Commandments for Trainers
by Susan Boyd
1. Thou shall be prepared for each class.
class, make sure you know the course material, software, stumbling blocks,
and the sequence of the exercises and topics. Review past evaluations of
that course, and see how you can enhance the learning. Know what material
must be covered, vs. skimmed or skipped due to time constraints and class
2. Thou shall check logistics prior to class.
nightmares by checking that the training room has the right supplies, course
materials, software, room set-up, etc. Confirm policies for late arrivals,
emergencies, arrangements for breaks/lunches, access to room before/after
3. Thou shall take responsibility for making the class succeed.
to report and solve, if possible, problems as they arise. Keep the class
informed of your progress. Be responsive to the learners' issues and concerns.
Be patient and supportive of learners' needs. Remember how hard it is to
learn and how practice and making mistakes increase the learning process.
4. Thou shalt involve the learners and help develop independent learners.
all learners to be active and take responsibility for learning. Use partner
and team activities for review and concept application. Encourage learners
to learn topics and answer questions by using resources such as reference
cards, on-line help, training manual and software manual in class as part
of the exercises.
5. Thou shall emphasize comprehension over content.
all the topics in the training manual is not as critical as making sure
the learners can use the most important commands and functions. Do not sacrifice
practice exercises for more content. We learn best by doing, not by listening
and we learn more through repetition and concept integration, than through
6. Thou shall ask and show how the training can be applied to the learners' job needs.
skill you teach and ask managers and your learners How can you use or adapt
this skill/technique to the job demands? Software functions taught outside
of a job context are meaningless to most learners.
7. Thou shall honor the time schedule and start class on time after breaks.
Time is money
in a training class. If you start the class late, you are wasting the learners'
time and setting a precedent for others that schedules are not important.
Stick to any time schedule you announce. Take short mini-breaks to increase
8. Thou shall have fun and enjoy the training.
should be fun for you and the learners. Look for ways to energize
your teaching style by adopting new analogies, ice-breakers, explanations,
team activities. Treat each class as the opening night of a Broadway show.
Personalize the class by getting to know the learners, their job needs and
9. Thou shall solicit feedback throughout class, not wait until the end evaluation.
at the start of class to set a learning goal and ask periodically throughout
class if this was met. Mingle with the learners during breaks to get informal
feedback on the pace and comfort level with the material. Ask for the top
3 skills learned and top 3 areas they need more practice with.
10. Thou shall view training as a process, not an event.
Don't let the training process end after class. Follow-up through email, surveys, and phone calls to see the effectiveness of the training and how to enhance it. Track help desk calls and keep in touch with your learners. Use their ideas, talents and accomplishments in future classes. Be a continual learner and experimenter.