Upon reviewing the statistics in this table, it is apparent that the method of training delivery is changing. What was appropriate last year as an instructional strategy or a training design might not be appropriate for today’s learner. Rapid changes in what constitutes business, and how it is conducted, have rippled in every sector of society – especially in training design and delivery.
Four areas in the fields of training and instructional design that constantly change are: (1) course materials, (2) course methods, (3) trainer styles, and (4) learner expectations.
Course Materials: Learners demand easy-to-use materials comprised of content that focus on direct applications on the job. Also, the content should be designed and developed to include graphics, job aids, and “take-homes” for future reference.
Course Methods: Learners want clear and easy-to-follow instructional methods that are interactive and allow a direct transfer back on the job. The key to using any instructional strategy is to provide opportunities for learners to effectively master the content. Adult learning principles should be integrated into the course instructional strategy. The specific learning principles that trainers should use in their course design and delivery are:
- Involve the learner.
- Focus on the employee’s task and not content.
- Apply the collaborative approach.
- Use a structured design.
Trainer Styles: Learners expect the trainer to be credible and to know the topic well. The trainer should be practical and sensitive to all learning styles. The trainer should know when to play the role of instructor, coach, facilitator, or consultant.
Learner Expectations: Learners expect the training event to be an open dialogue and an opportunity to exchange information and ideas. A training event’s learning outcome is the communication that takes place between the learner and trainer. It should provide the learner with the ability to internalize the information and apply it.
Trainers need to focus on achieving learning outcomes when planning their training design or delivery. They need to be sensitive to learner styles, develop instructional strategies that appeal to the learner style needs, and focus on the appropriate level of evaluation to measure learning. By focusing on all these elements, trainers will automatically integrate opportunities for successful training transfer.
All educators, researchers, and trainers do not agree on one comprehensive style theory; however, they do agree that individuals learn differently. Trainers know that learning is a process that typically begins with observations or reflections by learners. Once learners become aware that learning is occurring, they build an intellectual data file to store the information.
Gathering information about an audience is a critical step in the development of an effective program. Key elements in achieving a positive learning environment is to appeal to all learning styles, use varied motivation techniques specific to individual learners, and use appropriate facilitation skills for all learners.
Training is a dynamic event. The rapid increase in technology and communication plays a major role in how your design and present training.