This is an excerpt from “Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.” In this excerpt Dale Ludwig (Turpin Communication’s Founder) and Greg Owen-Boger (Turpin’s VP) discuss the second of three fundamental principles of success in the training room.
Learning Events Succeed on Two Levels: Plan and Process
Creating the conditions conducive for learning—a sense of equality, respect, safety, relevance, and shared purpose—requires recognizing the distinction between learning objectives and the learning process. Learning objectives are planned and the learning process is managed. Once SMEs understand their dual responsibilities, they’re much more likely to succeed in the classroom.
From the learners’ perspective, the live training process requires a sustained level of engagement and focus. Unlike asynchronous delivery, for example, learners do not have the option to pause the process, back it up, or complete it another day. They give those options up when they enter the training room, just as they did when they entered the academic classroom. The difference in business, however, is that facilitators are responsible for making sure learners feel good about that decision. They do this by managing the learning process well and creating the conditions for fruitful learning.
So while meeting learning objectives is the SME’s primary goal, it cannot be reached effectively or efficiently without learner engagement. That requires bringing the instructional design and all its components into the here and now of the learning conversation, making whatever is taught understandable, relevant, and useful for each learner. Facilitators must be relentless in their effort to adapt and respond. When they do, trust is established and goodwill is earned. For these reasons, the SMEs’ success in the training room must be measured on two levels.