“This training should only take about 15 minutes to deliver. It’ll be quick and pretty simple so . . . I can’t imagine it taking too long.”
This comment is something that I’ve heard a few times recently and more times than I can count over the years. It’s the same phrase that creates a little smile on my face as I now realise another capital instructional offense is about to be committed.
But seeing it happen again and again, it makes me wonder a few things—why do we tend to rush training? More appropriately why do we think that we can teach people quickly? Why do we fail so badly?
I just read recently that if you spend long enough following someone on social media you’ll learn who they truly are—they’re political alignment, they’re sense of humor, they’re beliefs etc. To an extent I find this to be true, especially when someone’s back is up to the wall, you’ll see their true nature. You’ll see what they will do to survive, and who they’ll sacrifice along the way or . . . you will see something extraordinary.
You also get to learn about people as they observe things. There are those who will watch the world go by and criticize everything around them without knowing anything about what they’re talking about, and then there are those who will blindly say that everyone is simply trying their best no matter what the outcome or effort is—and they are only two ends of the spectrum.
Coaching and Teaching are very closely related! In fact some instructors will often coach during teaching and vice versa. So if they are so similar how do you know which one you’re doing and when to do so? Between Coaching & Teaching-What’s the difference?
Coaching and Teaching are very closely related! In fact some instructors will often coach during teaching and vice versa. So if they’re so similar how do you know which one you’re doing and when to do so? What’s the difference?
Before we go into the differences let’s take a look at what each are.
There are many reasons that we learn. It could be due to curiosity or an outright need to solve a problem that we have to deal with. So what method of learning is most effective? When it comes to your business and the courses you deliver, you need to know how to maximize the effectiveness of your teaching for your clients.
There a numerous ways that we experience and retain information, all the way from listening to it, through to teaching it. And it may seem overly simple, but if there is a more effective way of learning then why isn’t that method of teaching used all of the time?
It seems like a dire subject when we think about training for emergency or abnormal situations, but not all training can ever be planned & delivered for completely predictable or ‘safe’ environments or scenarios.
So before we dive into this topic further how can we define ‘safe’?
Safe can have many definitions depending on the industry or the subject that is being instructed upon, but let’s for the sake of the article settle on‘safe’ being;
“A secure environment where activities can be conducted without risk of disruption & where people have no exposure to any threatening hazards of any sort.”
Let’s just work with it for now!
So . . . When we use a definition such as this, abnormal can technically be anything that falls outside of the above definition and emergencies can not only be disruptive to operations, but also hazardous to the people and material conducting activities.
One thing to think about at this point is that abnormal
or emergency situations can typically be regarded as rare. And when we think
about rare circumstances our natural tendency is to want to ignore them.
As an example, motorcyclists are encouraged to practice
emergency braking techniques often in controlled environments, but how many
actually practice? Emergencies likely won’t happen to us, so why bother to keep
the skill up to date?
You can see where this is heading, but one point to
remember and really take note of is that training is expensive, both as a
client, and also as an instructor. So knowing that an abnormal or emergency
situation is not just possible but potentially probable and that preparation
can be expensive, we are left with two options that we can examine.
Training can be expensive so if a situation is not likely to happen then is it worth covering?
The possibility is known, but we choose not to prepare for it.
One point to make clear now is that abnormal situations vary
on an absolute scale between industries and sectors down to certain
individuals, but the local scales of the impacts can be large regardless,
whether it be a disruption to service or operations leading to some down time
through to a situation that can impact on thousands for an extended period.
So what is the cost of training & what is the cost of failure?
This is now venturing into risk management, but training carries
two costs. Firstly as a client it is going to cost the upfront value of the
training, and also the time that it is going to take to become competent in a
Let’s set time at $100 per hour (Cheap in some circles) and say that a course is going to take 40 hours to complete. As a client you would expect the course to be set at No Less than $4,000 excluding other consumables, and that it will take a week to complete.
If you’re an employer, not only are you going to be staring
at $4,000 per trainee, but you’re also going to face 40 hours of disruption
while the trainee goes through training and those roles and responsibilities
need to be distributed elsewhere.
Naturally if something is unlikely and this can save 10 hours of training then this becomes a corner everyone wants to cut. It gets trainees back into work, clients trained sooner, and costs are reduced.
So this corner cutting can save 10 hours & $1,000 dollars per trainee, but what happens when the training required to handle failure is not delivered?
If an organisation has 20 employees and a manageable failure
occurs which disrupts everyone for 2 hours, then the cost of this failure is $4,000
(personnel costs only).
If training could have reduced the impact from 2 hours of
downtime to 1 hour, then the extra disruptive training pays for itself after
the first failure, and our costs (Theoretically) balance. Each failure in
future which becomes better handled actually saves an organisation money. But .
. . This is actually not the complete point here. Read on!
So is it about prevention & Risk Management?
Training for abnormal or emergency situations is much less
to do with risk management but most importantly more to do with being able to
respond and react to the abnormal situation itself—and preventing additional
failure once an event has occurred.
Unlikely situations can be taught, but are seldom remembered
when required. How can proper preparation be achieved?
We make the emergency more likely!
The use of exercise or simulator based scenario training is exactly how we prepare for unlikely and emergency situations. Setting up specific training scenarios (where required) is how we create proficiency and skill in people who have to deal with unlikely and emergency scenarios.
Rehearsing specific scenarios is exactly what makes regular people extraordinary in emergency or crisis situations, and this can only be achieved through scenario specific training with repetition.
Carefully setting the outcome, creating the situation, and then let the scenario play out. As an instructor in these training situations it can be important not to get involved and simply take notes on what takes place for feedback later. The timely & accurate feedback is what will make your clients and an organisation better where required.
As mentioned training is expensive—particularly on
organisations. Staff are out of place, roles & responsibilities need to be distributed
to maintain output, and there is also the financial cost. Clients will pay both
in dollars and hours, but this final question is not only directed towards
What is the cost of failure?
And to educators running lessons and courses, if you know there is an abnormal situation; What is the cost of ignoring these lessons?