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From "Training" to "Learning Facilitation
Dan Tobin's Blog

Traditionally, trainers did training – delivering in a classroom a workshop, course, or seminar that he or she or another member of the training staff developed.  Once the learning event was over, the trainer’s responsibility ended.  There may have been a “smile sheet” evaluation at the end of the program which asked if the trainer was knowledgeable in the subject matter, he or she responded well to participants’ questions, or whether the training was worthwhile.

Today, being this type of trainer is not enough.  We need to redefine the role of the trainer (and re-train the trainer) to become more of a “learning facilitator.”  The section below, adapted from The AMA Guide To Management Development by Dan Tobin and Margaret Pettingell (AMACOM, 2008), presents some of the major differences between a trainer and a learning facilitator.

Trainers versus Learning Facilitators
A trainer determines what others need to learn, develops a training program to transmit the required knowledge and skills, and provides the training. A learning facilitator helps employees identify their personal learning needs and assists them in finding ways to satisfy those learning needs.

A trainer develops training programs.  A learning facilitator provides a variety of learning methods to help the employee meet personal and organizational goals.

A trainer presents the training he or she has developed (or which has been obtained from an internal or external training developer). A learning facilitator enables individual and organizational learning from a wide variety of sources (not limited to the offerings of the training group).

A trainer creates generic training programs for large audiences. A learning facilitator tailors learning solutions to meet individual and organizational learning needs.

A trainer is focused on the acquisition of individual knowledge and skills. A learning facilitator is focused on the application of knowledge and skills to the job.

A trainer is focused on the goals of the training program. A learning facilitator is focused on the goals of the organization and the organization.

A trainer’s responsibility ends when the employee leaves the classroom or when he or she makes available an e-learning or other self-study program. A learning facilitator’s responsibility ends when the employee has completed a learning activity AND has successfully applied that learning to his or her job.

A trainer measures success by how satisfied the employee is with the training experience. A learning facilitator measures success by how effectively learning is transferred to the job to make a positive difference in individual and organizational business results.

Dan Tobin can help your training group move from their traditional roles as trainers to become learning facilitators through a one-day workshop for your training staff.