Why choosing a good trainer is vital if your trainees are to learn

Jack pinched himself in a desperate attempt to stay awake

The steady drone of the trainer’s voice had been lulling him to sleep for hours.  The training room was dark with only a presentation screen for light.  Jack had been slumped in his chair with no opportunity to move.  How on earth was he going to stop himself going to sleep, let alone learn anything?

In the next room, Jill had had a very different training experience

She had learnt from some interesting group discussions.   Now the group was creating a physical model of what she was learning.  She had been intrigued by the trainer’s approach, and the time had flown by.  Jill been inspired by the trainer’s new ideas and was eager to put them into practise in the workplace.

Some trainers are better than others

If you use a good trainer you and your staff will retain more of what you learn.  This means that you will achieve more as a result of your training.  And you will feel in control when you do things in a new way after your learning.  You will also relate better to the trainer in the learning environment and therefore gain more from the training.

Using a less skilled trainer will result remembering less from the course or workshop.  You may struggle to connect with the trainer.  You may wonder what you achieved from attending the training.  And you will definitely feel very uncertain when you try new things out that you learned from the trainer.

So how do you choose a trainer?

Isn’t it just a case of choosing a trainer who is well-established?

Using a long-established company is not necessarily a sign that the trainer you work with will be skilled.  Some companies have a high turnover of staff or use associate trainers who are not always closely vetted.  And a long-term trainer may not be in touch with current developments in their subject.

So what should you ask a potential trainer?

  • What industry experience does the trainer have?  Is the trainer delivering generic training that is the same no matter the industry sector?  Or do they understand your sector, the challenges that you face and the way you need to work?
  •  Is the trainer still working?  Is the trainer up to date with what is happening in the workplace?  Or is the trainer training full-time?   In which case, how can you be sure trainees will learn relevant techniques and information?
  • What training techniques will the trainer use?  Does the trainer use brain friendly learning techniques?  How are they sure that trainees will retain what they have learnt?  Or will trainees be staring at a screen all day, listening to the trainer without becoming involved?
  • Does the trainer write their own material?  Or are they just delivering some-one else’s course notes?
  • Will the trainer adapt a course to specific requirements?   Can they adapt to specific questions as they train?  Or are they looking to give trainees standard answers and a standard course?
  • Can the trainer write you a specific course?  Or do they just want to bring out the same old standard course?  The standard course that they can deliver safely again and again, without real effort?
  • What courses does the trainer not provide?  A trainer that has too wide a selection of courses may not have relevant knowledge.
  • Can the trainer provide references?  Can you talk to their previous candidates to get an idea of what the training was like?

Isn’t training like this expensive?

Count the cost of your training.  There is the cost of the trainer, the cost of taking candidates out of work and the cost of travel or providing the venue.  Now count the cost of using a cheap but ineffective trainer for the day!

To choose a good trainer, follow these three steps

  • Think about exactly what your training needs are
  • Ask the trainer how they are going to address your needs
  • Question the trainer closely about why they are suitable for you

Remember, your choice of trainer will make a difference

Will your trainees be motivated like Jill or suffer like John?

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