No matter where you stand on the spectrum of how people learn: digital/offline, pedagogy/andragogy, Bloom or Gagne - a few things remain constant in maximising the impact of training: experiential learning and contextual delivery.
We held a lot of training classes in 2018, and three things (out of many) that we found worked rather well:
The most energetic classes were the smaller ones – safe spaces for genuine interactions, where everyone can learn from and inspire each other. It’s a lot of fun to warm-up trainees to the take part in the role-playing scenarios we give them – from simulating a conflict between Product Owner and Scrum Master, or a start-up team trying to pitch for funding. Everybody thinks they understand principles of self-organisation and flexibility – until they are actually required to demonstrate it in front of a group 😊.
2. Custom mental models
Besides teaching best practice frameworks in the industry, we helped trainees create simple mental models in order to:
· Recall new knowledge, rapidly
· Identify if the context necessitates application of the knowledge
· Determine which parts to apply, and how
The risk in simplifying everything into a “must-follow” structure or over-relying on a methodology is that it often results in the feedback “x doesn’t work here for us”. We should be striving to teach in a principles-based way so that we instead hear “I see how we can adapt x to work for us”.
3. Trainers must show agility
We wouldn’t be Agile experts if we didn’t apply Agile principles ourselves. We took care to immerse ourselves in the context of our participants, and to train using ‘learning backlog’ and ‘learning sprints’ rather than only sticking to a pre-determined plan and outcomes.
It is a lot of work to prepare upfront and then also to customise agenda on the fly, but it is made possible by adapting traditional principles for instructional design to find the most efficient way to provide a new learning outcome.
This can be all the difference between “I’m only here because my manager asked me to attend” and “now I see how I can tackle xxx problem/opportunity, which is important to me specifically”.
Side note: Trainers who can adapt everything from content to teaching style can also help address the tired trope of ‘Scrum or Agile or innovation doesn’t resonate with xyz culture or xyz audience’. More often it’s the medium or style that’s the issue, rather than the principles or messages themselves.
I'm also interested in your thoughts - is there anything you'd like to see done differently by trainers? What are some of the best (or worst) training experiences you've had? What would you like to have as part of your next training experience?
I am excited to have more opportunities to bring fresh training experiences in 2019 and show the beauty of classroom training, no matter the topic. I also have a few ideas to bring in some new practices to keep the training experience a refreshing and engaging one – hope to share some success stories with you soon.