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Multiple Trainers

April 2, 2008

Training, like most events will rarely ever go completely according to plan. Circumstances will dictate that training goals be reassessed, strategies be revised and occasionally, trainers will be replaced. Like or not, trainer participation is personal (that’s we use them) and changing trainers will impact on the student’s training, even if only temporarily.

In some circumstances multiple trainers may be used to increase training opportunities (to facilitate things like shift work, temporary absences) or subject matter expertise (trainers with different strengths). Although this does increase the amount of training that can be conducted (trainers usually have higher overheads than the student), there are a few problems that come with the advantages. For example, there is;

  • an increased chance of student/trainer conflict,
  • increased coordination between trainers to avoid overlap / missing information, and
  • an increased possibility of conflicting information or trainer interpretation of standards.

Why use multiple trainers

There are four main circumstances where a trainer would be used as part of multiple trainer environment. These are

  • You are taking over from another trainer
  • You are handing over a student to another trainer
  • You are temporarily covering for a trainer
  • You are part of a multi-trainer team

Regardless of why, it takes three things to use multiple trainers effectively; planning, communication and coordination.

Planning: A training plan is a road map for the trainers and laying this down formally ensures that all of the team members have a shared direction. This is essential if all of the individual units of the team are to work together, move in the same direction and at the same pace without impeding the steps of any other team member. The plan will outline goals – long, medium and short term, identify training strategies and resources required. In a team environment, it will identify the responsibilities of individual team members.

Communication: Communication is essential and goes hand in hand with documentation. If it isn’t communicated to the entire time, it has not been communicated. It is equally important that the communication extends to the student and it is easy to leave them out of the equation if the trainers are alternated often. Documenting the training ensures that both the trainers and student have access to a record of what has been achieved, what is outstanding and most importantly, what the next step is.

Coordination: Coordination between the trainers will allow the next trainer to pick up where the previous one left off. It will also reduce the replication of content or ineffective training strategies. It usually occurs through handover and takeover briefs between sessions but may be achieved through regular scheduled meetings to coordinate a plan of attack. Introducing some additional procedures such as a SCORE card (a form filled out at the end of training to assist the next trainer) or using a check list will assist the hand over process.

I’ll cover each circumstance over the next few posts and next I’ll explain the SCORE Card.

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