Why do we need to train the trainer? Afterall, we know the person has the skills and knowledge of the subject area, so why can’t they just pass their skills and knowledge on?
Well, it is important to realise that any trainer needs two separate sets of skills and knowledge to train others. Firstly, they absolutely do need to know the topic they are training (subject matter expertise); but secondly, they need to know how to transfer that information to the learner (instructional expertise).
The trainer needs to know the subject matter very well; and in order to know a subject well enough to train it, a trainer often needs to have expert experience or knowledge at a much higher level than the level they are training. But as well as this, trainers need to acquire the instructional expertise, or trainer training. Often it is assumed that because a person has the knowledge and skills of the subject area, they will be able to train others. But this isn’t necessarily the case. Training is an entirely new set of skills.
Whoever is being trained, a trainer can’t just explain a subject to the participants, and then expect them to “get it.” Training is more than just simple transference of knowledge. A trainer needs to know how to organise that knowledge, properly present it in a variety of formats for those who have different learning styles and preferences, and talk about the topic in a way that the participants can understand and learn from.
Training is costly, so when it is done, it needs to be done effectively and with maximum impact. A trainer needs to be clear and confident in their delivery, and know how to build and maintain rapport throughout the training session. A trainer needs to be able to adapt to meet the needs of different learning and behavioural styles, and to be able to learn the techniques to engage and stimulate interaction and involvement.
An effective train the trainer progamme will have a positive impact on the participants. It will help the trainer to transform their training programmes and workshops in to multi-layered, interactive, effective and energising learning experiences that will ensure long-term retention of information by the learners, and thereby increase their productivity and effectiveness.
Of course, once trained , the trainer is then a valuable in-house resource for the organisation. They will be able to respond quickly to learning needs, saving time and effort of finding an appropriate training resource outside the organisation.The trainer will have the knowledge of the people and the culture and systems of the organisation to create tailor-made training projects. They will have a high understanding of issues facing the organisation and consequently will be able to deliver the most relevant content. Not forgetting the money it will save you in sourcing external trainers. But ultimately training your in-house trainers will maintain your commitment to training and developing your staff.
Train the Trainer training can help you do all of these things, and more.