Thursday, February 27, 2014

What I learnt about training - from buying a new car....

Always great fun to drive off in new wheels - but boy, did I get an empathy wake-up call about how learners experience new skills.  Yes, I am an experienced (old) driver, with lots of mileage on me.  Nonetheless, the world keeps spinning and cars are not what they used to be....

So, my timely reminders are:

1. It all looks so easy when the trainer explains it to you.  Yes, seems so straightforward when you are an observer.  When the trainer leaves and you are in traffic, working out where the indicator is and how to get in to reverse, it is not as simple as it seems.

So big AHA for me is:

Follow the DEDICT model because rapid-fire explanations of new skills just waft over people's heads - 



Demonstrate Slowly




2. Allow for question time.  If all the instructions descend on a learner without time for questions, the learning is simply not embedded.  If the learner is not asking questions, they are not absorbing the information.  Prompt them to ask questions as they might be fearful of showing themselves up as not being up to speed on things.

Research shows that the best way of reviewing your work before an exam, is to respond to questions.  If you ask yourself questions about the information, and practice recalling that information, this will greatly improve your ability to recall items on the test.

3. Build your empathy quotient.  Yes, you as a trainer know the material backwards and forwards.  You have been through it several times and can probably do it in your sleep.  BUT your learner is not in that fortunate position - they might be seeing things for the very first time and might be at the stages of unconscious or conscious INcompetence. 

They are experiencing feelings ranging from fear through to nervousness and even anxiety.
If we do not acknowledge these feelings, we risk undermining their confidence and as the stress factor rises, so retention decreases. 

4. Building confidence is sometimes more important than the skills themselves!  When the learners feel good about themselves, they are more likely to try out the new skills in many different contexts.  

When the vehicle was at a standstill, I had time to think through all the options.  When I was out on the road and the circumstances varied, suddenly moments of panic emerge as I encountered situations where I had to really think carefully before responding.

I was lucky to  be able to draw on my experience as a driver in the past and if we as trainers can make the links to what is known by the learners, there is a better chance that they will feel that level of confidence to try out the new stuff.

5.  Praise and praise!!  Positive reinforcement has been an old tool in the bag and it is still very effective.  

Have a look at our Train the Designer program to build your bench strength in learning design:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Want your sessions to shine? Are you following these essential guidelines?

San Diego Training 2014 - we have returned with bags full of new learning activities to engage learners of all shapes and sizes and lots of enthusiasm to improve our learning programs!  It has encouraged us to re-evaluate what we are delivering and stretch for greater heights.  Here are some of the questions we posed to our design and delivery teams:

Be honest with yourself and self-assess - do your programs really shine?  What else could you be doing to ensure that your sessions move from ordinary to EXTRA-ordinary?

1. All activities MUST relate to the key messages of the program.  I detest activities that have no relevance and never want to see any of those 'turn around and massage the back of the person next to you' style energisers.  Is your day structured so that there are constant openers and closers?  Are we sure that these activities are relevant and appropriate?

2. Activities are not the 'nice to have' components of a learning program - they make the training memorable.  After all, if we forget 70% of what we learn within the first 24 hours of attending training, anything that we can do to improve that dreadful percentage is a step forward.  What else could you be doing to ensure that our participants are so engaged that they have instant recall of key points?

3. There must be movement in the room.  Learning has nothing to do with sitting in a chair.  Motion causes emotion and sitting still for a few hours just pools the energy in to a heap on the floor.  What else can we do so that participants are bouncing off the walls?

4. When you talk about your program being interactive, do you mean that there is a lot of discussion going on at tables?  OR, do you mean that there are constant structured activities that have a purpose and a briefing and debriefing that creates AHA moments?

5. Are we stretching our creativity to its limits or are we satisfied with what we have always done in the past?  New materials, new games refresh programs and the facilitators who deliver them.  Are we too bound to the old way of doing things or are we prepared to be more adventurous?

6. How could you do more to create learning experiences for your participants?  What else could be done pre- and post-training to shake things up and to tap in to both the rational and emotional side of the learning experience?

7. Participants learn so much from each other.  Do we have sufficient opportunities for the learning leader to become less important and to value the contribution of the group?

8. Are we doing enough to offer blended solutions?  The blends are so rich in this day of technology - are we ensuring that there is such an amazing blend of all forms of learning that the touch-points with learners are multi-faceted?

