As a team manager, one of your foremost responsibilities is to train or upskill your team member to take on higher responsibilities and deliver the task efficiently and effectively. It is critical that you understand the principles of learning so that you can weave them into your training design and programs. Let’s look at the DNA of learners, so that you can sharpen your efforts to up-skill the team.

If you have a need, you want to be trained

Your team members will invest time and effort into learning what they sense they have a need to know. For this reason, you must create opportunities for your team members to become aware of what they need to know and its importance. You can start the journey by creating a checklist for your team members consisting of the skills and knowledge required, along with sources for obtaining them; this could be a valuable tool to trigger the learning need.

We make our decisions

Adults prefer to make their choices and decisions. Some may resist training if they think it is being imposed on them. Your role is to assist learners in becoming less dependent and more self – directed. By offering your team members the opportunity to identify their needs through self – assessment, they may become less resistant to training. Offering an array of learning opportunities, including choices on whether the training needed is new or just a refresher and options of delivery method (for example, online versus face – to – face), will enable your team members to make their decisions.

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Experience hinders learning

We as adults possess a multitude of experiences that can inhibit or facilitate learning. Learners’ mental of training, work, groups, and technology may influence training outcomes. For example, participants in a virtual collaboration environment may believe that it is precisely like the familiar face-to- face collaboration, just with more technology. Others may think that the project will never succeed unless people meet in person. You as a manager or facilitator can help participants integrate prior experiences with the new reality.

Learning has to have real life impact

Learning for adults is most valued when they think that the training material will help them cope with real-life situations. You can assist participants in seeking and using training by ensuring that the training is relevant to the work setting and day-to-day work. Case studies may help learners understand the skills they will need in their new roles and tasks.

We are task centered

We as adults have a work-centered or problem-focused approach to learning. As a manager, you can position training content as a valuable tool for solving problems and improving performance issues. The uniqueness of the work situation should be presented, along with some of the problems participants may encounter in day-to-day work. Training sessions where your team members can participate by offering their suggestions for solutions may be especially useful to cement learning.

Training has to improve quality of life

We as adults are interested in learning that will lead to a better quality of life and higher self-esteem, not just in higher pay or promotion. You can help your team members understand that learning new skills may allow them to exhibit their expertise and creativity to influence more people and different projects, leading to a more satisfied career.

By understanding the DNA strand of learners, you will be able to channelize your effort to increase productivity and workforce engagement leading to better organizational results.

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