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Gary Bedingfield Training
In my job, I get to observe a great deal of training. Most of it is very good, but one of the things I often see is a poor ending. So many training sessions just fizzle out with no real conclusion, almost as if the trainer has “run out of steam” after the final learning outcome has been achieved.
In my opinion, the end of a training session is as important as any other part. So much so, that my Train the Trainer courses have a whole unit devoted to the process. It’s the time to draw all the threads together, emphasise the key points and congratulate the group. It’s important that training ends on a high note and that the attendees are clear on what they have learned and how they will apply it.
Here are some things you can use to ensure your training comes to a successful conclusion.
Aims and Objectives
I always remind my group of the aims and objectives. They were told about them at the start of the course, so now it’s time to look at them again. Have they been met?
Revisit the key learning points. If it’s been an all day training course this simple exercise will be a good reminder of what we covered first thing in the morning.
Many courses start out with an expectations exercise – finding out what the group hope to learn from the training. The end of the course is the time to refer to it. Were all the expectations met? If not, are there other courses they can attend to help them meet these expectations?
Start – Stop – Continue
This activity can be used to generate a discussion or can be used in a more formal way as, perhaps, a written agreement. Attendees, individually or in pairs, decide what they will start doing as a result of the training they have just received, what they will stop doing and what they will continue to do.
The last thing you want is for people to be going home wishing they’d had the opportunity to ask a question, so there should always be sufficient time for questions. I often take this a step further and encourage the group – either individually or in pairs – to come up with a question they can ask.
A vital but often overlooked, or more to the point, undervalued part of the training cycle is feedback: the process of finding out how close you have come to achieving your aim and how satisfied the attendees are with the process. Many training sessions conclude with “happy sheets” where attendees are asked to tick boxes regarding what they thought of the day’s training. Correct evaluation, however, can provide extremely valuable feedback to a trainer and is relatively easy to capture. First, we need to understand why we are gathering feedback.
Evaluation might be to:
- Improve the learning process for current attendees
- Improve the learning process for future attendees
- Provide data to judge your own effectiveness
- Provide data to estimate the value of the training to the organisation
- Provide information to help you further develop the course
An evaluation sheet should be given to each participant near the end of the course. Notice I said NEAR the end of the course. It should not be an afterthought as they are putting on their coats and heading for the exit. Evaluation will help to ascertain the level of success of your training. Evaluation questions you can ask your attendees include:
- How will you benefit as a result of this training?
- Which part of the training did you find the most useful?
- Did you enjoy the training?
- Do you consider the training relevant?
- What could have been included?
- Did you like the venue, delivery style, time, etc?
It’s important to encourage attendees to be as honest as they can. Heaps of praise about what a good job you did is wonderful for the ego but doesn’t help a great deal with regards to further course development.
At the conclusion of each training session, you should complete a self-evaluation. What went well? What could have been better? How was the timing? You should be committed to providing better training opportunities for your attendees and managing your own long-term development. Evaluation questions you can ask yourself include:
- What went well?
- What could have been better?
- How was the timing?
- How was the relationship with the attendees?
- Was the course at the right level for the group?
And when is the best time to do this? As soon as the training has finished. That’s when everything is fresh in your mind, so when the attendees leave, put a few minutes aside to complete a self-evaluation and help yourself make that course even better the next time around.
If you’d like to learn more about being an effective and dynamic trainer then visit the Gary Bedingfield Training website at www.garybedingfield.co.uk or call us 0845 003 9571. We deliver training throughout the United Kingdom.