Throughout the course of my career, I have felt the huge difference between being a trainer and a trainee.
After having delivered a reasonable number of courses, I know that each trainee has his or her own perceptions, motivations, needs, and expectations from a course subject, and also from the trainer delivering the course.
Usually, attendees receive an invitation from their HR department to attend a specific course, along with the related necessary details such as venue, time, and duration. The list may also include the trainer’s bio and the expected course learning outcomes.
Each trainee has his or her own agenda and objectives when it comes to being part of any course. Some trainees look for a way to change their daily work routine, and others tend to go for any course just to have fun and stay away from their job responsibilities.
A reasonable number of trainees still have a passion to learn and enhance their knowledge. However, a combination of all those purposes may be the case for a majority of trainees.
Prior to a trainees’ nomination, HR has to determine the employee’s training needs. This process differs from organisation to organisation, depending on the system adopted. Some prepare a list of all training to be offered each year and then seek managers’ input in terms of their subordinates’ nominations.
Other organisations may develop another process by initially seeking managers’ participation to list their people’s training needs. Best practice indicates the crucial contribution of each employee to specify learning needs according to skills and knowledge sought.
The trainer plays an important role in delivering a successful course, but the trainees are inevitably much more accountable when it comes to achieving the course learning outcomes.
To make sure the learning process is meaningful, trainees should have pre-course preparations, and above all, a willingness to get the most out of the training sessions.
Here I present some of the most important tips for helping trainees cope with training requirements and variables in three stages: pre-course, during, and post-course preparations and actions.
- Trainees need to inform colleagues about being away from their desk for a few days, to avoid distractions and avoid delaying transactions that could be referred to someone else instead of being kept until the trainee resumes work. Trainees should change their office status to “away from desk” or similar.
- Trainees need to have a general idea of the course subject and any other necessary information. Preparing a list of inquiries and questions will definitely maximize the benefits of the course.
During the course
- Comply with the trainer’s ground rules.
- Pay attention by being engaged in all discussions, activities, and role-play exercises.
- Listen attentively not only to the trainer but to other trainees’ comments and questions.
- Support other trainees when help is sought and get them on track whenever they deviate from the purpose of the session.
- Don’t fear asking the trainer to repeat a complicated section or ask a question that supplements the topic under discussion.
- Take the initiative to summarize the contents by the end of the course to highlight main points observed and others that need further explanation either through further communication or future courses.
- Record the trainer’s contact details in case future enquiries need to be made.
- Go through the course material on the same day, or at the latest the following day, to enhance and confirm knowledge gained while it’s fresh in the mind.
- Once possible, speak to colleagues about the course contents and demonstrate your understanding. The best way to ensure your comprehension level of any topic is to deliver it to others.
- Reflect on and implement what was learnt to incubate new actions and reactions.
- Investigate other courses that could complement what you have been taught.