"As employers’ training and development investments wane, we all have to take charge of our development. You can amplify opportunities for growth and learning by cultivating high-quality connections. Look for them inside and outside your team at work and beyond the boundaries of your organization, or even outside your professional life. The great thing about investing in building and maintaining these connections is that everyone wins."
As a professional trainer, obviously, I think businesses who drop training from their budget are doing a disservice to their employees and themselves, but that's no excuse for any one to stop trying to improve themselves. I found this an interesting take on it because I know for a fact that people learn more in groups. I see the results of that in classes all the time.
Typically what happens is even when a business wants to send a couple of folks to training, they may decide they can't have all of them out at the same time, so they'll send one at a time. Other companies will go ahead and just send the team. Guess which ones wind up more involved in class?
There's a lot of value in sitting in the class together and being able to talk about how that would work back in your environment instead of waiting for everyone else on the team to go through training later and trying to remember what you thought way back when. It also gives you, as a team, an opportunity to interact with the trainer that you may not get when attending with a room full of strangers. (Not that attending and interacting with people outside your organization doesn't also provide some value!)
So, if you are being forced to embark on training on your own because of a lack of budget, it can definitely help to not do it alone! This article has some good ideas to help you out.
"Myth 4: Individuals learn best when taught in their preferred learning style
People attribute other mythical qualities to their unexceptionally large brains. One such myth is that individuals learn best when they are taught in the way they prefer to learn. A verbal learner, for example, supposedly learns best through oral instructions, whereas a visual learner absorbs information most effectively through graphics and other diagrams.
There are two truths at the core of this myth: many people have a preference for how they receive information, and evidence suggests that teachers achieve the best educational outcomes when they present information in multiple sensory modes. Couple that with people's desire to learn and be considered unique, and conditions are ripe for myth-making.
Why we are teaching science wrong, and how to make it right
“Learning styles has got it all going for it: a seed of fact, emotional biases and wishful thinking,” says Howard-Jones. Yet just like sugar, pornography and television, “what you prefer is not always good for you or right for you,” says Paul Kirschner, an educational psychologist at the Open University of the Netherlands."
In over 4 years of full time training, and years and years of doing IT training as part of support, I've never seen much evidence for learning styles making much of a difference at all in adult learning. Some people want to learn, and others don't. That's a more likely explanation of the differences between what they learn.
"I finally figured out a way to test whether you have taught an idea or you have only taught a definition. Test it this way: You say, 'Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language. Without using the word "energy," tell me what you know now about the dog's motion.' You cannot. So you learned nothing about science. That may be all right. You may not want to learn something about science right away. You have to learn definitions. But for the very first lesson, is that not possibly destructive?
I think for lesson number one, to learn a mystic formula for answering questions is very bad. The book has some others: 'gravity makes it fall;' 'the soles of your shoes wear out because of friction.' Shoe leather wears out because it rubs against the sidewalk and the little notches and bumps on the sidewalk grab pieces and pull them off. To simply say it is because of friction, is sad, because it's not science.”
Feynman’s parable about the meaning of science is a valuable way of testing ourselves on whether we have really learned something, or whether we just think we have learned something, but it is equally useful for testing the claims of others. If someone cannot explain something in plain English, then we should question whether they really do themselves understand what they profess. If the person in question is communicating ostensibly to a non-specialist audience using specialist terms out of context, the first question on our lips should be: "Why?" In the words of Feyman, “It is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudoscience.”"
Feynman's quote in bold above, is something that we should really bear in mind as trainers. I realize that the article is about figuring out whether to believe people who use pseudoscience, as opposed to true science, but as a trainer, it's important to recognize that simply knowing the terms and using them in class doesn't really teach anyone. It's important that we be able to explain the technology without resorting to industry slang.
In the end, you need to know how it works, and truly understand how it works, before you can teach it to someone else.
