This is an article by a ClinkIT Solutions’ developer and trainer sharing useful tips for conducting trainings.
In this article, I would like to share my experience of the past two years that I have been a trainer. My journey began when I did end users training for the SharePoint projects we developed. It made sense that we, developers, are the ones conducting the training because we know how the product works. We also share and explain to the end users the best practices for using the product. Moreover, when I became a senior developer, that’s when I began training fellow developers and imparting my technical knowledge.
I have met and trained people from different fields and professions, mostly about the use of SharePoint since that’s my specialization. In SharePoint, just as in other platforms, there are different roles and needs. The objective is to make sure that the users understand the functions of their site and the different actions each role can do. I believe that in order to effectively train people, a trainer must identify the topics to discuss depending on the trainees’ department or needs. Here are three things I do to meet the said objective.
It’s advantageous to create a learning module specifically designed for the trainees. This includes a step-by-step procedure regarding the topic. The goal is that the module should also help the trainees to effectively navigate the topic even if the trainer is not there to explain each section.
The training module is important to both the trainer and trainees, because this provides the direction for the discussion. It can range from basic to complex, or how to navigate in the different parts of the project. The module also helps even after the training ends, as it serves as the trainees’ guide for using the product until they have fully mastered its use.
A good learning module consists of not only the step-by-step procedure but also the background of the product sections with screenshots as visual reference on what each action must look like.
When creating a module, never skip a step or fail to include a part of the site. All parts of the site are important, no matter how irrelevant a section or a step may seem. There simply are no shortcuts when creating an effective module.
No matter how well-prepared you are for the training, expect that adjustments may be necessary during the training. It all depends on the people you are training, whom you will most likely meet only during the training session. Get an idea of who you are talking to. Do they seem to have the same inclinations as you? It may be a lot easier if you are from the same field. If not, it is important to use lingo that would be easier for them to understand. Avoid using technical jargon and adjust the pacing to help them keep up with the discussion.
One helpful technique for getting to know the trainees is to review the list of attendees beforehand. This will give you an idea and time to prepare adjustments so the training will be as effective as intended.
What I consider the biggest challenge is training people you are meeting for the first time. You don’t have a way of determining which is the most effective method for them. Is it visual, hands-on, discussion? It’s important to be patient and know your trainees’ limitations as well as their strengths. There may be times that you have to repeat a specific topic or steps before they fully grasp it.
Be prepared and expect that trainees will get distracted or may not show interest in the topic being discussed. Create a strategy to capture the trainees’ attention. Sometimes this means cracking a joke and making them laugh.
It’s rewarding when, after the training, I see people smile and I see in their output that they learned from what I taught. This makes it all worth it.
They say if you want to learn new things, teach it. Every training I conduct is a chance for me to learn from the trainees’ themselves, who are also experts in their own fields.