Although you might think that I am about to list a bunch of handy dandy tips for instructor success, I am not, and I will leave that to the 100+ books out there in the market to give you those tips. No, I am going to share with you an experience I had this week with the volunteer role I am getting involved in.
A few weeks ago I talked about a program in my local community called SeniorNet which are computer classes for seniors and that I am applying to become a volunteer. The wheels are turning slowly but my application to become an instructor or coach has been approved and so I just attended an orientation session.
During that session I was presented with written tips for the instructor and coaching roles. Now while none of what was covered was a news flash to anyone that has been in adult learning as long as I have been, what impressed me was the organization and written handouts for a volunteer role!
If we could only get corporations to prepare written standards and expectations this detailed for the instructor we would be light years ahead of the competition and have more focused trainers.
I mentioned to the program coordinator (who is just turning 80) that this was a professional process that seems to have left a lot of corporate organizations. He smiled, and said that the beauty of working with a senior program is that many of the processes I haven’t seen in a while are alive and well in the program, because seniors are running things!
Wow! As a society we are so tuned into the “Baby Boomer” generation retiring and what we are losing, that I had forgotten that most of what I grew up on was developed by the previous generation.
Basic performance management tells us to set expectations early, coach and give constructive feedback to make sure that performance is where it needs to be. So here is a news flash for everyone – set expectations in both verbal and written forms!
If you have standards for training, if you want “adult learning principles” incorporated into your learning environments, then start providing written guidelines. And even though the handout I was provided referred to the list as “tips” they are really performance guidelines.
If you cannot just print off a set and must create these from scratch then I suggest you team up with your staff, and your network to create some standards. As I read through the list provided to me, I am amazed at the level of detail, and nothing is missing that I would be recommending.