A Professional Instructor Perspective
Training is all about creating the ability to produce. The most effective training is thorough, crisp and demanding while effectively serving its particular educational purpose.
A student's perception of value in training is usually based upon confidence in skills gained. It takes both some repetitive doing and some theoretical understanding for people to become skilled at something.
During training students must be able to:
- Understand it – the theory of how and why to apply the thing.
- Do it using the actual tools and see that it works for themselves.
- Drill it over and over until they can do it.
If one, two and three above are accomplished, there has been a good thorough delivery of training. The only way to enhance it any further is to use a copy of the actual environment that students work in.
What makes an effective instructor?
An effective instructor needs certain skills and native personality characteristics. Among these characteristics are:
- An instructor's own certainty that training is a worthwhile activity that will help the students in attendance.
- The ability to accomplish two way communication to the audience being trained. The ability to listen to and understand a student's question is fundamental to two way communication. In addition, it is of prime importance that a teacher contemplates what their student really does not understand after verbalizing a question. A good technical instructor is always on the lookout for misunderstanding of earlier material.
- A certain amount of knowledge of the topic being taught. A instructor does not need to be the world's greatest expert on a topic but does need to understand its basics and why they are the basics and how the factors and topics logically work together. The greater the expertise the better!
- The ability to creatively correlate experiences from many different backgrounds into a topic. The good instructor is able to assume the viewpoint of the audience and find examples that make sense to a particular audience and correlate with their own lives. A good instructor can explain something using examples from plumbing or shoe stores or computer programming.
- The best instructors really care that the students learn what they have come to learn and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that goal. This may include eating lunch with a student to fill in holes in the student's background that may be preventing them from understanding the new material.