Why is Train the Trainer in Software Implementation Projects an Effective Exercise
At Stoneridge, we deploy a variety of training methods to ensure user adoption happens as early and effectively as possible. In a previous blog, I explored how Stoneridge Software uses “Conference Room Pilots” to teach, and receive feedback, during testing a solution. After a solution is deployed, our preferred delivery of training is “Train the Trainer.” By having our subject-matter experts train the internal resources most involved in the project, these resources will be able to use this information to instruct others all information for their roles. By selecting the right people to be “future trainers,” you can set your organization up for greater success in user adoption in the system. In this blog, I will explore the benefits and drawbacks of Train the Trainer.
What is “Train the Trainer?”
Train the trainer is a training method where one, or a few internal subject matter experts who have provided information on business processes are given extensive training on the new system. This method reinforces the content that internal employees need to know and teaches those employees how to train others to complete the work as well. If your company is large enough, it is helpful to train multiple employees to be capable of training internally. This relieves the stress on a single employee, or pair of employees to handle training, and reduces the risk attached to that person leaving.
What are the Benefits?
Other benefits of Train the Trainer include developing trainer competency and expanding skills. Many times, it is easy to train someone the content, but Train the Trainer teaches how to deliver that material as well. This will assist them in helping internally, but if they do any externally facing work, the facilitation skills and training will be helpful as well to provide better service.
Additionally, having an internal employee train will help with user adoption. Staff will often respond better to someone they know and trust. Partly because of the trainer’s knowledge of the company’s processes and resources, and partly because of the existing relationships they have from before the implementation. They can explain why something is done inside of the system and connects it to how it was done. A key bonus of investing in training trainers is that there is no additional external cost of doing continued training.
What are the Potential Challenges?
Mistakes will be made by trainers and students. For many trainers, they have never trained in a corporate environment before, and this transition will not be perfect. By selecting the right trainers, they will be able to adjust to this role sooner. It is uncommon for these resources to do it perfectly the first time, and their skills will improve with every session they lead and person they teach.
Additionally, the environment staff members will be in is very different than other work environments. Both the trainer and the students will be providing constructive criticism of each other in the process of learning, and it may be hard to create a culture where transparency with the trainer. For the trainer to improve their delivery and training style, they must be willing to hear criticism from other people to improve. By providing this well-intentioned feedback the trainers will continue to get better.
Is Train the Trainer right for your organization?
Stoneridge Software certainly thinks so! We think that Train the Trainer is an effective way to provide useful training to your company, and enable staff members to take on additional leadership, learn skills that will benefit their growth, and provide more cost-effective training once the project moves into support and there are not Stoneridge consultants on-site or in contact on a regular basis.
Delivering continuous training through Lunch and Learns and other informal trainings are a great way to reinforce knowledge and user adoption. By utilizing your trainers to continuously train end users, they can help with user adoption, knowledge, and efficiency.
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