Training can be a tough and lonely business - so look after yourself!

June 15, 2016

The life of a training facilitator is not as glamorous as it might seem to the casual observer.

There's a lot of travel, but that just means a lot of time in airports or stuck on long and boring motorways. L&D professionals don't typically travel in hot air balloons with personal menservants called Passepartout - the budgets rarely stretch that far.

It's not just the solitude of travel, it's the loneliness of being in a group of learners in a workshop, but needing to keep distant from them. We encourage social learning and network building, but we're the guide on the side not another member of the gang.

It doesn't stop there!

Often we're associated with change, and change is sometimes bad news, at least for some of the people ... and even if not, we're in the business of challenging people, pushing them out of their comfort zones, perhaps even asking difficult questions that make people think. We might even cause all sorts of trouble by demanding manager involvement or by challenging cultural aspects that might be getting in the way of learning.

Claire Simmons is an expert in offering career advice - and not just how to make your CV look nice. Her organisation (NewFuture.me) works with people through the emotional side of career change, redundancy, and picking the right options for the future.

In this podcast she talks through her approach and how we, as L&D professionals, can apply the same techniques to help look after ourselves.

00:0000:00

Want to see performance transformation from your training? Do action planning!

May 15, 2016

Time is running out and you've got so much more content to squash in to the training course ... what can you do? Easy, just drop the action planning session you have penciled in for the end of the day!

According to Emma Weber, expert in learning transfer and author of two books on the subject, this would be exactly the wrong thing to do.

In this episode - the longest Trainer Tools podcast by a country mile - Emma explains how action planning done well can be the key tool in ensuring knowledge and skill acquired on a training course is transferred into the workplace and drives real life proper performance improvement!

Maybe I should have split this up into two parts, but there didn't seem to be a natural break ... so I didn't. I know it's long, but I think it's worth it!

00:0000:00

Do we plan too much? The role of improvisation in training delivery

April 15, 2016

I am not the world's best at planning, and probably wouldn't rank very highly at following a plan either.

I've often felt that this was a weakness - I know it's also a strength (I am good at thinking on my feet and coping with change), but it's also true that it mightn't be such a bad thing to plan ahead and perhaps stick to a schedule every now and again ... so, when Paul Levy proposed talking about the role of improvisation in training delivery, I was rather excited!

In this podcast he talks through his approach to improvisation, what it means, how we can develop the skills, and his own examples of improvised activities that have worked well, and - because it's in my nature to ask - times when it hasn't worked so well!

00:0000:00

How to create an effective training evaluation strategy

March 15, 2016

Evaluation is the most neglected part of the L&D cycle.

My guess is that this is because most people in L&D prefer to be in training rooms or designing workshops, or creating transformational strategies to allow individuals and organisations to reach their potential ... I'm getting carried away now ... the point is that few of us get excited about the subject of evaluation.

Merle Van Der Voorde was no exception, and wasn't exactly thrilled when asked to deliver an evaluation project for the various learning and development courses, programmes and other activities on offer.

However, like most things, the more you know about them, the more interesting they become and in this podcast Merle shares the strategy and approach she used, and talks through some examples from her organisation.

00:0000:00

How to write your own stories and use storytelling for teambuilding

February 15, 2016

Stories are the oldest and best way of passing on information in an engaging and memorable way.

They are a key tool in learning, and a nice break from PowerPoint and flip charts, and they can be used to make things easier to remember, to raise a particular issue for discussion, to challenge the way people think, and to make learning easier to transfer back to the workplace.

We don't need to rely solely on real things that have happened either - although real life stories are really good - we can write our own stories too. Sometimes this might be because we don't know a relevant true story, but often there is value in an obviously fictional account - think how much we call on famous fictional situations as real-life metaphors now: everything from Shakespeare and Star Wars to Monty Python. Fictional stories can be used to illustrate ideas in a meaningful way that everyone understands.

In this podcast I talk to Samantha Mathis about her use of stories and how to write your own stories for training courses and other learning events. She also talks about using storytelling as a powerful teambuilding activity, allowing teams to raise and discuss issues in a fun and engaging way.

00:0000:00

Five secrets of accelerated learning (part two)

January 15, 2016

Accelerated learning is a term that is oft heard, but not oft understood, and even less oft applied effectively.

It's not just about playing some music, putting a load of fiddly toys out, and then forcing delegates to flip chart stuff for hours, there's more to it than that.

In this episode, I talk to accelerate learning expert Krystyna Gadd about her five secrets of accelerated learning: five areas that need to be considered to ensure that a learning event takes full advantage of all the benefits that accelerated learning can bring.

The only problem is that we went on too long, so I decided not to inflict an hour-long podcast on the poor listener, and instead split it into two halves.

00:0000:00

Five secrets of accelerated learning (part one)

January 15, 2016

Accelerated learning is a term that is oft heard, but not oft understood, and even less oft applied effectively.

It's not just about playing some music, putting a load of fiddly toys out, and then forcing delegates to flip chart stuff for hours, there's more to it than that.

In this episode, I talk to accelerate learning expert Krystyna Gadd about her five secrets of accelerated learning: five areas that need to be considered to ensure that a learning event takes full advantage of all the benefits that accelerated learning can bring.

The only problem is that we went on too long, so I decided not to inflict an hour-long podcast on the poor listener, and instead split it into two halves.

00:0000:00

Using social networks to reinforce learning

December 15, 2015

With so much great content available freely online, why would anyone bother paying for a training course? It's almost like people can go round learning stuff, willy-nilly, without us learning professionals getting involved at all!

Obviously that would never do, so what can we do to rise to the challenge of technology?

In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I talk to Larry Reynolds about his ideas for the future of the training facilitator, including his experimental use of social networks and online communities to help reinforce learning.

00:0000:00

TT Shorts: The Paper Tower: a quick and simple teambuilding tool

November 28, 2015

In this short extra episode of the Trainer Tools podcast series, I talk to Seema Sarawgi about a simple but effective technique she uses in teambuilding events.

The Paper Tower is very simple to prepare for and run, and can be used as a quick way to get people talking and moving about, or to develop deeper learning around teamwork, planning, communication and leadership in the context of the organisation.

00:0000:00

How to run an activity based assertiveness workshop

November 15, 2015

Some things come up again and again in learning needs analyses, whatever the organisation, whatever the circumstances, and "assertiveness skills" (or something similar) is one of those things.

It crops up in the middle of loads of different structured training courses, it forms part of many coaching relationships, even pops up on teambuilding workshops from time to time. It seems like many of us human beings just aren't naturally that great at being assertive in a positive way, we tend to be either naturally passive or naturally aggressive, and struggle to calibrate assertiveness correctly.

In this episode, Kevin Stephens talks us through his approach to running an assertiveness workshop. As always with Kevin, it's a very practical and active approach that I hope has some good ideas for others facing the same learner needs.

00:0000:00