In my research I learned that there is no simple definition for principles of effective teaching. As we all know learning is a challenge and change in each individual. In an effort to summarize principles of learning a handful of ideas come to mind. Communication, Interaction, Diversity Recognition, Program Knowledge, Teaching Techniques, Student Exercises, and Appropriate Breaks. Learning is more likely to occur if there is a realistic and attainable learning goal. Teaching principles also are effective when information is presented at the appropriate level for the students.
Students must be capable of learning the information with respect to the material presented and the program objective. Learning most definitely occurs more easily when the material matches the wants, needs, or aspirations of the organization. When delivering the material via a clear communication method, we must relate the material taught and how it affects the trainees of the organization or how it will help the organization accomplish its goal. Trainees must see the relevance of the information being delivered and how they will apply it in their current roles.
In essence when communicating in the training setting learning occurs best when practice is as close as possible to real-world phases, situations and resolutions. Interactions in training programs are essential for not only the trainers benefit but the trainee. Simulations are excellent learning techniques, but cannot replace day to day experiences. Trainees appreciate feedback on their performance as soon as possible. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and boosts their learning horizons.
Interesting how trainees learn more efficiently if they are required to “look up” the information rather than being given the answer. If learning materials are too easy, trainees will not perceive the activity seriously. If learning materials are too complex, trainees will give up before trying the activity. Diversity recognition in organizations have spent untold millions on multi-cultural awareness and diversity training. (Aguinis) The goal is for organizations to value and celebrate differences as well as similarities, thereby delivering a more harmonious and productive work environment.
Enlightened trainers know that diversity within the business and global workforce will continue to grow into the 21st century and that this reality must be acknowledged effectively in order for organizations to compete, survive, and thrive in this innovating and competitive market. Recently human resource managers, organizational researchers and trainers have been developing criteria to help determine what programs work and what programs don’t. One approach in diversity training is to “take the pulse” of an organization before, during, and after the training programs. Checkering) Program knowledge comes from confidence. Preparing your own slides or paper materials forces you to master your subject program. Your knowledge improves to the degree that you approach the presentation in a visual display less argumentative and with every word and chart on that visual display the trainer will give the opportunity to support the material presented. Your knowledge also increases to the extent that the trainer takes the time to reorganize the presentation so that the material is delivered in a learning manner.
Trainers however need to be prepared that the audience may have questions or objections. Nothing disarms an objection better than a trainer who smiles in a natural manner and states: “I’m glad that you have asked that that questions or have advised me of your concern! “(Parker) Knowledge also increases the extent that the trainer is proud of the material and visual displays. Be proud of the fact that you have been asked to present this program. It is obvious that you have been identified for you skills and knowledge, that you have what the organization requires for the delivery of it purpose, need, or what’s.
After preparing a well-argued, good-looking program, the trainer will look forward to the presentation because it will provide as much information as possible to share the visual displays with the trainees. Believing in the message and being proud of the presentation will help identify the trainer’s enthusiasm and the presentation will be off to a roaring start and ultimately in a well execute finish! Teaching techniques are also an important process. Arriving early and testing out all the equipment is essential. Locate the room lighting switches and identify the rooms seating arrangements.
Arrange your program materials before the trainees arrive and familiarize yourself with the environment layout. Know how to smoothly work the room. Check sound levels and know where there are blind spots for the trainees. If you are using a wireless microphone, find out its range and all “hot spots” in the room are. These can cause loud feedback if you talk while standing at a distance. When delivering the program the trainer must interpret the information to the trainees in an enthusiastic, conversational upbeat tone rather than “reading” them which is a dull sound of boredom for all present.
Welcome your trainees as they enter the room. This delivers a comfort zone for the trainer and your audience. By introducing yourself to your trainees, you become a likable, vulnerable element rather than an authority figure to be challenged or disliked. Never delay the start of your training program. Start on time! This shows you are serious about your program and so should all the trainees involved. Pay no attention if a trainee walks out during your program with a bored or annoyed look on his/her faces.
The trainee may have just found out they were in the wrong session or they may be just unhappy with your presentation of the material. It is possible to predict the success of your presentation as determined by the acceptance of your ideas or trainees interactions from the analysis of the trainees and the response during your presentation of the program. (Parker) Trainees need to actively participate in any program as often as possible. The reasoning behind this technique is that employers constantly want their employees to be able to work in groups.
Yet, employees often complain about working in such groups, partly because it is difficult to get along. One way to get the trainees to participate more in the program is to give mini team assignments that they have to complete in a couple of minutes. This allows for a leader selection, sub leader selection, followers and bottom line participants selection. With this process the trainees will apply this grouping technique and apply it in the real life working environment. With these techniques the trainer can help the audience develop a skill for group participation and offering a way to integrate as a whole.
With these changing times many organizations find themselves having to restructure and over lapping job functions in order to keep from letting personnel go. Breaks are necessary! Keep in mind that many trainees might not work in a single environment on a daily basis. It is important to recognize when the audience starts to lose interest in the presentation. Signs of distraction and need for a break can come in many forms. Restlessness, fidgeting, sighing, side conversations and a decrease in participation are all indicators a break may be needed.
It is essential that these signs are not taken personal and as an experienced trainer that you revise your program schedule if need be. Allow the break to either start earlier of extend itself slightly depending in the atmosphere perceived. Trainers usually benefit from these breaks because the audience returns reenergized and ready for business. Food, drinks or basic restroom breaks can make a negative situation into a positive one. Following the break the trainer can then proceed to execute the presentation or training and deliver the organizations goal and purpose.
In conclusion there are many training techniques and principals behind effective teaching. It is up to the trainer to study, plan, prepare and deliver the program required. The ultimate goal is to ascertain that the audience has benefited from the materials and training presented and the organization has positive results from such. If this is not accomplished the trainer is in the obligation the reevaluate his/her techniques and implement a different teaching style if required.