Cara Summerfield

Putting Learning Back Into Courses
and Life Back Into Training

Cara Summerfield, M.Ed. M.A. SME
Lakewood, Colorado


Hiring a Trainer
© CSummerfield 2010

Have you ever taken a course where the instructor rarely asked for your input or disrespected your learning style because they were so interested in delivering the information? It is a fact, trainers and teachers are hired based upon what they know about the information that is needed to be given. When a teacher applies for a job at a college or university, they are only asked for their credentials and nothing more. As long as they have learned everything they need to learn about a certain subject and they have good references, they will get the job. Unfortunately, this type of hiring method does not assure good training or teaching for trainees/students.

Discourses, the guidelines for teachers to implement teaching, have changed over the years. At one time, the discourse for teaching was based upon the teacher delivering information on to the students and then assessing their learning through testing or other alternatives. Trainers and/or teachers who have not kept up with the newest strategies are the ones who make the mistake of following the older discourse. However, when a trainer/teacher is knowledgeable about the current discourse, you will find students who are taking responsibility for their own learning while the trainer/teacher provides strategies that help the adult individual learn. When using this method of training, the trainer/teacher actually becomes a facilitator.

A facilitator gently guides the student into understanding by utilizing experiences and knowledge that the participant has acquired through living. Discussions, games, group interactions, and role playing all create situations where the adult participant is able to reflect upon his/her own experiences. The learning environment may consist of many different methods, including multimedia presentations and/or kinesthetic scenarios which will provide access for all learning styles.

A trainer must be experienced in the area of educating adults. This experience entails understanding adult expectations of learning. If a trainer understands that adults are self-directed, goal oriented, relevancy-oriented, and practical, he/she will have a step up on the group and will have a higher chance of success in facilitating learning. Whatever the reason for attending a class or school, it is up to the trainer to know who he/she is training. When a company hires a trainer, there are several questions which need to be asked:

1) What is the experience of the trainer? Does he or she have examples of their experiences?

2) Does this experience include working with adults? If so, does he/she understand the aspects of adult learning?

3) What are their methods for motivating their trainees?

4) What methods do they use in training?

Once these questions are answered, you are then armed with information which will help in making the decision of hiring or not hiring a trainer. Teaching adults is a specialty in itself. It takes experience and knowledge to be effective in the area of training and teaching. It is up to the company to ensure that the trainer they hire has the necessary skills to be successful in training their employees.