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Overcoming Common Training Mistakes

by Jamie Schroder | March 11, 2020 | Blog

Employers and employees widely agree that training positively impacts productivity, employee turnover and satisfaction. In fact, according to a LinkedIn study, 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if there was an investment in learning.

Despite the known importance, many organizations struggle with training. Tightened budgets often limit, or prevent, the availability of full-time training personnel. When this is the case, new employee and skills training falls on supervisors and subject matter experts (SMEs), often without providing them any guidance on learning theory or best practices.

It is possible for organizations to provide effective training without experienced trainers. Often just addressing a few commonly made mistakes can be the difference between training struggle and training success. Here we list common mistakes trainers make and how to overcome them:

1. Overlooking “The Why”

A common mistake trainers make is focusing on “how,” when what they really need to emphasize is “why.” Though knowing how to perform the task is important, adults hold onto information based on the why. This seems obvious, but SME’s often focus solely on the process, because that is what they know.

BEST PRACTICES
  • Start with the “why”. Why are they learning this? Why is this point important? Why will this help them in their job? It might be as simple as telling them: “This is going to make your job easier, better or faster!”
  • Identify common critical errors or pain points in the process and emphasize the why behind following the process to avoid them.
  • Use real world examples that demonstrate the why. Emotion, action and consequence-based stories illustrate why something is important to learn.
About the author
Jamie Schroder
Jamie Schroder
Manager, Client Training

Jamie Schroder is the Manager of Client Training at Sunquest Information Systems where her team creates innovative, effective learning content for Sunquest iMentor™.

About the author
Jamie Schroder
Jamie Schroder
Manager, Client Training

Jamie Schroder is the Manager of Client Training at Sunquest Information Systems where her team creates innovative, effective learning content for Sunquest iMentor™.

2. Information Overload

In psychology, the mental process for creating a new memory, and later being able to recall that memory, is referred to as encoding and retrieval. Learning is essentially creating a memory that you can later recall in order to put it to use, and studies show that retrieval is critical for long-term learning. Our brains reinforce the most commonly used thought pathways, with a mixture of proteins called Myelin, to allow electrical impulses to pass through with less resistance and keep synapses ready for quicker recall. When we retrieve a thought over and over again, the brain uses the Myelin to make the neural pathway easier to access, requiring less energy. This is why things we do all the time, like driving, require no mental energy; but helping your child with their algebra homework can feel like your brain is trying to run an uphill marathon.

So, if we want learners to be able to quickly access new skills, they need to practice, practice, practice.

Be aware that overloading the brain with too much information can impede this process. New information requires new pathways and when too many of them are trying to be created at the same time, they get in each other’s way.

This is one reason why Sunquest iMentor™ utilizes microlearning concepts. This allows the learner to learn a single workflow, then go to the bench and practice more with their trainer.

BEST PRACTICES
  • Chunk information into consumable components.
  • Cover one workflow and then practice 3-5 times before moving onto the next.
  • Begin with the simplest or most well-known (to the learner) concept and then build towards complexity.
3. Asking Too Much Of Your Trainers

The best person for the job is not necessarily the best person to teach the job. Often when we ask SME’s to be trainers, this is what happens: they demonstrate what they do, then observe and give feedback when the learner tries. This is not training. This is mentoring. And though mentoring is great, without the initial foundation of structured information sharing (aka. training) the mentoring can be fraught with frustration and information gaps for the learner.

Effective training requires the information first be provided with appropriate context and reasoning (the why). When you follow this up with mentored application, learning happens!

BEST PRACTICES

Begin with a formal introduction of training information, such as Sunquest iMentor™. This provides the learner with a foundation of information that enables them to move on to application with confidence. It also allows the mentor/trainer to focus on hands-on practice and fill in knowledge gaps as needed.

Sunquest is dedicated to supporting our employees and our customers – using an agile approach to delivering education and training support that delivers a better work experience for all. Whether your organization has a dedicated training staff or not, employing these best practices can ensure that your learners and new employees are set up for success.

For more information about Sunquest iMentor or the training available for your Sunquest solutions, contact sunquestuniversity@sunquestinfo.com.

Happy Training!

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Posted on by Jay Griggs