Change Takes Time!
These questions pop up often from eager trainers: “How do I begin making changes in my training programs? How do I encourage adult learners to participate? Where do I start?” Here are a few suggestions to try – ideas that may help you get past the initial challenge of making the change from traditional training to a more learner-centered approach.
1. Take baby steps. Change one small thing about your training – one learning activity or one instructional strategy – and get comfortable with that change first. Then make another small change, then another, until you feel okay with the succession of changes that you’ve made.
If you change too many things all at once, and if they don’t work as well as you expected, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. When that happens, you might chuck all you’ve learned and fall back on old ways of training that may not be as effective. Baby steps (also called “kaizen” in Japanese – small changes which lead to continuous improvement) are better and last longer.
2. Be patient with yourself and your learners. Remember that your learners need time to adjust to different learning activities while you’re adjusting to different instructional strategies. Give learners the “right to pass” on an activity and simply watch it if they feel uncomfortable. Rest assured that they will soon join in. Furthermore, don’t judge yourself or your learners for any reluctance you/they may feel. Just give yourselves time to get used to the changes.
3. Close enough is okay. Perfection is not the goal when you’re trying out new ways of designing and delivering instruction. The goal is learning – your own learning and that of your training participants. If a new idea works fine the first time you try it, great! If not, pick up the pieces, and try it another time and another way. “Approximation” – close enough – is totally acceptable. The more you practice a new instructional strategy, the better you’ll get at it and the more comfortable you’ll feel with the changes you’re making. All it takes is time.