"3. Generic Presentations
Not taking the time to tailor your presentation to your audience is a sure-fire way to lose your audience. You run the risk of sounding like you are on auto-pilot, and it's disrespectful to people who have come to hear you speak. Making your presentation unique to your audience will help you deliver your information in a new way, and will keep your audience engaged."
For training, I think this is the tricky one. Obviously, when teaching a class, especially as part of a certification, you have to cover the material. Doing so, while still being able to make it relevant to the audience, and their interests, requires something more than just knowing the material, it takes interpersonal skills and the ability to think on your feet. You have to know how to react to what the audience is giving you, without losing sight of the content of your course.
That's a tricky line to walk, but doing it well results in a training engagement that leaves everyone better off.
The other 12 habits are things to look out for too!
"The take-home message is this: If you want to build your confidence in public speaking, you have to go out and do some. You will be nervous, because everyone is. It will get better the more you do it though, so accepting this and getting through the initial nerve-wracking talks will send you on the way to speaking more comfortably in time."
It's true. The more public speaking you do, the more comfortable you get with it, and maybe most importantly, you learn that when something does go wrong, nobody dies. It's not really that big of a deal most of the time. Not nearly as much as we imagined it to be while we worried about it going wrong.
"The powerful speech pause might be the most important public speaking technique you will ever learn. This secret is something that I’ve used for many years. Dramatic pauses are so powerful that they should be illegal.
In music, all of the beauty is contained in the silences between the notes. In speaking, the drama and power of the speech is contained in the silences that you create as you move from point to point."
As a trainer, I usually pause as a way to subtly let people know that the information I just gave them, might be something they want to write down. But, it can be very effective as a way to do many of the things suggested in the video.
Do you use pauses when presenting?
"The test, of course, offers nothing but downside. No extra credit, just points marked off. The test is the moment where you must conform to standards, to say what is expected of you.
Perhaps a better question is, "Will this be in the Playbill?"
The Playbill is the little program they hand out before the Broadway musical. The Playbill is all about extra credit, about putting on a show, surprising, elevating, doing something more than people hoped for."
You know, as a trainer who is responsible for getting people ready for a software certification exam, this is something I struggle to balance. Yes, when you're talking about offering a software certification, the training should make sure that passing the exam and getting the certification displays a knowledge of the tool, how it's used, and why.
But the value add for a training course should be the playbill stuff that Seth talks about. Sure, we'll make sure you are competent with the tool, that's what a certification represents, but I also want to challenge students to rethink the way they do things, and the value they bring to their customers, whoever they are. Those are the things that turn a certified, competent, technician, into a rock star employee.
These are really good. As a trainer, the one I liked the best was the last tip:
Visualize rather than memorize your speech.
If you try memorizing your speech word by word, your performance will suffer, Qahtani said.
He likes to visualize a map of certain points in his speech that he fills in during his performance. It’s about becoming comfortable with the material to a degree where you can casually talk about it.
When you're teaching a multiple day course, memorization is not really possible, but visualization is. I like to have the roadmap in my head about where we need to go, and make sure we hit the targets along that map at approximately the correct time to keep the class moving forward within the correct time frame. Then I have the freedom to let the class interaction occur naturally within that larger picture.
Some great resources to learn more about cybersecurity and ethical hacking at your own pace. Definitely going to be bookmarking this myself!
There are some good tips on being effective with training, but the one that stuck out to me was this:
"#9. Be like chameleon
Be flexible. Make your training vivid and dynamic."
It's hard to be flexible. You have an agenda to get through, and limited time to do it in, but the very best trainers can keep the class moving through the agenda, and still be able to react to the group and keep it relevant to them.
The nervousness before going in front of an audience is natural, and inherited from out ancestors. This bring to mind two points:
1. You can learn to move past it by understanding that the fear is probably overblown in your head. Truly, your mind is in fight or flight mode to protect you from dying, when embarrassment is the worst actual outcome.
2. When you don't feel at all nervous, it may be an indication that you don't care at all what the audience thinks, that is why your brain isn't being triggered, there is no potential harm. As a trainer, I know that is the day I need to find something else to do for a living.
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