Let the games begin!  Much to be done!

Speak to us about how we can train your trainers and designers to create more sessions that deliver great results.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Danny Bielik’s tips on Securing your Dream Career

Danny Bielik’s tips on Securing your Dream Career

On the 2GB Courses and Careers Show with Danny Bielik, Danny talks about securing your dream career.

Here are his top 10 tips:
  • If you are looking at a new career, look at one that you reasonably think has a good prospect for growing for a long time.  I keep talking about aged care – because people are getting older.  I keep talking about community services and health, because of NDIS and Gonski are going to see growth in individualised care.  I often talk about more general qualifications at a Diploma level that can help you with a broader range of job opportunities - qualifications such as HR, Business Administration, Project Management etc. are in demand in a range of industries. Remember - you can also take advantage of the great government loan programs available such as HECS or VET FEE-HELP.
  • Be careful of “fad” jobs or ones that are easily exported – IT, web development and application development.  If you’re looking to develop one of your own apps for a specific market, go for it, but if you’re looking for a job, good luck.
  • Watch out for declining industries – journalism and retail, printing and publishing are good examples of today’s “buggy whip” industries.  Think about what industries are going away or under stress – manufacturing is a good example.  If you’re in one of these, you might be ok, but it won’t hurt to think of what other industries you could be pursuing pretty smartly.
  • Now is the time to take a look at your CV – these days job agencies and employers receive tons of CVs at the click of a mouse button.  So get rid of the “guff”, no more 10 page CVs. Remember the people who are reading it will make their initial decision about you in  30 seconds.  It’s never too early to tidy and clean house.  Bullet points rule, no long form text.  Also remove general statements like “I am a forward-looking hard worker who functions well as an individual and as part of a team.  I am self-motivated and friendly.”  Oh please – pass the bucket!  Kill the management-speak too – anyone who sends me a CV with “High-functioning, circumstantial enterprise rephasing” will find their CV in the “circular repository” (bin).  Oh, and my personal favourite error, if you have made changes in your CV, make sure you delete all the changes thoroughly before sending it.  I have received CVs with people’s errors and changes and seen them do things like add $$ to sales figures.
  • Add a profile to LinkedIn – don’t wait until you’re looking for a job – it takes time to build your profile and time to link to other people.  You never know who might come sniffing your way – if someone is looking for someone LIKE you, odds-on they’re using LinkedIn.  And if you are looking right now for a job, when you start making changes to your LinkedIn it also tells the world that you’re looking – so be prepared that your boss may find out.
  • Clean your Facebook profiles – don’t put things like “I hate my job” or anything else offensive.  It can be quite straightforward for employers to see it if they know someone you know.
  • Network – not always online, do it offline too.  Attend industry drinks and conferences, there’s always an association for everything.  A friend of mine used to be the President of the Australasian Bottled Water Association – who knew there was such a thing?  You might find there’s lots of other jobs, you might equally find it’s tough out there.  Meet people, hand out cards.  If you don’t have any in your job, get some made.  You can even get them for free on the internet.
  • Find out what skills the market is looking for – then start up-skilling.  The skills required in almost any job change very frequently now and, like an old house you can find yourself slipping behind.  Again, the internet is your best friend, but networking will help you with this too – join some of the groups on LinkedIn for your industry.  You’ll be amazed at what you find out.
  • Find out what you’re worth.  I have put some links to salary surveys below – check them out.  You might think you’re worth more than you’re being paid, but it’s really best to know.
  • If you are interviewing for a job, please show courtesy.  Be polite, show up on time, be neat.  Thank people for an interview and any opportunity to apply for a job.  I have written words like “LATE” and “SCRUFFY” on someone’s CV before – do you think they came back for a second interview? My mother always said it costs nothing to be polite and let me tell you, as an employer, it really can make all the difference.
General disclaimer – Nothing in this blog intimates that MCI or Danny Bielik guarantee you can get a job nor keep it.  Work hard, work smart, study well, take control and be nice to others.
Links to Salary Surveys:

Danny Bielik is a former Ministerial Adviser and CEO of Management Consultancy International.  Danny presents the Courses and Careers Show each Thursday on Nights with Steve Price.  You can listen to the Courses and Careers Show on 873 2GB in Sydney and  Podcasts are on the 2GB website and iTunes.