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Professional Development Update: Good Tips for Trainers

Training can take many forms. The one common denominator that applies across the board is that the responsibility for doing something with the training lies with the trainee. Simply getting in the habit of asking your participants what they’ve done with the knowledge and information from previous clinics is a great way to create the culture of accountability for putting learning into practice and making tangible changes.
Chances are you’ve had clinic participants show up for several sessions and it may seem like they haven't made any changes or improvements since the last time you saw them. There can be several reasons why this may be, including the length of time since receiving the information, gaps in understanding of the information, or even having little time to practice or apply it.

That said, one common reason we don’t see observable change is often that there isn’t accountability for putting the information to use. When was the last time you asked your participants, “What did you do with the information from the last clinic?” or “Now that you’ve had some time to apply the information from the last training, what else have you learned about . . . ?"

If you are meeting a group for the first time, you could use a question like, “What is something you’ve recently learned and had the chance to apply?” The key here is in giving the responsibility to your learners to not just take in information—they also need to use it to help anchor the ideas and concepts. And, continuing to learn from repeatedly using the information ultimately helps them build their own bag of tricks.

Think about the route you take to work. Chances are you’ve found a couple shortcuts and now use these for other reasons than just going to and from your job. Same concept.                 
So, as you walk up to your next clinic group, build in a little self-reflection time and you just might help the participants “own” their existing knowledge a little more before giving them even more to think about.

- PSIA-AASI Professional Development Manager Earl Saline

Photo by Grant Nakamura