As educators, we’re intimately familiar with the time and effort required to prepare and present any kind of training program, whether it’s in a classroom or online, self-directed or a collaboration. Under-preparing for a program is a recipe for disaster, but sometimes even when we put the effort in to new learning initiatives, we still get lackluster results.
So instead of worrying about the amount of time you spend preparing, focus on working smarter. Here are three ways to ensure the hard work you’re putting in really translates into the impact you’re shooting for.
1. Define your program’s intended results
I often find that educators explain the goal of their training program as something like “it’ll improve your communication skills,” or “it’ll improve efficiency.” But instead of providing vague-sounding expectations, it’s important for trainers to clearly define specific and measurable results. Things like “Five ways to be more efficient,” or “Ways to cut out two hours every week on computer tasks” are much more to-the-point and specific. Aim for results you can actually track.
2. Profile your learners
It’s critical that trainers deliver lessons in ways that actually increase the possibility of improvement. In my past role as a director of “Edgeucation” (which we called it, to stress that education is how employees develop and get pushed to their “edge”) we offered our materials in several different methods. Independent learners had self-directed materials. Sales employees had their materials loaded on to CDs to use while they traveled. Web learners had online seminars and those who benefited from interactivity had classroom programs. This way the materials were their most accessible, which increased the ability for employees to actually implement them.
3. Define accountability
Great programs (those that are well-prepared, well-delivered, and empirically measured) often ultimately fail to deliver their intended results because there is no implementation accountability. Partner each employee with an education coach or mentor whose responsibility is to ensure the commitments made by the employee during the program are lived up to. This changes the company culture to one that insists that behavior change and results come from education.
Like so many things in life, good intentions don’t always ensure good results. Educators’ roles don’t end after the creation and delivery of good content. They must also included clarity of specific and measurable expectations and a comprehensive follow up plan. This helps to ensure that your results will match your effort.
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations — their leaders and managers — in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World. Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. Follow him on Twitter.
Image via lbecker.com.