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The Expert Instructor

Did you ever notice in attending training sessions that some instructors are just better than others?  I don’t mean that some know their course content better than the next.  I am speaking about the indefinable thing that makes you believe that one is more intone with the material.  When the course material seems to be explained in a more understandable manner, questions were answered more clearly and you truly believed you had mastered the concepts preseneted.  Why? You, my friend, were in the presence of an Expert Instructor.


It’s Internal


I’ve noticed that instructors who fall into the expert class all share common traits:

  •  They all have a thirst for knowledge.  They enjoy the challenge of learning new things.
  • They tend to be a people person.  The interaction with others is joyful.  Student questions are never irritating to an expert instructor, because it gives them the ability to further help their students.
  • They embrace the transfer of their knowledge to others. Nothing gives them more joy then when their students get that flicker of understanding in their eyes.
  • They put in the extra hours needed to be successful.  Expert Instructors are not nine to five types.  You’ll find them working early in the morning to late at night.
  • They never take anything for granted.  They check out their classrooms and equipment thoroughly before each training day.  They straighten up the classroom at the end of the day.
  • They are available after hours for student tutoring if required.
  • They are always cheerful and willing to help out fellow instructors.
  • They are always evaluating their training performance and look for ways to improve.
  • They understand that during training things can and will go wrong.  They accept these challenges without trying to assign blame.
  • They represent their company, client, etc. and themselves in a professional manner.

Cultivating the Seeds

When a training organization finds a person with expert instructor traits, it is important for the organization to enable the expert to do their job.

Projects where instructors and course developers interact with subject matter experts and/or functional experts are more likely to allow the expert instructors to shine. Take that interaction away, and you get transactional training in a bottle with no relation to the real world.

Instructors need the interaction with the subject matter experts, developers, functional representatives and anyone else who can help them understand the total relevant information the end-users will need to do their jobs. Even if they have themselves configured 7 other systems, the instructors need to know the details of the current project to be effective.  When an instructor is facing a group of end-users who are new to SAP or any other work related system, the instructor is not only asked about the training material presente, she or he is asked about the correlation between old and new ways of doing things.  They want to know how it will change the way they do things.  I’m not saying an instructor should be able to know everything about everything. I am saying an instructor needs to know enough information to allow the end-user to learn the new concepts presented and walk out of the class with the feeling the instructor really knew what he or she was talking about and with confidence in the solution.


Practice, Practice, Practice

 Expert Instructors tend to practice their training delivery over and over until they see it as perfect.  Unfortunately, many projects are produced at a harried pace not allowing the time needed to preview the next course taught much less absorb the material.  To their credit, the Expert Instructors accept the challenge and provide the best training possible under the circumstances.  Expert Instructors know their preparation time is the main reason for success.  It’s the answer to the old question. “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”  PRACTICE

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  • There is another trait that I've found in an Expert Instructor.  They have actual "real world" experience in what they teach.

    Great Blog!  It made me think about the different people who have given classes, and what I liked about them.  I'll have to come back here prior to giving some training.