Having a comprehensive training plan for your staff is essential, but it’s not everything. The training must also be highly engaging so that learning occurs. We recommend utilizing a “learning by doing” training methodology. Make your training highly interactive so that the participants experience the information that is being presented. This results in high impact learning, in which the training participants take back the information that they learned and implement it immediately. When planning training for your staff, consider the following:
Have regular professional development opportunities throughout the year. People take in new information a little at a time. While Pre-service is a good time to provide staff with training, it’s just a few days of the year. Instead of presenting a lot of information at once, create multiple training opportunities for staff. Create a layered plan to provide training to staff throughout the year – once a month if you can. Lay a foundation of learning and then build on it – a little at a time. This allows for effective learning.
Use a combination of training techniques to engage all types of learners. Since everyone absorbs information differently, it’s important to present information in a variety of learning styles. We find that the most successful technique is a combination – presenting the new information followed by interactive experiences. Begin by sharing the information via lecture using a powerpoint presentation. Follow it up with a high level of interaction – lively discussion and hands-on activities for participants to “experience” the new information and put it into practice. Small group activities, pair and share, role plays as well as question and answer sessions are a few good ways to engage the participants.
Offer opportunities for staff to learn from each other. Provide occasions for small groups of Teachers, small groups of Family Service Workers or small groups of other like staff to spend time together. Offer them time to get together and talk, share ideas and brainstorm. Give them a challenging topic to explore. They can share successes and challenges with each other – as well as strategies to address those challenges. Whether it’s bouncing ideas off of each other, sharing strategies, or just helping each other work through an issue – peers can learn a lot from each other. Connecting with a community of like staff builds a supportive work environment.
Interested in highly engaging training for your staff? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.