Have you hired someone to develop online training programs for your organization? Maybe you develop training yourself and are wondering if you could improve a few of your skills? But which? And, are there tools of training and development you should know about? Or have they flown under your radar?
In this article, you’ll get the answers to all these questions. We’ll share some of the necessary training skills trainers should have to transfer knowledge and enjoy a successful career in the training business.
The essential skills for trainers:
- Advanced research skills
- Strong communication skills
- Flexible organization skills
- Enthusiasm for lifelong learning
Then, we’ll recommend some of the best tools for training that trainers can use to simplify workloads as well as enhance their courses.
The must-have tools for trainers:
Let’s dive in.
The essential skills for trainers
1. Advanced research skills
One of the most important hard skills a trainer should master is internet research. We’re not referring to basic searches everyone can do to find the name of the actor who was in “Kindergarten Cop”. We’re talking about advanced and analytical research.
For example, do you know how to use Boolean operators and symbols in your searches? If not, start honing this training skill by making a habit of using “and” & “or” & “not”. Or use quotation marks “-” to tell your favorite search engine to ignore a term before it. This type of advanced searching can narrow or broaden your results so you can get the most relevant. The key is to find relevant and reliable content for your training.
Naturally, another effective training skill you’ll need is the ability to evaluate and validate websites as well as critically assess research papers. To check if a website you are referring to is authentic and not fake or a duplicate, is to browse through all menu items and check the “last updated” date at the footer of the webpage.
2. Strong communication skills
Sure, you can be the best researcher on the planet but if you don’t have the right trainer qualities and skills, you won’t be an effective trainer. Communication skills are critical for trainers as they can make or break the learning experience for learners.
Imagine a trainer that isn’t good at explaining concepts? Or one that doesn’t pay attention to the concerns of a learner? These are all barriers to learning. And the responsibility rests with you — the trainer.
So, to be an inspiring and engaging trainer, you should be adept at listening, questioning, explaining and giving feedback. These training skills can be practiced over the course of a career as long as you know they’re important. And keep improving them as often as you can.
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3. Flexible organization skills
One of the most certain facts about the training business is that you’ll never have everything you want at the same time. Whether that’s time, money, resources or the good parking spot, you’ll need to be flexible but organized.
Strong organizational skills will get you far. Skills like managing your stress and time will help you stay calm and on track. As will organizing tasks in such a way that they’ll save you both time and effort. Another effective training skill that’ll keep you organized problem-solving. If you’re able to come up with workarounds without getting caught up in the problem, you’ll be a great trainer!
4. Enthusiasm for lifelong learning
Learning never stops for a trainer. As a part of the training industry, you are essentially required to develop lifelong learning habits.
Part of the reason is to keep up to date with changing trends and best practices in learning. Another reason is to be able to empathize with your learners and put yourself in their shoes.
Sometimes the trappings of daily work make it easy to forget what it’s like to be learning something new. There’s fear, there’s trepidation, frustration, excitement, and indifference. And to be an effective trainer demands that you take a learner’s perspective.
When you feel the different emotions as a learner, you are more likely to create courses in a more nuanced and engaging way. From all these skills for trainers, this one might be the most important. Keep learning and you’ll never forget what it’s like to be a learner.
The must-have training tools for trainers
Before we get into it, let’s answer the often-asked question: What are training tools? Training tools are any program, platform, template or means that help trainers, well, train. There are dozens and dozens of training and development tools out there. Some are specific to training (hello LMS!) and others aren’t (looking at you, Facebook!). Anything that helps you do your job as a trainer better? Is a training tool.
Here are a few tools we recommend:
1. Content authoring tool
One of the most essential tools for training and development is an eLearning content authoring tool. Authoring tools are software platforms that let trainers incorporate a variety of media (including video) to create engaging and interactive courses. Some tools even have built-in lesson types to speed up the process.
Choose a content authoring tool that’s easy to use, has the exact features you need and plays well with your learning management system (LMS). Your LMS is what will deliver your dynamic courses to your learners.
2. Video editing software
One of the most overlooked training tools for trainers is video editing software. Videos combine image and sound offering a vivid and engaging learning experience.
And with video creation and editing tools like the ones on YouTube and your smartphone, it’s never been easier to create and add videos to your courses. Even if you’re camera-shy, there’s a tool for you. Screencasters like Jing and Screencast-O-matic capture your screen so you can explain complicated topics and illustrate them clearly.
Another excellent reason to learn how to use video tools is that videos create stronger connections in an online learning environment. Whether you’re a subject matter expert creating courses for sale or a corporate trainer, learning how to use video tools will improve your training.
3. Social media
This might sound a bit odd but social media can prove to be really powerful training and development tools.
The overwhelming surge in popular social media hangouts like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Google+, YouTube, and blogs, tell you where learners like to go. As a trainer, connecting with learners using their preferred social media is a terrific way to personalize the learning experience.
Using a social media tool in a learning management system will encourage learners to connect with other learners who are in the same training course. You should also capitalize on the characteristics of the social media you’ve chosen. For example, a private Facebook group is an effective way for learners to have share ideas and open discussions.
Social media is also a great course marketing tool, as announcements for updates or new courses reach learners faster than email.
4. Learning Management System
Arguably, the best training tool for any trainer is a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a platform from where you can create courses, manage users and track performance of online training. Every trainer should not only know how to use an LMS, but should master it. This gets much easier if you or your organization choose a well-engineered and intuitive LMS. Take TalentLMS, for example – it’s so easy to use that most trainers have a course up and running in minutes because the learning curve is minimal.
One of the best ways to become proficient in an LMS and master this tool is to take advantage of demos, the LMS’s knowledge base and customer support.
What it takes to be a good trainer
That’s it! If you improve these essential training skills and tools, you’ll be well on your way to being a good trainer! (Want to be an exceptional trainer? Then keep reading to discover 8 qualities every trainer should have). You’ll also have an arsenal ready to conquer any eLearning project you set your mind to. And remember: a good trainer never stops learning. So, what tool and skill did we miss? We want to learn too.