I attend a lot of networking events, and often find myself explaining what it is that I actually DO for clients and trainers. Clearly I need to work on my communication skills because people assume that I’m some sort of programmer, creating sophisticated e-learning packages. I can just about manage social networking platforms, and am one of the least IT literate people I know!. Or, when I describe that I create live training sessions, I’m told “Our administrator does that for us”. I then have to politely explain that “No, they don’t”. What you administrator does is prepare your training materials. This is quite different from designing training. I am not a typist. My typing skills are average. I’m competent in the use of Word and PowerPoint, but I’m no whizz, but that’s not what my service is about. Indeed, I sometimes employ graphic designers and typesetters myself.
I am a degree-level educated person with over 20 years experience of learning and development in commercial environments. People don’t use me (or my associates) to do a typing job for them, they employ me to create a coherent, robust learning and development solution to address a specific business need, that can be delivered by anyone with basic facilitation skills. To do this, I typically:
- undertake a training needs analysis (or at least some consultancy) to verify our starting point
- use my commercial experience to identify business-focussed outcomes and objectives for the solution
- complete on-the-job and desk-based research
- use my education and experience to identify the theories, concepts and key messages that need to be covered
- link the training/learning to real operational issues to make it meaningful
- use my knowledge of learning theory to structure the training in such a way that learning will be easy for people AND more likely to be applied on the job
- use my knowledge of brain-friendly learning techniques to make sure that everyone is engaged in the learning and is able to get the most out of it
- oh…and make the materials look nice
So, I’m not a typist. I’m not a programmer. I’m a catalyst. I’m an extra pair of hands. I’m the bridge between concept and reality. I take a clients ideas, concepts and identified learning needs to show them how to bring to learning to life so that people have the best chance of making a change and delivering real business results.