First trainer certification module accomplished online
A. THE TRAINER’S PERSPECTIVE
Alexander Stork (NINECUBES)
Enabling highly qualified behavioural trainers to use a tool like interpersonal skills LAB is what I consider the pinnacle of training.
The challenges are great: the course participants bring with them a gigantic treasure of experience as well as different attitudes, approaches and expectations. The simulation sequences can produce unpredictable results. As a trainer, you constantly switch roles between trainer educator, simulation facilitator and product manager.
Inspired by successful online implementations in regular training settings, I decided to develop an online recipe for trainer education. The idea was not just to eliminate the need to travel – the learning value should also be higher than in the face-to-face version due to the smart sequencing.
The online training consists of four modules of 3.5 hours each. I found this short duration ideal to give each module a balanced suspense of self-awareness of the «LAB», short lessons, reflections and discussions. I found the trainer candidates to be very attentive. The structure helped me to be more disciplined in keeping to the schedule. I perceived the discussion sessions as much more focused compared to the face-to-face courses – probably because we all knew that the schedule was tight and we should stay on topic.
It is hardly possible to process all impressions and important information during a 2-day classroom training. Attention levels usually drop significantly by the second day at the latest – even for me as a trainer. Dividing the online training into several small modules gives the trainer candidates the necessary space to effectively digest what they have experienced. Homework and handbook study between the modules provide the necessary repetition. My impression was that this reflection period helped the candidates to ask the «right» questions at the beginning of the next module.
It is important to me that the trainer candidates experience the «LAB» from their own role – namely the trainer’s perspective – as early as possible during the training. For this purpose, I have activated a test account during homework times so that the candidates can familiarise themselves with the control and the scenarios in their small group. Using video case studies and concrete tasks, the candidates experienced realistic situations as in classroom training and analysed them as in a real training context.
This pilot course was initially designed as a hybrid event: Modules 3 and 4 will be completed on one classroom day. So I am looking forward to meeting my course participants in person.
The intensive and hassle free online modules have impressed me and exceeded my expectations. This means that NINECUBES can from now on offer all trainer certifications online (or hybrid if desired) in all confidence – with the advantage that the trainers are prepared for online and face-to-face use at the same time.
Now I am curious to know how my course participants experienced the online modules and what impressed them most…
B. THE PARTICIPANT’S PERSPECTIVE
Bernd Gilberg (www.berndgilberg.de)
At first I was a little sceptical whether an online TTT (train-the-trainer) could give me the necessary insight into the system and the application from a trainer’s perspective. These «concerns» were resolved right at the beginning! Alex guided me and us very well through the two training days, so that I not only gained a comprehensive view of the technology, but also intensive experience in its application as a participant in the space mission. Even online, as a participant in the mission to Venus, I was immediately deeply involved in the exercise. Here, I was acting exactly as I do «in real life» in pressure situations, without thinking much about it. A great experience! The subsequent reflections in the group were also very valuable and no different from face-to-face events. Now I am curious to see how the next part of the TTT will be and how I will then get the technique to work in face-to-face trainings.
Peter Salzgeber (www.teampiloten.ch)
The online TTT (train-the-trainer) was a refreshing experience for me that left me in a positive mood and motivated to do more of it myself. My initial concerns about «only» learning interactively online with complete strangers quickly vanished. After Alex had started, we quickly became a team. Even the complexity of the course setting with video conferencing software (in this case: Zoom) plus two browser applications with interpersonal Skills LAB and Jamboard came easily to us as a group. My previous online meeting experience was limited to someone telling something via Teams or Zoom, at most sharing a PowerPoint and then saying something about it. But there is much more to it: real interaction on the Jamboard and in the «LAB». Somehow I soon forgot that we were «just» online and not sitting opposite each other «in real life». From my point of view, the physical distance did not harm the course in the slightest. On the contrary, it was such a positive experience that I like to adapt a lot of it for my courses and trainings!
Tina Rickli (www.teampiloten.ch)
Initially, I was a little sceptical about how this would work. Of course, I have some online experience and have already given instructions on how to use an online portal. But real human factors training at a distance? In retrospect, I have to say: it was no problem at all, it was really fun and it was very useful for me personally. Even if you’re not actually sitting opposite each other, interpersonal Skills LAB works! That impressed me. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to doing more than just virtual training soon.