tRainin’ ain’t teLLin’

Here’s the thing, we all know that saying:  training ain’t telling.

But mostly, it’s looked at from a delivery standpoint.  Meaning, of course, that just telling somebody something doesn’t mean you’ve trained them to do it.   And really, showin’ ain’t trainin’ either.

From a delivery standpoint, how do you train someone to do something in a session?  What I find useful is the explain, show, and do formula.  As a trainer, I explain something and then I demonstrate it, and then I ask you to do it.

But how does someone delivering training know to do this, and not just show off their own skills and talk through things they think are obvious?  Well, it takes a well designed program.  It is the instructional designer who looks at the material and asks, “what are the objectives here?  what do they need to learn to meet the objectives?  what does their behaviour look like when they’re meeting the stated objectives?”  Once these questions are answered, they create a “explain, demo, do” kind of process to learn.

From a Kirkpatrick point of view, you could say that the first two levels, knowledge and comprehension, aren’t training.  They are information and understanding.  From a software or sales perspective, as an example, telling or showing people how to use a software program or to make a sale is not training them to do those things.  You have to move into that third level – behaviour – to TRAIN them to do something different.

My experience in all of these areas – trainer and designer in both sales and software – has taught me that my experience and knowledge will not transfer without a well designed program behind the delivery.  Without that instructional design piece to ensure the objective of changed behaviour is met – you’re not trainin’.  You’re just talking about something you know.


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