Effective and Ineffective Training

The most effective training I’ve received in my relatively short professional career was when I was employed by the U.S. Forest Service. I had to participate in training to be able to safely and efficiently use a chainsaw to cut down trees, buck logs, and thin brush. This training included a mixture of in-class instruction, hands-on learning, and we had to engage with other people in the training. One of the first things that stuck out to me that made this class successful was the mixture of learning tools. The initial training in-class was engaging, and the instructor utilized his real-world experience to make the material easier to relate to. This session also set everyone with what was expected out in the field and how to be safe. After the in-class portion, we all got to go out into the field and apply the information we just learned in the class. Being able to apply the information we learned to a hands-on experience immediately after made it easy to remember everything and greatly reduced frustration and boredom. Our instructor also incorporated a little bit of teamwork with our hands-on learning. Utilizing teamwork allowed all of us students to develop confidence by feeling supported by our teammates and made us less nervous since we were able to work with other “newbies.”

The least effective training I’ve received was with a previous employer and mostly involved self-led learning as training. When I first arrived to my job site, I was told to familiarize myself with the project drawings and specifications. This involved me sitting at my desk, clicking through drawings and specifications with no direction or guidance. This style of training wasn’t effective because I wasn’t working on any identifiable learning outcome, it was dull, and didn’t develop a sense of community or collaboration.