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7 ways you can prepare for your next training course

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All of us attend some type of training during our professional lives.

It might be classroom-based or an online course. It could be a single course lasting one or two days, or it could be a series of ten one hour video lessons.

Based on my experiences as a trainer, I’d to share seven ways you can get more from your next training course.

1. Decide to be an active learner

Before starting a training course, decide how you’re going to grasp the opportunity that the training course represents.

If you want to make the best use of your time and learn as much as possible, then you need to do everything you can to remove anything that hinders learning.

2. Find out why you are on the course

This is the 'what's in it for me?' question.

There has to be a both a material and psychological hook to interest you in the training.

Sometimes, if you are just being sent on a training course this can be hard to spot, but you should answer this question if you want to avoid wasting your time.

So, make sure you clarify your personal objectives and what you want to get from a course before attending.

3. Understand what your manager expects of you

Whether training is part of a larger organizational program or associated with the introduction of a new system, determine what your line manager wants you to get from the training.

  • Are you being helped to do our current job?

  • Or are you being prepared for new work?

Answering these questions will help you begin a training course with the end in mind.

4. Make sure your colleagues know you will be away

Most of us work in teams and if you are going to disappear from the office for any length of time, you need to make sure that our colleagues know about why and that your manager arranges for urgent work to be covered.

You need to concentrate on learning rather than answering emails and phone calls during the course breaks.

5. Reserve and allocate time for training

Set aside time to learn.

If you want to engage in a training course, you should plan to be ready for the start of a session ahead of time. This may mean making sure you get to the venue with time to spare or logging in early in advance of online training.

Or it could mean making sure you connect to and try relevant software ahead of a training course.

Even for self-paced learning, this means allocating a set time and place to work through the materials.

If you are not able to arrive on time then you need to examine what’s holding you back.

6. Commit to attending every lesson

Online and self-paced learners are often tempted to skip a lesson, but perseverance and thoroughness in attendance is important for two reasons.

Firstly, learning is typically based on a hierarchy of concepts.

Idea 'A' will lead to idea 'B' and this in turn will lead to idea 'C'. If you miss out lesson 'B' and only attend 'A' and 'C' because those are the topics in the class description that interest you most, then you may find that you don't really understand lesson 'C' because you missed the explanation of the concepts introduced in lesson 'B'.

Secondly, training often contains iterations whereby an idea is introduced in one lesson, and referenced repeatedly later in the cycle of training; each time this idea may be explained in a slightly different way.

If you don't quite understand something at the beginning, you should persevere with the lessons because as the idea is discussed again, you will probably experience a mini-epiphany where the idea becomes clear to you.

7. Ask if you don’t understand and don’t be scared of mistakes

When you attend a training course, it is the instructor’s responsibility to lead you through the concepts and skills, but you are there to learn and that requires doing the majority of the work.

You will have to take the new ideas and work out a way of internalizing and remembering them. That means you have to be prepared to experience failure as you try out your new skills. You'll also have to keep asking questions that help you learn.

Are you prepared for your next training course?

Please let me know if you have any questions about this blog post by tweeting @SageCRMSolution.

If you're running a training course, you can learn how to get more from your next class now.

Photo Credit: Trondheim Byarkiv via Compfight cc