I have specific objectives for every one of my training packages. They are stated in the proper behavioral format that I learned from Dr. Robert Mager.
I also have two general goals for all my training packages. Usually, I don’t share these goals with my clients or participants, but I always keep them in the back of my mind and frequently check to see that I am working toward them.
Here are the two universal training goals:
- My participants will outperform me.
- My participants will outgrow me.
In case these sound cryptic, let me explain what they mean to me.
I come from a culture where showing off in front of your guru is considered to be the most obnoxious type of impertinent behavior. However, I get delighted whenever my participants show off that they know more than I do. I like it when my students challenge my questionable statements. Ultimately, I become enthralled when my participants outperform me.
This is not due to any false modesty on my part. It reflects reality. Inside their context, several of my participants perform more effectively than me. They produce better results than me.
Decades ago, I taught my high school student, Dhanasekaran, the basic concepts of internal combustion engines. Today, he has gone far beyond what I taught him. He can overhaul any engine, troubleshoot any mechanical problems, and fix any defect.
Decades ago, I introduced Harold Stolovitch to systematic instructional design. Over the years, Harold has been persistently applying these principles and procedures to develop award-winning instructional materials and to write best-selling books on the topic.
Recently, I taught Matthew Richter how to rapidly design training materials. Today, Matt can crank out training packages faster, cheaper, and better than me. He has repeat customers lining up for his services.
Twelve years ago, I taught Samuel van den Bergh a training activity called Give and Take. Last week I watched in awe as Sam facilitated several multicultural teams through a better version of this activity.
Ten years ago, I taught Bruno Hourst the concept of framegames. Today, Bruno’s French books on this topic outsell my English books 10 to 1.
A few years ago, I taught Tracy principles of facilitative training. Now, she consistently outperforms me when it comes to providing inclusive instruction that take into account the individual needs of her participants.
I have discovered that there is a limit to how much I can teach anyone. After I have done my job, my participants keep applying, tweaking, and improving their skills and knowledge. Sooner or later, they surpass me.
That brings me to my second universal training goal.
Last week, I taught my 7-year old grandson Jason how to construct mechanical models by using the Meccano set. After I explained how to follow the schematic diagrams and use nuts and bolts to connect metal strips, angle brackets, fishplates, axles, gears, and wheels, we decided to jointly assemble our first model, a medieval catapult. Halfway through the project, I noticed that Jason was no longer waiting for my explanations or instructions. He figured things out by himself and worked far faster than me. I tried to catch up with him and eventually kept my mouth closed and handed over the parts he asked for. I had a flashback of what happened with my son Raja when he was Jason’s age. I had bought a TRS-80 computer with the intent of teaching him about computers. Within a week, he was teaching me how to program the computer to display, “Hello the world” in Basic language. Right now, he is an IT specialist and I cannot understand half of what he says about his latest projects.
Giving my participants a head start and leaving them alone to their own devices is my other universal training goal. I want my participants to outgrow me and continue learning through repeated practice, using other resources, interacting with people in the field, and finding their own preferred learning style and working style. I want them to get into a flow and sustain their learning and performance through intrinsic motivation.
My training activities are only one aspect of my participants’ learning experiences. I want them to learn through other approaches and by using other resources. I want them to break away as quickly as possible.
So what do you think? What comments, challenges, and sarcastic remarks do you have? Go ahead and talk to me in the comments section below.