Jonathan DeVore

By: Jonathan DeVore on April 5th, 2019

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The #1 Mistake Instructors Make During Classroom Training

Change blog Post.001

When Owen Hutchison helped the Royal College of General Practitioners roll out Salesforce, he put together a robust plan of action.

Owen's Change Management Plan included:

  • The impact the Salesforce rollout would have on each department (based on the changes to procedures and technology)
  • A training schedule for each department, including usability testing
  • Detailed procedure documentation (created in ScreenSteps)
  • Classroom training
  • Foundation courses (also created in ScreenSteps)
  • Follow up courses (again, also created in ScreenSteps)

Owen put in a lot of work and it paid off. The Royal College of General Practitioners successfully rolled out Salesforce and its members are seeing the benefits from an upgrade to its technology.

But Owen had one regret...

The only regret Owen had was leaving out a lesson on how to use the knowledge base.

If there’s one thing that has caused us a bit of pain is people not realizing how much stuff is actually in the ScreenSteps knowledge base. And that’s because, during our initial training, I didn’t get them into the knowledge base near enough.

Owen's classroom training included a lot of great slides and demonstrations; however, employees couldn't remember everything they saw and heard during training, and Owen didn't show them where to go when they forgot.

Which meant that after training was over, he and his team received a lot of questions about topics already covered during training, as well as questions that weren't covered in training but were addressed in Owen's ScreenSteps knowledge base.

You can try to improve memory, or plan for it not working so well

Studies have shown that humans can improve their memory. One subject of a study, we'll call him Ted, went from being able to instantly recall 4 random digits that were spouted off, to being able to recall 80 random digits that were spouted off. He accomplished this by chunking digits together and thinking of them as race times (e.g. 4384 would be 4 minutes and 38.4 seconds—a pretty fast mile).

That means if you rattled off the following: 52498748694837201928384757684934030192828475676728926453417849206786648392019348

Ted would be able to repeat it back to you.

The problem is, this skill took 20 months to learn. And, in most cases, it's completely useless. (Unless you're Ethan from Mission Impossible, how many situations do you actually need to remember up to 80 digits?)

Other methods of improving memory include creating a memory palace; however, that technique can take years to fully develop.

So, while it's true that memory can be improved, your employees are not likely going to create a memory palace or develop other methods to train their memory to recall all of the processes, procedures, policies, and clicks that you are going to demonstrat during your training.

Which means you need to prepare for when employees forget what you told them during training.

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Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Owen realized that while his initial classroom training was engaging and positively received, he should have incorporated the knowledge base more. That's why he didn't make that mistake again.

In subsequent sessions I’ve run, I’ve actually changed that approach completely. I’ve given them basic points, and then I’ll ask, “Where are you going to find this information? How are you going to find it?” Now, I get them to search for an article so they can become familiar with navigating around the knowledge base and using the articles.

When employees know how to use the knowledge base to help themselves, they become more independent. That's good for them and you.

Telling employees there's a knowledge base isn't enough

Owen's experience isn't new. Instructors and trainers often skip the lesson of "Here's where to go when you get stuck" leaving employees with no choice but to call the expert when they forget.

So, next time you are training employees on a new policy, process, procedure, or task, make sure to include exercises that get employees in your knowledge base looking for, and utilizing, answers. If you don't, your training will always leave employees with only one place to go when they forget—you.

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About Jonathan DeVore

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