People attend training for a lot of reasons.
The obvious one is to learn some new skills
to use on the job or to further one's
career. There are other reasons too.
Sometimes training sessions provide an
opportunity to visit with people you don't
ordinarily see and find out what's going on
elsewhere. Or, sometimes, it's just a
pleasant (hopefully) break from the usual
If you are attending
training, whether it's for learning new
software, or to learn to cope with stress,
what you learn from it is going to depend on
what you put in, and how you plan the
process. In this article we'll provide some
hints so you can maximize your learning and
make use of what you have learned on your
job (or perhaps the next one).
There's lots of training
out there, some of it great, some average,
and some poor. Since tastes differ, it's
hard to help you choose what will work for
YOU. However, if you have a choice of
choosing the training you will attend,
compare the topics to be covered to your own
needs (see next section). Don't make your
decision based on the length of a course.
Often the shorter ones will only give you an
overview and not help you use new learning
on the job. Ask around to see if others have
attended the course, and solicit their
opinions, but remember that tastes differ.
If the course you are interested in is
offered internationally by a large company,
you can ask on the Internet.
WHY ARE YOU
It's always good to be
clear about why you are going to a training
session. If someone has requested that you
attend (let's say your boss), make sure you
understand your boss's expectations before
you go. Ask: "How do you expect me to
use what I have learned?" If you are
going because you have a training need, ask
yourself what you want to learn, and how you
might apply it to your job (or career
development). The clearer you are about why
you are going and what you want to get out
of it, the more likely you will get what you
are hoping for. Knowing this will allow you
to be more of an active learner.
require that you get approval to attend
training sessions, since there is a cost
involved and you will be away from your desk
for the length of the session. When you
approach the boss, there's several things to
discuss. Again, why are you going? Second,
how it will be useful. And third, what you
need from the boss to make use of the
training. For example, if you are taking a
course on a new software package, let's say
the Acme Word Publisher, you aren't going to
get much use from it unless it's already set
up on your work system and easily accessible
IMMEDIATELY upon you return to work. If
something is "missing" on the work end that
will mean you can't use what you've learned
IMMEDIATELY, then consider delaying the
It's always a good idea
to schedule a "debriefing" with the boss
after the training, to explain what went on,
your opinions of it and how you intend to
use it. The best reason for doing this is
that it reinforces your own learning, and
serves as a reminder.
WHILE YOU ARE
Trainers can't read minds
(although the really good ones seem to).
While you shouldn't be pressured to
participate actively if that's not your
style, it really helps everyone if you ask
questions when things aren't clear, and
express your opinions and experiences.
Remember that you and your fellow training
participants can learn as much or more from
each other than the trainer (and sometimes
know more than the trainer!). In the event
that things aren't to your liking, approach
the trainer privately and break time. If you
don't get some positive response, then you
can always choose to leave (provided that's
OK with the boss). If you do get into such a
situation, communicate your reasons to the
boss. Still, try to be flexible. Sometimes
some kinds of training can be personally
uncomfortable due to the subject matter, but
that may pass if you hang in there.
Here's a few hints so
that whatever you learned doesn't get lost.
Consider doing a
presentation to your colleagues on what
you learned (that's a great review
process that helps you remember).
Try to begin using
what you have learned the FIRST DAY back
on the job.
Remember you have
both the course material and your notes
to use. Periodically go through them
(you'd be amazed how many people chuck
this material in a drawer, never to be
There you have it. If you
follow these basic hints, you'll probably
get more out of the training session. That
helps everyone, and justifies the company's
investments (both present and future) in
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