It’s Your Training: How to get the most out of the training classes you take
By David Pacific. Education Services Practice Lead, Creative Computing
Every instructor has had this nightmare: You are in front of a class, the students are not paying attention and you just know it is going to be a wasted effort, even though this training was most likely mandated. Worst of all, the students in front of you do not even seem to realize they are wasting their time as well as yours.
I have taught hundreds of business analytics courses from virtual to onsite and have gotten to the point where I can immediately gauge whether someone is ready and excited to absorb what I can offer as a trainer. So what do I see in these students and what do they need to do to be ready? Here are some tips so any student can make the most of their time in a classroom — of course, IF they are willing.
Preparation. Test your machine, review materials ahead of time, ensure your login details work, because much of the first day will be lost in the shuffle if student machines do not have the proper software installed or login credentials handy. Plan to be early at least on the first day to help ease setup.
Expectations. As an instructor, the first question I always ask to get folks engaged is “what are your experiences relating to this topic and what are your expectations in attending?” I believe the second question is integral to how a student will receive training. Know why you are attending and understand how you learn best, as it will show you where to best apply your focus during the sessions.
Ask questions. The instructor can only help you if you first help yourself. Typically when YOU have a question, others in the class will have the same question. Students need to understand there are no dumb questions. It is also helpful to organize questions prior to the training that relate to your personal experiences. Leverage the instructor as much as possible — he/she is there for you!
Be present and engaged. Have fun, get involved and think critically about how the information might apply to your situation. At the end of the day, none of the information is useful unless you can bring it back to the office and apply it. This certainly applies to asking questions, as it keeps you, the other students in the class and the instructor engaged. If you are attentive and having fun in a classroom setting, more than likely the rest of the class is, too. It is contagious.
Summarize what you have learned. It is impossible to memorize every detail that is being thrown at you in the moment, and that is why it is important to summarize training concepts in your notes after class. You not only will retain the information better, but you will also have a better understanding of what’s important and how it applies to you. This is where the rubber meets the road — being able to take what you learn and relate it to what you do on a daily basis. Relate the training to your own unique situation and you are more likely to retain what you learned.
Evaluate your instructor. We can only improve if students tell us how we are doing. I welcome the feedback any student provides, and it helps me shape the content and delivery style for future courses. Our potential is only as high as the input we receive from delivery, so take the time to comment where necessary to help us polish our skills as instructors.
Follow up. If you do not use it, you lose it. Practice, practice, practice and apply what you have learned. Generate internal buzz at your company about the training you attended and the immediate applications that are most important to you and your organization.
It’s your training, so make the most of it!
About the Author
As Creative Computing’s Education Services Practice Lead, David Pacific oversees all training engagements and participates in analysis and requirement gathering for all potential training opportunities. In this respect, he coordinates to identify training needs and provides a fit for scheduling and courseware. He also has a combination of onsite development skills, so when he is not overseeing or delivering trainings he is working on implementation for a multitude of Fortune 500 clients. This has helped him develop an excellent mix of skills sets between the classroom and real world development work, which has proven to be a valuable asset as a trainer.