Every time I do training, I try to ask myself, “What is it that I am hoping to get out of this”? Typically in answering that question I also answer, “What do I hope the trainees get out of this?” Although many types of training are required on an annual basis, there is no reason for those doing the training to fall into a routine where they deliver the same set of PowerPoint slides year after year. Granted, there are important messages that must be delivered each and every time a particular topic is presented; however, that does not excuse the trainer from finding a dynamic, inventive and useful approach to deliver that message.
For training this year, I have challenged myself to come up with new and “exciting” topics (Ok, not everyone gets as excited about document control as I do, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t find a way to jazz it up!). However, I don’t think this is the only thing that will help me to develop a more well-rounded, effective approach to quality training. It’s all well and good for the trainer to be excited for each training session, but how do you go about getting the trainees involved? Here are some suggestions:
- Relate it to real problems – what is actually happening in the lab? A lot of times unscheduled or “impromptu” trainings are related to corrective actions. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. When coming up with topics to cover during monthly, quarterly or even annual trainings try to consider how to achieve effective education.
- Involve the trainees – what do they want to learn about? Perhaps there’s something someone in the lab would like to better understand, like why are DQ/IQ/OQ/PQs a necessary part of the quality management system? Yes, procedures are a good place to start, but an in-depth conversation can only add to their knowledge base. Sometimes breaking things down beyond the basics can go a long way to greater involvement and more proactive employees.
- Consider tailoring training to various job descriptions – not everyone needs to hear the same thing. Yes, everyone needs to understand the basics as well as have a firm grasp on the requirements of their employment. However, no two jobs have the same requirements. Take some time to recognize the individual requirements around the laboratory and you just might find that your message has a lot more power to it.
- Be a dynamic presenter – everyone loves a jokester. Ok, maybe not everyone but it certainly helps to lighten the mood during an hour discussion on document and record control. And keep in mind, those same old slides could use some spicing up, too! Don’t be afraid to venture into alternative methods of training; not everything needs to be bulleted and labeled. Training videos, group exercises and question and answer sessions can certainly help to break up the monotony of proper error correction and dating practices. Be a little more innovative and creative and it will definitely show!
- Everyone needs to be involved – even if they have “heard” it a thousand times before. Involvement speaks volumes. This means everyone, from the top down. No one should be exempt and everyone should be present and engaged. If this isn’t the case, speak to management. Cell phones and laptops can wait while an important message is being delivered.
Now to just work on personal growth as a trainer, but that is a topic for another day. As I work on my training sessions and try to grow as both a presenter and trainer, I keep reminding myself it takes two to tango. So for now, I am going to use the tips above to create exciting and involving training sessions, rather than the same old, same old. I hope these tips work well for others and of course, look forward to seeing how it drives the effectiveness of quality training at Gateway Analytical.