Photo by: Robin Higgins via Pixabay
There are many circumstances that can add an extra degree of stress in a trainer’s life. Have you ever experienced this situation? You work in the training department of a software company and your “go live” date for the software training is the same date as the release of the product. What about this one? You’re a virtual trainer who must deliver live training and meet the needs of several time zones. Or, you’re an e-learning designer who must design products for the “flavor of the week” and meet all the deadlines. Not many people would argue with the premise that sometimes working in the training world can be challenging!
For an instructional designer or trainer, life is not necessarily easy. Let me share three personal experiences that, for me, put my challenges into perspective.
- It can be a challenge to master new courses. I had a co-worker in a training organization that facilitated many of the courses I did. The difference? He was legally blind. Can you imagine mastering the intricacies of a detailed leaders guide when reading comes only with extreme magnification? How about referring to a lesson plan during a class with the same constraints? Oh, and let’s not forget the rigors of travel under the same circumstances. It puts the time I spend in preparation and delivery into perspective.
- It can be a challenge to communicate a difficult concept to learners. There was a young Uber driver who picked me up after a workshop. I don’t know about you, but driving in a big city is always a bit intimidating for me. After some confusion on my part, I understood the driver was deaf. As I am ignorant of sign language, we communicated by text and pointing. I truly appreciated the driver’s initiative and will to succeed. In my awkwardness and difficulty in communicating with her, I got just a glimpse of what she must go through every minute of every day. She finds ways to communicate with her passengers and she inspired me to be creative in how I communicate difficult training concepts and tasks to my learners. There’s that “perspective” again!
- It can be a challenge to keep learners engaged. Not long ago, I had a participant in a workshop that was blind. Her focused attention and obvious mental acuity were fascinating and impressive. She stayed with, or ahead of, the rest of the class without the visual cues that help explain concepts and keep people engaged. Not only was she engaged in class, she decided to stay at a nearby hotel instead of the one where the course was being conducted. Imagine traveling on foot in a large city (especially one you aren’t familiar with) without sight. This participant challenged me to clearly explain the visuals as I was using them—something I don’t typically do—and gave me a new perspective on learner engagement.
These are just a few examples of how people around us face the same sort of challenges trainers do, with the added layers of complexity that come with their personal experiences.
All this does not make the constraints and frustrations of our work environments less real, but I believe it does provide perspective on our personal training challenges.