If you are in training already, you know the challenges & rewards associated with the profession. However, those who are considering a career in training need to know that the domain requires similar amount of effort, if not more, as many other occupations.
If you are among those who thought / heard about training as having no / least growth opportunities, I think you need to learn more about the field.
Here I’m sharing my points which may help you in deciding if you should consider training as a career.
Don’t underestimate, there’s a lot to be done
Generally anything we see looks different on surface than it is in reality and training is no different.
If your perception of training is “it doesn’t require much effort”, I recommend you to read The “Invisible Effort” behind “Visible Results”.
Within the domain there are variety of activities, each requiring thorough effort. Some of the prominent activities completed in a learning life-cycle are:
1. Planning & Managing Training: To organize the work, you are first required to break it down in smaller units. You assign individual tasks to these units as well as allocate resources and time estimates to ensure the activities could be executed, monitored & controlled well. The training program, you’re going to handle, as well require such planning & managing; you divide the work in different units (such as analyzing who needs what, developing material / content, delivering instructions in different environments and ultimately evaluating performance), estimate the effort required for each & assign resources accordingly, and finally manage training activities. Yes, there are tools which can help you in planning & organizing your work, however, the person handling such task (which typically is a Training Manager) has to manage such work on full-time basis.
Managing project activities through MS Project describes well how to plan your work with a commonly used planning tool.
2. Analyzing learning needs: Before you could actually plan a training for specific group of people, you first need to understand their learning needs. What is applicable to one group may not be required by other, hence, analyzing learning needs first could actually help you in planning relevant training for them. Typically the need is conveyed to training units by department heads. Your typical task as a Training Consultant is to 1) ensure it by cross-checking and 2) schedule the required training. The scheduling task, apparently, looks very easy, however, it does require good amount of effort in aligning the calendars of prospective trainees with training schedule.
You may find “Scheduling” in Project Management useful to schedule your training.
3. Developing content: The purpose of developing training material is to assist audience in learning particular skills. If the content fails to convey the required message, the training material can’t be considered right. Hence, you have to develop such instructions in line with standards of technical writing. While you do require, at least, good writing skills to write user manuals you also have to have good understanding of the product / service for which you are developing the training material.
From a User “Misguide” to a “Guide” provides a list of technical writing tips which you may find useful in developing training content.
4. Delivering instructions: When it comes to deliver the training, the presentation skills of Trainer matter a lot. It’s not only about what he/she speaks, there’s a lot to do with many other factors including how the session is opened, delivery style, engagement of trainer with trainees, etc. Even the slides used in training delivery has some impact. So if you’re going to deliver a training you need to learn about the subject well (not necessarily to master it), organize the information & transform it into presentation as well as to effectively use the presentation tool’s capabilities to ensure you deliver a wonderful training.
Have a look at Like to hear “wow” for your presentation? which describes essential elements of a presentation.
And the list goes on…
Obviously there are many more activities which are performed by training & development entities, but as the above are most-common I’ve described these. I hope this gives you an idea of the profession’s requirements well and could help you in deciding your career options better.
I wrote the blog earlier at LinkedIn at following link. However, as the subject (i.e. training) is an important part of SAP Implementations and Operations, I’ve shared it here at SCN.