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Encouraging Younger Generations to Participate (Interview)

Q. What inspired you to become part of the training world?

I became part of the training world because I wanted to teach, but I was concerned about the politics, pay, and experiencing burn out while working in the public education system.

I love seeing new people learn new skills, seeing them learn to see the world in a different way, and move from a job mentality to a career mentality. In pest management, our employees need to learn basic science and so I get to be the science teacher that we all wish that we had – somebody who teaches science in an interesting, relevant way.

I’m also an early Internet generation person (I used Netscape 2.2) and I love seeing how the dream of the Internet is coming true in so many areas, including training.

I feel like I have the best of what a college professor has, without all the pointless committees, without the “publish or perish” mentality.

Q. What is different about the new 21st century landscape of training and development or human resources?

For the small companies like the one where I work, the challenge is the younger people who are accustomed to learning and referencing with their phones and computers being trained by people who haven’t considered training outside of the traditional classroom style.

Small companies don’t necessarily have the money or expertise to create computer-based training (CBT). There’s not enough industry specific quality CBT out there for them to purchase. Meanwhile, Fortune 500 companies are forging ahead with CBT and redefining the landscape of training.

The problem with this is how many of us in T&D are just spouting off what our favorite ASTD speaker is saying or we think something is a trend because all the magazines say it’s a trend and we get programmed to agree.

Q. What methods have you found to encourage participation while training?

The most important factor is to have material that is relevant.

Also, having their manager promote the session prior, create group activities for during the session, and ask for feedback afterwards.

Q. What is the most important thing that you must teach your learners? How do you get that message across?

The most important thing is normally something that will improve performance. You get it across through understanding the situation, their needs, and what needs to happen to make the performance change.

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