Build great Teams – People management

Training Classes – It’s What You Do With It That Counts

Training Classes - It’s What You Do With It That Counts

In a previous article I talked about on-the-job development, which is how we learn most of what we know. Occasionally you might attend formal training classes. Many people think of training classes as time away from their day job. Some people may think of them as a retreat. Other people see them as the rare occasion when they get to learn something new.

We all learn all the time whilst doing our jobs. Training classes can accelerate the acquisition of knowledge. They may accelerate acquiring skills, which is the practical application of knowledge. Training classes should be seen as an opportunity to put yourself in ‘learning’ mode away from the distractions of your job. An opportunity for some intensive learning.

Training courses cost you or your company money. The trainer is going to give you their best service if you can focus on what they are saying and if you fully participate. So in this ever busy world, when switching off from electronic communication is difficult, try and give any training class you attend your undivided attention to get the most out of it. Set expectations with your colleagues, clients and other contacts that you will not be available for a few hours, a day or however long the class is. Stick to your commitment.

Training Classes – We Can Only Take In So Much

We can only take in so much information at any one time. Often in training classes you are bombarded with a huge amount of information. You will not retain it all just by attending. You may not even be able to figure out what’s directly useful to you in the moment you receive the information. So to get the best value from attending a class you should do three things:

  1. Plan before you attend what it is you want to get from the class.
  2. Fully engage with the class.
  3. Use what you retained during the class, and what you’ve not yet learned, but were introduced to during the class, in your job.

Training Classes – Plan What You Want To Achieve

Plan before you attend what it is you want to learn from the class. Why are you attending? What do you expect to know after attending that you didn’t know before? What do you expect to be able to do after attending that you can’t do now? Think about this before you attend for two reasons. One – you will be more engaged if you’re looking for a specific result. Two – most trainers will ask you what you hope to get out of the class at the start of the class. You may as well be ready!

Fully Engage With The Class

Fully engage with the class. Ask questions, participate in activities and be open to new ideas. Note down areas you can see instantly are relevant. Mark items that you’re not sure about yet. These will be things you want to come back to after the class and think about in relation to your current role. Don’t switch off to any topic, even if you think it’s not relevant to you or your job. Listen to everything and decide later what will be helpful to you.

Use The Class Material

Most importantly, after the class, don’t just put the binder of material in a drawer and tick that topic off as ‘done’. Training classes typically provide you with ideas, methods, tools, and theory. You will need to use both what you retained during the class and what you’ve not yet learned, but were introduced to, to really develop. This means applying some effort to take what you’ve learned and make it applicable for your job in your company.

Assign time over the weeks following a class to revisit the manual/notes etc. and build templates and action items to complete in your everyday work. You won’t be able to do it all at once, so plan to revisit it once a week for a period of time so that you can get the most out of the training class and make it work for you in your current role.

As mentioned at the start of this article, training classes can accelerate your learning and acquisition of skills, but the real development of skills and experience comes from on-the-job development over time.

My Question To You

How do you assess whether training classes are effective? Do you check people have learned what you expected them to learn? If this is something you would like to discuss or would like some help with, contact me at You can also buy my book Accelerate to Team Success which is available as a paperback or on Kindle.


About the Author:

Nikki Faulkner photo Dr Nikki Faulkner founded Mulberry Bush Consulting to work with business leaders and their teams to make the 'People' side of their business as effective as possible. Mulberry Bush Consulting's specialty is helping small businesses who are new to having employees and helping businesses who are growing rapidly and increasing their employee-base at a rate that is creating a significant challenge.

You are not alone and we can help.

We offer a Team Success program that will help you build a successful team that will support you, freeing you up to spend your time and energy growing your business.

Mulberry Bush Consulting
Maximizing Business Capability through your PEOPLE
error: Content is copyright protected