I posted an earlier blog about what a manager needs to do to get the most out of sending team members to training. Training programs are very expensive, especially when the skills and knowledge delivered at the program are not used afterward by the participant. Going to really good training program is only entertainment unless you apply what you learn.
As a participant in a training program, how can you make sure that you get the most from what you learn?
Even if your manager fails to help you get the most out of the program. Or, if even the trainer fails to be an effective trainer, it is still up to you to not waste your time, or your employer’s or your money. If you aren’t prepared to do what is necessary to get the most out of the program, then don’t go.
- Plan ahead of time. As I mentioned in the earlier post, meet with your manager to discuss what you hope to get out of the training. Discuss your plans for how you will be able to use these new skills to be even more productive. This is especially important if you are making a case for your employer to pay for training that you want to attend. It is up to you to show how the cost of the program will pay for itself multiple times over.
- Be an active participant. While at the training, actively participate. You should be asking clarifying questions, contributing to group discussions, and identifying ways to apply what you are learning to your day-to-day work. You need to take notes as if you are taking notes for someone else, because you are. Weeks or months later you will be reading these notes trying to remember what you wanted to remember from your notes. Your notes will also be used for the next step.
- Teach what you learned. Once you return from the training, review your notes and prepare to teach someone what you learned. At the very least you should create a training report for your team that outlines what you learned. Consider spending time at your next team meeting providing an overview of the program with some of the key take-aways that you found particularly useful. The very act of training someone about something you learned will help solidify your learning. You may have heard ‘the best way to learn is to teach’. I have seen this proven countless times.
It really is up to you to get as much as you can from a training program. Don’t be lured by excuses, like the trainer wasn’t effective. In almost every training program I have attended, there are always at least a few nuggets in the content that is useful.
What techniques do you use to get the most from a training program?
What has been your experience trying to teach someone else something that you learned?