Within the confines of strictly traditional classrooms, the trainer was the center of focus for all learners. Imparting information and knowledge, the role of the trainer was to make sure that the learners understood the course material and had ample opportunities to reproduce skills or knowledge gathered through repetitive drilling exercises. The trainer controlled what was taught in class as well as what was discussed as part of classroom interaction. This worked well for theory-based study but as the scope of corporate learning expanded to include a variety of topics, it became more and more evident that the role of trainer had to change and adapt.
In the corporate scenario, the trainer now plays multiple roles to suit the needs of the modern workplace learner.
Role of the trainer in Classroom Learning
Even within the boundaries of formal classroom training, there is a lot that has changed to ensure that the learners are not just ‘pushed’ into learning but are suitably motivated to embark upon the learning experience.
- In addition to playing the role of the instructor by sharing notes and text material, the trainer also creates a suitable environment of learning through various activities within the classroom.
- The trainer actively plays the dual role of organizer as well as facilitator of all classroom activities.
- As organizer, the trainer creates suitable activities that align to the topic being taught. These activities include debates, discussions or even role-playing exercises and the trainer chooses discussion topics or the different roles to be essayed by learners.
- As facilitator, the trainer introduces, explains, conducts as well as brings all classroom activities to conclusion. This ensures that in addition to introducing the ‘fun’ element in classroom, the learners are able to extract actual learning from classroom activities and interactions.
Role of the trainer in Blended Learning
With success of technology-aided learning in corporate circles, more and more organizations are leaning towards a blended approach to learning – to include give the learners the opportunity of self-paced learning (through e-learning) as well as face-to-face interactions (through classroom sessions).
- The role of the trainer in the blended model of learning is also multi-layered. For classroom sessions, the trainer plays the role of instructor, organizer and facilitator.
- In addition, the trainer is also the content curator of all additional reading material to be shared – before or after the classroom session.
- As content curator, the trainer identifies all available learning material within the training structure and directs the learners to appropriate courses for self-study. The portions of the course which help learners gain a background to the topic being taught are shared prior to the classroom session. Suitable refreshers and reinforcement materials are shared post the training session to help learners understand the topics better. The trainer also identifies and shares resources beyond the course content that help learners gain deeper knowledge – including web resources, research findings, whitepapers and so on.
- The trainer also answers learner queries – in class as well on virtual platforms like chat-rooms and discussion boards. This provides support for the learners and instills confidence.
Role of the trainer in Social Learning
Learning through social interactions has always been an informal part of workplace culture. But with easy availability of the internet and a multitude of networking /collaboration platforms, social learning is now finding a firm foothold in workplace learning.
- While social learning is definitely part of workplace learning, it needs to have a proper direction for learning to be successful. Here is where the trainer comes in – as a Moderator within the social platform – making sure that all interactions within the social forum are fruitful for learning.
- With a deep understanding of the topics being discussed, the trainer introduces different subjects and keeps them on track.
- As moderator, the trainer ensures that the social community is always active – creating avenues for active debates, question-answer sessions, peer discussions and so on.
- The trainer acts as content organizer within the forum – making sure discussions are suitably arranged in threads and all further discourses are put under original threads. This ensures that social forums not only create a platform of fruitful debates and discussions but also a repository of collaborative knowledge – that can also be utilized by future learners.
Some other roles that trainers adopt
Trainers also adopt other roles within the corporate training structure to fully cater to the multitude training needs of the modern learners.
- Content creation: Trainers contribute greatly to the process of content creation – helping gather pertinent information and present them in suitable formats. A lot of SME interactions are led by trainers themselves. The trainers have a clear idea of how learners assimilate knowledge and can help the SMEs to share the knowledge accordingly. Addition to creation of classroom learning material, the trainers can themselves create e-courses with the help of rapid-authoring tools to cater to the ever-increasing need for pertinent training material
- Assessments and Skill gap analysis: In addition to classroom assessments, trainers can help e-learning developers create challenging assessments within e-courses as well. By utilizing skill gap analysis techniques, they can gauge the needs of the learners and can direct them to suitable learning material. They can also contribute proactively into creating learning content which is aligned to the individual needs of the learners.
- E-tutoring: One-to-one time with trainers is always coveted – but is a logistical nightmare. With technology, it is possible for trainers to be available for tutoring an individual learner or a small group of learners– across geographies and different time-zones. The trainer and learner can interact with each other on one-to-one basis through virtual classrooms or video/audio/text chats – as per their availability.
The different responsibilities that trainers assume in corporate training help learners gain better learning experiences. By shedding the role of just delivering the information or knowledge, trainers take on the diverse roles of Facilitators, Moderators, Content Creators, Curators and so on. An instructor who does more than just deliver lectures is thus the true evolved trainer.
Suggested further reading: www.trainingindustry.com/leadership/articles/the-7-roles-of-a-trainer-in-the-21st-century.aspx
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