An effective instructor is much more than a subject matter expert; they are a leader and communicator. The Internet is full of tips on how to be a great trainer and the qualities that make a great trainer, but while you’re here, here’s our top 5.
1. Plan. It sounds really obvious, but we’ve all experienced that moment when a resource isn’t to hand, the visuals don’t work, or, worst of all, we fluff our lines. Planning, although time-consuming, can help alleviate so many of these issues and leave you feeling free, focused and confident on the day. Take some time before any course to check through the list:
- Check the training room
- Check the hardware and software you’ll be using (including the batteries in your presentation clicker!)
- Check any props that will be used
- Check everything is in place in the practical training area
- Check you have enough hand-outs
Remember to always ask yourself – do I have a contingency plan for if things go wrong?
2. Know your subject. As well as the key points about your subject, get up-to-date on the current issues, regulations and techniques – don’t just settle for what you read last year, or worse still, what you learnt during operator training three years ago.
3. Participation. Don’t let your candidates sit there and not get involved; it’s bad for their engagement and motivation, and it’s bad for your course. If you don’t get them involved on day 1, imagine how things will be going by day 5. People learn best when they are involved in the course – get some peer review going, encourage group debate, utilise their knowledge.
4. Theory is nice . . . but only in theory. Nobody wants to sit through hours and hours of theory. Our industry is practical, and hands-on. So where possible (and when safe), get out of the classroom and teach through demonstration and practice – of course, you’ll need to make sure your skills are impeccable (see point 1).
5. Context. The principles of safe lift truck operation/manual handling/LGV/HGV driving are, undoubtedly, very interesting, but barely so if it’s not put into the context of the learner’s life. Where possible, relate what is being taught to their workplace and/or experience. Get the subject out of the text book and into the real world.