Evolution of A Trainer

aka What does a trainer really need to do nowadays and in the future?

We hear about the buzz of Industry 4.0. Especially for trainers, the question that should accompany this buzz is what are we doing to respond (note the word respond rather than react) to this? We as trainers will also need to evolve because we might still be stuck in a time tunnel not able to grow to what is happening out there.

This was evident when I had a short conversation with someone that is relatively new in training. She actually revealed her lack of understanding of the current state of learning and development when she said learning design is a bonus as a trainer that is a subject matter expert (SME). This is rather sad because this is exactly the time tunnel I was talking about. I say nowadays it takes more than just being an SME to become a trainer; a credible trainer with learning impact that is.

Gone were the days just because you are an SME, therefore you can train. This archaic mindset makes people think training is easy. This mindset is damaging to learning and people development because it disregards the focus on learning and emphasis that learning is all about extracting information from an expert.

I do have compassion for her because she doesn’t know any better and not surrounded by people that know. She jumped into training thinking it is enough to do so just by being an SME. Unfortunately, it takes more than just being an SME to be a credible trainer who is creating a learning impact. At the same time, I am thankful to her because she is a demonstration of what is prevalent out there about what training is. This has inspired me to pen and share my thoughts on the Evolution of a Trainer.

This evolution also is parallel to the evolution of learning & development we are seeing in the workforce. Clients are calling for more innovation in learning to fit to the ever changing work environment such as new generations entering the workforce, decentralisation of the geographical location of work, the speed of business transactions, etc. All these work issues requires different concepts and approaches to learning such as Agile Learning Design, Facilitative Training, Hybrid Learning etc. All these requires learning design. How can we become effective trainers if we are unable to design learning to suit the needs of our audience? There is no separating ‘lagu and irama’. The same applies to training; no separating ‘learning and design’ unless you focus as a trainer is not on learning but on delivering information. If this is the case, there is no room for learning design in training.

Maybe in the future, the word trainer will disappear and what will replace it will be a more appropriate and meaningful term such as a Learning and Development specialist or an L&D Practitioner. This term will truly speaks of the focus of the work we do which is not just in providing learning but also in providing developmental solutions. One thing for sure, the role of a trainer as just a provider of knowledge or even worst the custodian on knowledge is longggggggg gone.

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