The problem is a common one. You have been scheduled for a training session to explain a new policy or procedure. Unfortunately, you have time and budget constraints that mean you do not have the time or resources to have a session of the proper length or breadth. Whether you as a trainer or you as an employer looking to engage a trainer encounter this issue, pre-work may help alleviate the strain on the budget or the time table, while invigorating the training process.
Pre-work is work that is assigned before a training session begins. It can provide the groundwork of the training session, be a way for employees to self assess their knowledge of a particular topic or practice before the training session begins, or simply lay out some of the basics the training session will cover in a more in-depth manner so that the employees have some sense of what the session itself will be about. Regardless of what the pre-work actually is, it is an effective way to drum up enthusiasm for the training session itself, while staying on time and on price point.
Studies show that typically during a training session, learners spend 70% of their time speaking, and 30% of their time listening and learning, which when time is of the essence, is not efficient. It is also important to energize and excite the learners about the material that will be studied and illustrate to them the ways it will benefit them in their work. Sending out content before the training session begins in the form of studies and reading, or pre-work, not only helps shift the paradigm of the learning/speaking balance of learners, it creates enthusiasm for the training session and encourages the learners to come to the session already engaged in the subject matter. Pre course activities can be as simple as some reading a self assessment questionnaire, or as complicated as a series of worksheets. Regardless, illustrating the relevance of the lesson to the work and the applications of it should remain a priority.
Once the learners come in excited about the material, it is important to keep them engaged and enthusiastic. This can be done by considering the type of material you are teaching and what key information you want to impart to the learners. Consider approaching the training with real world applications, so the learners will know how to apply the knowledge you impart on them into real world work scenarios. Also try asking questions and constructing interesting engaging activities to reinforce the classroom lessons.
Learners need to be committed to the applying the learning process, and trainers need to enforce that enthusiasm through verbal cues such as relating the training procedures to successful real life individuals, and non verbal cues such as putting up training course work where others can see it for encouragement.
Pre-work, and training, like many workplace strategies typically needs to be adjusted on a case by case basis for your business’s needs. However, when done successfully, using the tips we’ve outlined, pre-work can become a crucial part of your business training model.