Tip #111: Employee Orientation

I recently received an inspiring example of what can be done to bring learning alive in an employee orientation program.

As some of you may know, I frequently facilitate the three-day Training Certificate Program for the American Society for Training and Development. As a matter of fact, in the next four weeks I’ll be conducting the program in Boston, Massachusetts, Tallahassee, Florida, and Irvine, California!

Debbie Fisher attended the Training Certificate Program in Irvine last year. She is the Manager of User Support in Information Technology Services at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. She has kindly agreed to allow me to share her letter with you.

Here is Debbie’s success story:

“I have been employing the skills I learned during the Training Certificate Program these many months and have drastically overhauled the training seminars our cadets attend for academic orientation based upon the skills I learned with your help.

You would be so proud to see the flip-charts, wall posters, and various visual-aids I have created to supplement the computer materials we use. I thought you might find it interesting to hear a ‘success story’.

The former cadet computer training class, which was mainly a lecture by an IT professional (dry, boring, and lifeless in an auditorium with low-lighting) has morphed into a fully interactive setting facilitated by the IT professional.

Instead of lecturing cadets about the policies, tasks, or computer-related accounts required, the cadets are now assigned to a group designated by color (red team, blue team, orange team, etc.) as they enter the computer lab. Each team is assigned a list of objectives. Each student uses his own computer to help the rest of the team locate the correct answers/procedures, etc. required to complete the team’s objectives.

A time period is established for students to research the objectives together and when the time is up, a member from each team participates in a random drawing to determine the order of the presentations. Each team takes a turn moving to the front of the classroom to teach the other teams how to perform the skills they learned during the study/research period. We use a combination of flip-charts, wall-posters, etc. to help each team stay on-target and ensure they cover all the objectives assigned during their presentations.

The cadets laugh a lot and pay a lot more attention to their peer presenters than they would to us. We keep the momentum moving and step in to clarify if questions arise about the particular skills. The session mainly runs itself after the first team gets the session rolling.”

Dave Meier, the wonderful accelerated learning guru (and also a wonderful man!) says: “Never do for learners what learners can do for themselves and for each other.”

I love what Debbie has done to spice up the training and launch the cadets on their own voyage of discovery!

I would be delighted to hear any other success stories out there!

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