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How to get the most out of a training course

How to get the most out of a training course

Are you off to participate in a training program?  Maybe you’re being dragged against your will by some new organisational requirement, or you’re skipping all the way to the conference room because you’ve been advocating for this training for some time.  Either way, most training courses tend to be short and of course they are not always one to one.   

So, if you want to get the most out of a training course, you should do some preparation.

  • Choose a provider that focuses on application – It doesn’t matter if the course is generic or custom, make sure the course content and instructors are focused on applying the new skills you’re learning to your business challenges, right in the classroom. Look for providers that dedicate time for this activity and whose instructors will coach you as you apply.
  • Reflect on what you’d like to gain from the training experience. Take a few minutes to think, dream, and scheme about what you would like to take away from this training. Is it a measurably improved skill?  Is it a greater sense of confidence about a certain aspect of your job? 

Think beyond the learning objectives, too: perhaps you’d like to build your network with key contacts outside your current work group, or walk away with a renewed sense of calm after taking a few days away from the frantic pace of your day-to-day job.

  • Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the course.  The trainer or facilitator should be well prepared for people asking questions.  They should answer your points, open them up as a discussion to other group members or find out the answers after the course and get back to you.
  • Translate as you learn – While the course is going on, make notes about how the things you are learning relate to the problems in your organisation.  If you are having trouble “connecting the dots”, consult with the instructor one-on-one during breaks or at the end of a session and ask them to clarify how the concepts could be applied in your context.
  • Plan ahead for your work. Once you are registered for a training session, schedule time the week before, and particularly in the few days before the program, to organize your work to be away. During this time, set up your work and space so you are set-up for when you return. Write a “to-do list.” Communicate and coordinate with others about collaborative work. Plan thoughtfully for your return. This way, when you are in the training you will be able to focus, and when you return to your work space, you will be able to start right up. 
  • Reflect on your learning. Hopefully, your training will include a structured opportunity to reflect on what you are learning. If it doesn’t, take some time on your own, at breaks or at the end of the training day, to reflect.  A useful model for reflection is “What? / So What? / Now What?” which can lead to questions such as: 
  • What have I heard, seen, or learned today?
  • How does this connect with or relate to my work?
  • What can I do differently when I go back to work?
  • Use the Learning – Don’t put the course materials in a drawer and leave them there.  If this happens then the learning goes with it.  Instead, regularly review the learning, in particular your action plan and keep it fresh.  Continue to put new things into practice.  Keep a check on your personal development plan to ensure you are making progress towards them objectives within it.

Not satisfied with your training provider and now stuck searching for personal training courses? Why not have a look at our personal training courses and book on to one of our specialist training courses.

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