Practical Support for the Changing World at Work 
Linda F. Willing
P.O. Box 148
Grand Lake, CO
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Training Tip Archives

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December 2000

Many departments like video training for its low cost and efficiency. They do one training class "live" and film it, then send the tape out to all the stations in lieu of interactive classes.

Video training has some distinct advantages and disadvantages. Consider:

  • Video training works well for technical subjects where students want to review certain techniques over and over.
  • Video training works well for "how-to" classes where students can follow along, trying the skills as they go.
  • Video training does NOT work well for subjects where Q&A is important, such as classes about policy changes.
  • Video training alone does NOT work well for controversial subjects such as sexual harassment training.
  • Use video along with facilitation for debriefs and incident reviews.

November 2000

Effective adult learning depends on what some call the 50-50 rule of teaching. This principle states that for every hour of lecture in a classroom, equal time should be given to allow students to interact with each other in a focused way. This maximizes retention by allowing students to make the material individually applicable and relevant.

Here are some ways to implement the 50-50 rule in your training sessions:

  • Divide the class into small groups that discuss different case histories or scenarios.
  • Set up a re-enactment that involves role playing.
  • Create teams for group problem solving.
  • Assign presentation topics to students and allow for questions after each presentation.

October 2000

Although most of your younger workers have probably been using computers since they were children, many older employees feel less than comfortable entering the electronic age. Here are some specific things you can do to ease the transition into the digital world:

  • Introduce computers gradually. Do not expect to bring a computer into a fire station and have everyone using it effectively the next day.
  • Provide training early and often. Keep training short and focused on one specific topic to prevent overload.
  • Put games, simulators, and self-instruction software on computers and encourage employees to use them for both work and leisure in the station.
  • Be clear about any limits on computer use from the beginning, especially regarding use of the Internet.
  • Make sure the technical support staff is knowledgeable, non-judgmental, and very available during the transition period.
  • Donât expect too much too soon. Let employees become familiar with the new technology before expecting them to use it on a daily basis for things such as run reports.
  • Provide more extensive training opportunities for employees with interest. The more computer literate your workforce is, the more it benefits the organization.

September 2000

The hour after lunch is the death hour for classroom training. People are often sleepy and inattentive, and class participation can be a struggle. Try these suggestions for improving the quality of after-lunch training sessions:

  • Begin the session with an interactive exercise that allows people to talk to one another and move around
  • Re-format lecture classes into games that are competitive, such as "EMS Jeopardy"
  • Assign teaching responsibility for small parts of the class to participants. Let them know ahead of time so they can prepare.
  • Offer small refreshments to students, such as coffee and hard candy.
  • Rotate crew training times so that the same crew is not always in the after lunch position.
  • Encourage the after-lunch training group to eat a lighter meal on training day. Try offering a light lunch as part of the training.

August 2000

Thinking about hiring a consultant? Consider these guidelines from Entrepreneur Magazine:

  1. In most cases, avoid pre-packaged programs
  2. Make sure the consultant asks a lot of questions
  3. Look for a new or innovative approach to a problem
  4. Avoid those who specialize in motivational speeches
  5. Check references
  6. Agree on payment before anything is done
  7. Don’t expect too much

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine, November 1999


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