You’ve decided it’s time to learn more. You’ve signed up for a training course. Now what?
What to do before, during, and after the training to optimize your learning experience.
You might be having a valid reason to have this trainings on your schedule. Maybe, you have been asked to attend. Maybe, you might not even really know what the training is all about. Maybe you’d rather go out of office to this training than be at your desk. Maybe this training means a chance to get away from home for a couple of days. Maybe you are really looking forward to attending this training and really excited about it. Or maybe it is a mix of all these (and others) reasons.
Regardless of the contexts and your motivations why, the truth is that you will soon be taking some training. And because you are attending – putting your time (and perhaps your money or your company’s money) and changing your schedules, doesn’t it make sense to get the most from the training experience that you possibly can?
That is what the rest of this article about – 3 practical things you can do before, during and after any training course to make it as valuable to you as possible.
The list could be longer – but I’ve picked the most feasible and most powerful things you can do. If you do at least some or most of these things while planning to attend a training course, I guarantee you will enjoy the training course more and get far more from the involvement than if you don’t do them. If you do them all, it may be among the best learning experience of your career.
- Review the course outlines. Most training organizations will have a detailed course outline including daily agenda, read them. Perhaps it is a pre-reading material provided to you at the time of registration. Looking that over will give you a sense of what is to come and get your mind thinking about how these ideas might give you an advantage. If pre-reading materials are available, reading it will prepare you better. The more prepared your mind is for the course contents, the more connections you will make during the training sessions, the more you will achieve, and honestly, it will be a lot easier.
- Think about what you would like to learn. This is the most important thing you can do before the training course begins. Think about it and note down what you would like to learn from the training course. Then take your expectations to the training session with you, review them before the session starts (most responsible training providers and their trainers ask for some info like this before the session starts, and when they do, you will be better prepared – no last-minute stress!) Ask yourself questions like:
- What makes this training worth my time?
- What is my fondest desire for this training?
- What should I expect from this training?
- What is the best possible outcome that could arise from this training?
- What are the biggest questions I’d like to get answers?
- Season your attitude. Think about this: how often have you learned successfully when you were stressed, cynical or negative? Decide to bring an attitude that will support you learning. Be open-minded. Be positive (or at least not negative). Bring a smile. Remember that you chose your attitude. Decide now to bring one that would be favorable, not an obstacle to your learning.
- Be a responsible learner. Yes, there will be a trainer to guide you. Yes, they will be a “course director” or an “events coordinator” of the workshop. But ultimately, you will be responsible for your learning, make sure you do what you need to be successful. This could be anything from bringing a sweater if you might get cold, to asking the right questions you want answers for. The training course is for your learning. Make sure you get what you want and came for and remove as many obstacles from getting that as you can. You are ultimately responsible for your learning – take the responsibility.
- Look for a practical application. The most important question you can ask yourself during any training session is . . . “How can I use this to my benefit or to my organization’s?” Throughout the training session, keep your mind open and look out for ideas on how you can apply what you are learning now. Consider this bonus too – because you are away from your normal routine, you may get creative ideas. Look for the practical application and note down those ideas down so you don’t lose them!
- Engage in the group activities. Learning is an active process, be an active participant. That doesn’t mean you have to answer every question or be the most talkative person in the group – it just means to actively engage in whatever goes on.
- Decide what you will do next. Most often you will have time to do this before you leave a training session. If so, that’s great. Trust me, this is one of the most important of the suggestions mentioned here. Identify the top ideas that you learned and ways to apply in your work. Again, note them down, along with any quick thoughts on your action plan. Writing this down provides clarity and focus. It encourages your commitment to success.
- Teach a bit to someone else. Identify something that was useful & interesting from this training and teach it to someone else. When you do that you will activate your sense of ownership of this learning to yourself and you understand it better. Certainly, as plus point, you are benefiting someone else – and in teaching them, they might be able to hold you accountable for applying that lesson in your career or workplace too!
- You prepared, you participated actively, and you even decided what you would like to do. None of that matters unless you act. If you want to get more from the time you have invested in taking a training, make sure you put to action something you learned – until you do that, there is no real return on your training investment.
Nine important and easy to do steps – collectively they will make your next training course more inspiring and valuable.
Will you be doing them?