How do you get the most out of the (classroom) trainings you attend?
Here’s my approach:
Before the training:
1. Be Prepared
Invest some time to familiarize yourself with the topic up front (e.g. 1 week before the training).
That way, you will not have to start from zero. Also, you might already find some interesting question, which you the can evaluate with the trainer (=expert on the topic!)
At the training:
2. State your Expectations
Let the trainer know up front, what topics are of special interest to you. He or she might be able to prepare something extra in that domain.
3. Ask questions
Don’t let your training be a One-Way-Street (with only the trainer talking) – ask some questions.
Especially, if you didn’t understand something, of course. But it’s also a good idea to re-assure you understood correctly by summarizing what was said in your own words.
4. Take Notes
Take some notes but not too many! It doesn’t make sense to copy the whole presentation or everything your trainer says.
But it’s a good idea to note down some key-words, especially if you hear phrases like “this is not technically part of the training…”
5. Do your homework
(I have a multi-day training in mind here)
In the evening, think about what your learned that day, maybe try something out on your own. Go over your notes and see if they raise some questions -> ask them the next day.
Talk with your fellow attendees (only during the breaks, of course 😉 ) – other participants bring their own experience and expectations with them. You can profit from learning how things are done somewhere else.
7. Give feedback
Give feedback on how your experienced your training! Everybody’s happy about a positive feedback and any professional will appreciate criticism and possibilities for improvement.
After the training:
8. Keep up
…with what you learned:
Go over you’re notes, read some more on the topic (now with a way better understanding) and try to use your new skills in your daily work as soon as possible.