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Thread: Are You A Good Trainer / Educator?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
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    9,327

    Are You A Good Trainer / Educator?

    A while back, in a thread from a galaxy far, far away, I inquired as to how well you gave presentations. This thread is similar in vein.....

    Are you a good trainer / educator? Are you effective? How about the people that educated you in your workplace......what was their style, their effectiveness?

    As you know, unless you have been on the plamet Bambi , this Bear is in a management position with a distribution company that operates a 200,000 square foot high-bay warehouse. Effective training is essential to our success.

    Before I go on, let me say this about the difference between training and education:
    In my environment I see no difference. It's just that some politically-correct HR-types want to eliminate the word "training"......as in "a well-educated workforce". This Bear still calls it training. But I digress.....

    Our business has effective trainers and not-so-effective trainers. For example, take "Betty" and "Sue". Betty knows how to operate all of the machinery in the Silk Screen Printing Department. She is faster than anybody else, her image quality is great, she is efficient. But Betty cannot train for shi#. She gets easily frustrated when somebody (most of our new hires or transfers) doesn't pick it up as quickly and easily as she did. She demotivates from the word "go".

    Sue is much slower in operating. Her efficiency is just average. She makes some errors, although at a tolerable level. But in the training chair she is wonderful. She takes the time to carefully go over everything that needs to be discussed. She shows the newbie how something is done and lets them do it, helping them with gentle hints as they proceed. She asks questions and makes the person being trained feel comfortable, not rushed-to-learn. She motivates the people she trains.

    I mention this today, my fourth day back on the job after my long time off, because I was hit with the "Betty versus Sue" issue this afternoon. One (1) of my supervisors wanted to stick with Betty as a trainer of a new person, mainly because she felt that Betty would show the newbie how to be "a fast producer".
    I supported the other Supervisor and told them that in this case Sue would do the training.

    Any comments or thoughts from Cyburbians? Your workplace? Etc.?

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
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    1,371
    My consulting practice actually ran on training. It didn't end up being the largest source of revenue, but without all the training/speaking gigs, I wouldn't have been able to fill the gaps between the larger projects. After that, my principal function with the Sonoran Institute was as a trainer/coach. I rate myself as quite a bit better than "good."

    As for Betty and Sue - the person who wants Betty to train doesn't understand how people learn, and especially how people learn at the kinesthetic level. No one can teach you to be fast working a machine. All they can do is teach you to be safe, help you to be comfortable that you know what you are doing, and give you some good words as you find your own pace operating the machine. I am a very slow learner at the kinesthetic level and I am left-handed. My dad, who is a master of all trades, set me back decades by trying to teach me to work the way he does. I will NEVER be as good as he is at manual things, but I have - after years of avoiding it all - found that I can get a lot of things done, and done well enough. Someone who is patient and encouraging is better at this type of instruction.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
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    3,895
    I was put in charge of training a new employee in our office. I feel I did a good job. The employee will only come back to me in the office for information and additional training. She gets disgusted with the communication breakdown she has between herself and other planners.

    I also placed an ad in the classifieds when I was in college that I would goto people's home and give them on-the-spot computer training on anything they wanted for $20/hr. I made some pretty damn good money doing that. I think that I have a customer service knack and an ability to understand someones learning comfort level. I can describe abstract concepts from many different angles and it usually results in appreciation and understanding.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
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    I feel that I am well educated and I know a lot of useless stuff. I have a lot fo trouble explaining it.
    I.E. In high school geography class I would usually get all my things complete during class and sit there looking at maps the rest of the time. My classmates would then see this and ask me for help. Instead of helping them I would end up telling them the answers, and not explaining myself. If they asked how I knew that and how I would remember that, I would get frustrated and think: "I just know this, way is this so hard for you. This is easy stuff."

    Essentially I cannot explain things too well that I know a lot about. That's why I dropped the teaching program in college. This "condition" also frustrates my girlfriend when I try to explain things she doesn't understand.

    Sum up: I suck at it.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  5. #5
    I'm occasionally asked to train people (one-to-one) in MapInfo here and I work by the 'sink or swim' method. I start by giving an hour of the basics and will happily go over the same ground multiple times. Then I dump them on a standalone computer with MapInfo 3.5 and a cd of the main dataset I work with and tell them to test to destruction. I stay around and available if they have any problems, but don't give them my full attention. If I have any basic tasks that need doing, like producing boundaries for nature reserves and so on, that can be turned into a mini 'project', I give them that to do ater showing them the theory - I let them work out the practical side for themselves. Most the time it works. When it doesn't, it's with people who have absolutely no interest in computers, so probably shouldn't be given this kind of work anyway. If people get particularly frustrated, I will generally find out what they are good at and ask them to do it as 'I can't', whether I can or not. It makes them feel better and less like I've given them the runaround. But I don't think I'm a very good trainer.

    That said, I also moonlight as an agri-environmental adviser (so rarely that it's never been worth mentioning, but I'm thinking of doing it full time now) and get extremely positive responses about my explanations, so I can't be all bad.
    Glorious Technicolor, Breath-Taking CinemaScope and Stereophonic Sound!

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