do you do then? Start by taking the box and dumping everything out on the table. Now, use the research on learning to put things back into the box in a manner that will create the best learning environment for the participants. This may mean changing the order of the material and will most likely mean changing the manner in which the material is delivered. You may not have the ability to change the box (time allotted, budget for equipment, facilities, etc) but you can change how you use and deliver what is in the box to enhance the learning experience.
What’s Important Now? – Find a way for you and the people attending your training to thrive within the box world you live in.
Note: Two books which do a very good job of covering the research on learning are Make it Stick and How We Learn. There is also a MOOC on Learning How to Learn offered by Coursera (free if you do not need a certificate). In the Excellence in Training Academy Member’s Area there are interviews with Peter Brown, the lead author of Make it Stick, Bob Bragg on the Six Myths of Motor Learning and Dr. Tim Lee on The Science of Skills learning. If you are not a member yet, go to www.excellenceintrainingacademy.com and join today. Use the code eitblog to get the first month’s membership (Individual or Training Unit) free.
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