Progress guidance is everything that allows training facilitators and participants to keep track of progress and reach learning goals. This is an integral part of our L&D programs – it’s about much more than KPIs! There are three main components:
- Checkpoints: Short, individual review meetings between facilitators and trainees – a collaborative exercise, stimulating discussions that significantly deepen learning
- Coaching: Individual and Team sessions, enabling you to resolve immediate issues and often to transform them into opportunities for personal growth.
- Self-assessment: Exercises that allow trainees to check that they have captured a concept
- Feedback: Checks made before, on completion of and sometime after training encounters.
A checkpoint is a meeting where a trainee demonstrates what they’ve learnt – a theory test – and how they use their new skills – a case study. However, this experience is not like being in a school exam or a courthouse!
For one, a checkpoint is more likely to take place by telephone. Furthermore, trainees are not in front of examiners or judges. Rather, they are assisted by two coaches, whose job it is to ensure that the trainee is in a good position to exploit what they’ve learnt.
So it’s really a collaborative exercise, where a theory test and case study are used not only to demonstrate what the trainee is capable of, but also to stimulate a conversation that significantly deepens learning.
Our experience of using checkpoints to support Training Encounters and, above all, Independent Learning, has been extremely positive. We strongly recommend that you consider them for your Learning and Development program.
Even before you get to a checkpoint, you probably want to take advantage of the self-assessment tools in our Learning and Development packages. These are simple enough. They generally take the form of exercises for which immediate, automatic feedback is generated, allowing you to verify that you’ve got the right idea.
If you are more ambitious, and especially if you have the opportunity of working in groups, then we can offer a large number of domain-specific exercises, including roles-plays, for you to work with.
For classroom training, and often for workshops, we follow the guidelines laid down by Kirkpatrick. That is, we ask trainees to assess their experience at the end of a training session – this is Kirkpatrick level I – and we also ask them to complete questionnaires immediately before and after. This is the level II test, and it gives us an idea of how well the key messages were understood. This information is then used to identify areas for post-course clarification and, second, to drive updates in course content. In addition, the resulting statistics can be interesting and reassuring, both for us and our clients.
Finally, we do like to get feedback from our trainees after they’ve returned to their jobs. From time to time, we therefore send out a short survey to veteran course participants all over the world.
Training Experiences and Testimony
Many of our training experiences are captured in articles, together with testimony from our customers. Here is the latest post …
Helping Engineers Maximise the Positive Impact of their Expertise
It's well known that many professionals have difficulty communicating with people outside their speciality and it's not unusual for start-ups to be frustrated by an indifferent world – "why does nobody appreciate our great idea??"!
Ironically, this problem exists because we're intelligent. If we weren’t preoccupied by the complexity of our subject, then we'd get to the point more easily, our explanations would resonate with others and we'd grow in confidence and skill. As it is, we tie ourselves in knots, nobody understands, and we get nervous about repeating the experience.
The very abilities that constitute our added value inhibit the expression of that value.
10 years ago, I started carving out a niche to address this issue for engineers, particularly Applications Engineers and others involved in customer facing work. Trainings and workshops, events, a book, team leader coaching ... all aimed at making client encounters more enjoyable and productive for technical specialists.
Looking back on failures and successes (they happen in that order :-), it seems to me that: