So just how long should a training session be? 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour, all day, a week?
It is a challenge to both design training that covers what needs to be covered within a set timeframe, but also to ensure that it is sufficient, robust and effective. Also no one has all the time in the world for development activities, so compromises have to be made, yes a day’s training would be ideal, in reality you have an hour.
There is also no one model that fits all needs, so though this blog post is on “Short and Sweet” sessions lasting fifteen minutes, this is not the only model of development we deliver, there are also sessions lasting an hour, half a day and the odd whole day development.
One of the problems we have faced is that what we want is staff attend a training session, get all excited and inspired, hopefully then embedding the ideas and tool into their practice. However with any training session of an hour or more there is an assumption that the practitioner will find the session useful.
They might not know if it will be or not, and won’t until they attend. As a result they are likely to be cautious and probably won’t book in or attend, they don’t have the time! Of course providing information on the training in advance can help, but there is another assumption that they are aware of the training and read the information; that doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes practitioners don’t actually need training, did you ever get training in using iTunes for example, but need inspiration. They will then think about what they were shown and work on it in their own time.
Time, no one has any time anymore… I could argue for ages about how it isn’t “lack of time” that’s the problem, but “prioritisation” which is key, but you and I don’t have the time!
It was these concepts that made us think about revisiting training that was delivered to teams at a time and place to suit them (okay at team meetings), on demand, from a menu and to be quick and digestible.
I came up with the name, “Short and Sweet”, the idea was that there would be a selection of choices, and teams could pick and mix what they wanted. It also allowed me to theme the training with sweets. Well initially I was going to do just sweets, but I did think about healthy eating and all that, so I also used fruit too.
Each session was to be no longer than 15 minutes. The concept was to provide a taster, to tease and to inspire. Where possible there would be a follow up session available so that if so inspired they could then go to a more in-depth practical session.
I am also going to “digitise” some of the sessions and make them available to view on demand and on a mobile device.
I delivered my first few sessions of “Short and Sweet” and they worked well, and I did get some positive feedback. It will take as little longer to see if they have had any impact. It will also take longer to see if the concept lasts.