Q: When does training become learning? A: When the students can demonstrate what they were trained to do.
Great presenters often think of themselves as trainers, and indeed, we are entertained and often inspired by them; but training for learning requires a different set of skills. Instructional designers study how people learn; they know how to design training that results in learners being able to do something they couldn't do before they were trained.
In the networking business, we are all both trainers and learners. Regardless of whether you're training someone on the job or in the classroom, you will want to start with this question in mind: "What do I want my students to be able to do as a result of the training?" Next, ask, "How will I know if and when my students are able to do what I have trained them to do?"
If you are listening to your upline explain your company's products or services, then you haven't yet learned the information--and they haven't yet trained you. When your upline observes you explaining your company's products to a prospect in a way that is effective in helping the prospect to make a good decision, then you have been trained.
For training to be effective, the most important information must be broken down into small, observable, measurable behaviors. Students practice each behavior and trainers give them feedback so that they can perform the task confidently and professionally. How often have you been trained and possibly even certified in something, but cannot perform what you were just trained to do? We call this "spray and pray"!
Statistics on learning retention show that people remember only 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear, and 30 percent of what they see. When you know that people remember 90 percent of what they do, how will you design your next training?
When does training become learning? When learners demonstrate their new skills, attitude or knowledge in the normal course of their working day.
To help ensure that happens with the people you train, start by throwing out the question, "What do I want to teach?" and replace it with this question: "What does my student need to do to be a successful networker?"
GLENN HEAD holds a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and has over 20 years of experience managing instructional development and delivery for a broad range of venues including the military, Fortune 100 companies and sales organizations. He currently serves as Dean of Networking University.