Let the Student Teach

Put yourself in these shoes: There's this seminar you've wanted to go to for a long time. It comes to town and you're given the chance to attend. The day before you go, you're asked to deliver a 30 minute summary of what you've learned Friday morning in your company's weekly training meeting.

Do you think this assignment will make a difference in what you bring home from this seminar? You bet it will.

The assignment to return and teach what you've learned changes everything. When you learn something, the best way to remember it is to turn around and teach it to someone else. This concept is timeless. If you apply it once, chances are it will multiply the value of the training you participate in the rest of your career.

In your company, try assigning the next person who attends a seminar to return and teach what they learned to the rest of the company. Choose carefully who should attend the training. Consider who are the individuals that have the most interest in the subject, and who can return and teach the best. Then, hand off the assignment and see how quickly you can multiply your training dollars.

Consider attending training yourself with that assignment. It changes everything, doesn't it?

This not only increases the obligation of the person to learn, but it automatically increases the attention and retention for the material that is presented. A new sense of importance is achieved, and the learning process is greatly affected.

As the student returns and teaches what he has learned to his fellow employees, it builds unity and goodwill in the company.

With this charge to return and teach, the student fulfills his accountability back to the company he represents. As he or she learns the subject, each is planning how to return and educate others effectively.

Here's what usually happens: After two days of training, we leave the seminar full of commitment to implement the exciting new knowledge that we have gained. However, the moment we return to our work and we find four employee emergencies and 17 urgent messages. The training is removed from our vision, and it's often back to reacting to the day's demands.

The assignment to return and teach what was learned forces us to look past the muddy days of returning to work and getting caught up. It takes our focus into the future and helps us apply what we learned. How can anyone teach what they didn't learn? Preparation for teaching someone else what they learned assures they will practice, study and implement what they learned before they get up in front of a class.

Although many of us aren't eager to get up in front of the rest of our department and become the instructor, it's a noble effort that can make a person more than what he or she was before. Many people find great satisfaction after the experience is over, and their reputation in the company increases.

Preparation Time
Attend the seminar with a highlighting pen and an assignment to return and teach. Most trainers are eager to allow you to use their materials to instruct fellow employees within your own company. I would question a training company that would not allow their materials to be used for this purpose. Most materials are part of your cost of the seminar, and permission to reuse them for your company only is normally granted. Use someone's materials without permission and risk copyright violation and a hanging.

Preparation to teach others when returning home can take place right during the seminar. As specific principles are taught that interest the student. You can create the lesson outline right in the manual by highlighting and making notes in the margins.

The assignment to return and teach what you learned changes everything. Give it a try and learn for yourself.

Rob "Doc" Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute a training company specializing in measuring, rating, improving and verifying HVAC system performance. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician interested in a report showing you How to Create a Short Lesson Plan, contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800/633-7058. Go to NCI's website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, technical articles and downloads.

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