September 26, 2011 |

Course Reviews: Site City of Boroondara

The City of Boroondara are a local council for whom I have been doing the in-house IT training since 2000.  Each time we run a class the attendees have to fill in an online evaluation.  One of the joys of this job is you are always being evaluated on each day’s work (in writing and by strangers); and there would not be too many jobs where that is a daily occurrence.

Here’s a couple of feedback forms from the other month, sent to me by Sangita Parsot, the Training Coordinator at Boroondara.

Course name: Introduction to Excel

Course date: Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Course pace: Just right

Course contents: Just right

Presentation of course: Excellent

Quality of venue: Very good

Knowledgeable trainer: Yes, Angela was extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

Training style suitable: Yes, relaxed and inclusive, so making it easy to learn.

Anticipated knowledge: Heaps

Suggested improvements: None, I loved it, thanks

Course name: Introduction to Excel

Course date: Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Course pace: Just right

Course contents: Just right

Presentation of course: Excellent

Quality of venue: Very good

Knowledgeable trainer: Angela was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer all queries.

Training style suitable: Yes, her style was very relaxed, making everyone feel comfortable and making the training aims achievable.

Anticipated knowledge: Yes, and more.

Suggested improvements: It was great, thank you.

Course name: Introduction to Excel

Course date: Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Course pace: Just right

Course contents: Just right

Presentation of course: Excellent

Quality of venue: Excellent

Knowledgeable trainer: Articulate and knowleable

Training style suitable: Yes

Anticipated knowledge: Yes

Suggested improvements: Nil

September 5, 2011 |

Getting Ready for a New Training Day

Giving IT training means I usually lead the class via a overhead projector, hence this particular set up.  However I know how stressful the whole classroom situation can be for people, so I like to do a bit of extra spoiling so that the attendees know I really do care about their comfort level.

This means aside from bringing course materials such as the manuals, exercises and certificates of completion, to every class I give (and I am always moving between rooms, so I carry it all with me, unless it is rooms like this one where I have a corner and can store some of my things); I bring morning tea such as chocolate biscuits, an oil burner and various oils, my iPod and speakers so we can have music and numerous bags of chocolates and lollies so each participant can have a snack bowl.  I find these personal touches go a long way and the evaluation forms will often reflect the difference a soothing oil or peppy music can make to the day – as in life – the little things are often the most important!

August 31, 2011 |

Retaining Learning

When giving IT classes, I’ve always worked with the premise repetition fosters retaining the skills learned.  This is not a fashionable view, as rote or repetition learning is considered old-fashioned and behaviorist. However I can tell it works- and works beautifully –  particularly when it is done in a fun and creative way; for example by getting individuals to complete exercises, work in collaboration with the other learners to create something to model it on how they would use it in the workplace.  So,  it was interesting for me to read this blog post in The Training Zone by Gary Platt on Herman Ebgginhaus’s work , a small excerpt as below:

Ebbinghaus discovered that even with this simple task memory failed at analarming rate. His findings are often illustrated by a graph showing how memoryand recall deteriorates over a short space of time. The X axis (horizontal)measuring time and the Y axis (vertical) measuring recall.


But again these figures do not represent the research that Ebbinghausproduced, but do represent the concept he was proposing in chapter eight of hiswork, Retention as a function of repeated learning. Put simply: each revisitingof learnt material reinforces its retention.

Read Gary Platt’s full article here : http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/topic/forgetting-curve-and-its-implications-training-delivery/162373So… it is pretty obvious to me that the smartest things that trainers can do is to creatively work towards  increasing retention by allowing time in the day for the revisiting of learning and allowing people the opportunity to think and play –  and therefore remember.  Many trainers simply focus on getting through the material and therefore consider that to be a success, however if the learners cannot remember and then apply what they have learned one day, two days or two weeks after attending the training event there is hardly any point to the trainer patting him or herself on the back because they ‘delivered the content’.