Training pros always strive to refine the art and science of this noble trade. Training as a profession is in many ways still in its infancy throughout the world. For the past 35 years I’ve spent three to eight weeks working outside of the United States, and on every trip I’m reminded that many of the training skills and tactics we routinely understand and apply in the United States fall into the category of new and remarkable elsewhere.
This experience, coupled with the increasing number of foreign visitors who attend the annual conference sponsored by the Association of Talent Development (ATD) (formerly ASTD), assure me that American training professionals truly have much to offer the world. But I am also aware, because of my work throughout the United States, that many of us here are neglecting to learn and practice some of the basic “art and science” of training.
I’m not looking to embarrass or intimidate anyone; nor am I looking to applaud anyone for how much they know. But in the interest of creating awareness about this “condition,” I’ve developed a short quiz.
Whether you know all the answers or none, my point is there is more for all of us to know than we now know if we’re to be true professionals in our field. We’re all preaching that adults can never stop learning if they want to succeed in the workplace of the future — and that has to include us trainers. We probably all have some gaps in our knowledge base, and it’s important we identify those and deal with them.
After you finish reading this column, take the quiz and see how you do. The answers are upside down in the colored box below my signature (no peeking!).
If these questions turn up some gaps for you, here’s the beginning of a reading list I’d suggest for the next 12 months. (I believe that 10 minutes of reading a day in a chosen topic can make you an expert in a year.)
- The Master Trainer’s Handbook 4th Edition (formerly “The Creative Training Techniques Handbook”) published by HRD Press.
- Figuring Things Out, Ron Zemke and Tom Kramlinger — available used on Amazon.com.
- ASTD Handbook, 2nd Edition, Elain Biech, editor published by ATD.
- Training for Impact, Dana and Jim Robinson, published by Pfeiffer.
- Beyond Transfer of Training, by Mary Broad, published by Pfeiffer.
As trainers we sometimes worry that the changes in the workplace somehow mean we will be less needed in the future. I believe we will be more needed than ever, but we have to know our stuff.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Unless we prepare, when opportunity comes it only makes us look like a fool.”
Continually developing new knowledge and skills will help us prepare for those unexpected opportunities we know will come.
I’d like to hear from YOU- what are your reading recommendations for training professionals — from beginners to the more experienced?
Share your recommendations in the Comments below!
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Until next time, add value and make a difference!
This article was reprinted with permission from the author.
Bob Pike, CPLP Fellow, CSP, CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame, is known globally as the “trainer’s trainer.” He has written more than 30 books and created a dozen video systems on designing and delivering training. His Master Trainer’s Handbook is the bestselling train-the-trainer book ever published, with more than 333,000 copies in print in four editions. He has designed more than 600 training programs of one day or longer since 1969. He has presented at every ATD International Conference & Exposition since 1977, and is a regular keynoter at global training and performance conferences. He has worked in more than 25 countries during his career and his works have been translated into Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.
Quiz Answer Key