Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Nathamuni
Human Resources Professional

The goal for any trainer is to present effective training. This is especially true in a newsroom where time is short and newsroom people are quickly turned off by ineffective training.



Adult learning theory makes two points over and over about effective training design. The material should be practical and the training should be active.

Education professor Malcolm Knowles says it is essential to recognize that adult learners are different from students. Adults are more self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions. The familiar information dump, classroom lecture format will not work with adults. According to Knowles, effective training designs for adults must take into account:



Adults need to know why they need to learn something.



Adults need to learn experientially.



Adults approach learning as problem solving.



Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value.

As part of his "Conditions of Learning" theory, psychologist Robert Gagne developed a sequence of nine "instructional events" that he found provide effective adult learning. Gagne's outline is a good starting point for designing effective newsroom training. The nine steps are:

1. Gain attention

2. Identify objective

3. Recall prior learning

4. Present stimulus

5. Guide learning

6. Elicit performance

7. Provide feedback

8. Assess performance

9. Enhance retention/transfer



Sample program

Here is how Gagne's nine-step model might be applied in a program on anecdotal leads:



1)Gain attention: Share examples of a good and a bad anecdotal lead.

2)Identify objective: How to write good anecdotal leads.

3)Recall prior learning: Ask participants to list other types of leads, their strengths and uses, and reasons to use an anecdotal lead.

4)Present stimulus: The how-to lecturette: List the four elements of a good anecdotal lead.

5)Guide learning: Evaluate examples of weak anecdotal leads using the how-to material.

6)Elicit performance: Ask participants to evaluate and rewrite weak anecdotal leads with the how-to material. (Alternative: Present raw material for another story and ask participants to construct an anecdotal lead.)

7)Provide feedback: Share and discuss their anecdotal leads.

8)Assess performance: Identify successful examples.

9)Enhance retention/transfer: Ask participants to share potential anecdotal leads from stories they are now working on.



Timing

When planning such a program, block out times for each of the nine sections with an eye toward limiting lecture and facilitating self-directed learning. Below is how the anecdotal lead program might look in a 60-minute outline.

(10 min.)

1. Gain attention: Share examples of a good and a bad anecdotal lead.

2. Identify objective: How to write good anecdotal leads.

3. Recall prior learning: Ask participants to list other types of leads, their each strengths and uses, and reasons to use an anecdotal lead.

(15 min.)

4. Present stimulus: The how-to lecturette. List and explain the four elements of a good anecdotal lead.

5. Guide learning: Evaluate examples of weak anecdotal leads using the how-to material.

(25 min.)

6. Elicit performance: Ask participants to evaluate and rewrite weak anecdotal leads using the how-to material. (Alternative: Present raw material for another story and ask participants to construct an anecdotal lead.)

7. Provide feedback: Share and discuss their anecdotal leads.

8. Assess performance: Identify successful examples.

(10 min.)

9. Enhance retention/transfer: Ask participants to share potential anecdotal leads for stories they are now working on.

Note lecture time is short. More time is spent on applying the how-to material to solve problems. Active training plays to adults' learning preferences by providing time to practice new skills and learn by doing. This increases the likelihood new skills will be learned and applied on the job - the test for effective training.

In a program outline, a long lecture segment is a warning the program is trying to cover too much material. When a program tries to cover too much material, and does not allow time for practice, it will be ineffective.

This is by no means the only way to design a newsroom training program. But Gagne's model does provide a basic outline that can be applied to many newsroom topics. When you develop your own training designs, Gagne's model is still a good reminder of the basic ingredients for effective training.





Courtesy By Michael Roberts

Special Thanks to Lucy Doss
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Register Here and help by adding your inputs. Contributions From Other Members Follow Below...
Dear Nathamuni,

You have shared a long article. However, the whole article revolve around people who are "being taught". There is a difference between "learning" and "being taught". The author did not take into account this.

Benefits of training are two fold - personal development as well as organisation's development. Then why employees do not understand their responsibility for the learning? Is this what their commitment towards their job or company is?

There is famous proverb "one can take the horse to the water but one cannot make it drink". Now the whole article article is about this unwilling horse and how a trainer should use his/her training skills so that horse starts drinking water.

A well-motivated horse does not need cajoling. A simple "telling" is enough or not even that.

Heading of the post is "Plan Effective Training Sessions !!" that is addressed to the trainers. Has the author written similar article "Plan Effective Learning Sessions !!" addressing to the learners?

During my training manager days, I have trained people while sitting on the boxes or sitting along with trainee in the commercial vehicle. Learning happened very fast and that too without any games. This is because learner had shown tremendous learning attitude. We did not have luxury of wasting time on games, energisers etc.

Of the nine steps that Gagne has given, the very first step is "Gain attention". You need to "gain" someone's attention provide that person is not "attentive". Why learners are not attentive? Or is it that "being attentive" is not part of adulthood?

I have conducted hundreds public workshops. I have seen the participants who have fire in their belly. This very fire drives the learning and ultimately their own or organisation's growth. Don't expect some other person to ignite this fire. That would be churlish and chasing the wild goose!

I have given contrary views because for every article we cannot go gaga over it. It has to be analysed critically.

Thanks,

Dinesh V Divekar


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