2. how can i do this fast ?
Firstly, remember that by spending time on training you are saving time later in your work. Each person works about 2000 hours a year. If they do just 1% more as a result of training, then you would be gaining 20 hours per person. 20 people on a course, each gaining 20 hours = 400 hours of extra work! Keep this in mind.
Of course, you do have to move quickly in an emergency. You have many things to do, and you’re overworked. You need to find a quick way that works.
You shouldn’t try to pull staff away from their work for a 5-day training course at the start of a humanitarian response.
That doesn’t mean you wait until “people have time” to train them. People never “have time”. They (and their managers) make time.
The most important point about training at the start of an emergency response is to make it directly relevant to their work. This is always vital for training, but perhaps you can get away with it when time is less precious. When time is short it must be specific and actionable.
– Don’t train people on general “humanitarian principles”, that aren’t linked to their work
– Do train people how to identify who needs assistance on the basis of need alone, making sure they are clear that discrimination based on religion or ethnicity is not allowed.
– Don’t train people on the history of accountability standards
– Do train them on how to note and respond to complaints from affected people
– Don’t train them on gender theory
– Do train them on reporting cases of sexual exploitation, and on involving women, men, boys and girls in project design.
It makes sense to try and fit training sessions into 1/2 day or one day blocks. Longer blocks are difficult to schedule. This is risky, because it is easy to cancel these to allow “real work” to get done – and this is harder with bigger, more formal training. It is still overall a better approach.
Often in emergencies, you are recruiting lots of new staff or volunteers. Many of them will be new to humanitarian work. In order for them to succeed they will need training by someone. Think about the state you want to get to, and how you’ll make that happen.
Where you are starting a new project or initiative, train all (at least big groups of) the staff on important points together before they start work.
– Train survey enumerators on how to collect data, how to submit it, how to interact with people
– Train distribution teams on how to register people for a distribution, how to [give out] items, how to count and account for items
– Train storekeepers on recording stock movements
This is easier to remember.
What is often forgotten is training on topics like:
– Correct way to request purchases
– Code of conduct and reporting sexual exploitation
– Interacting with community members
One of the reasons we “don’t have time” for training is because we are rushing to make up time already lost. We will lose more if we don’t train people and they are out making mistakes on the job.
More than our time, it is unfair on people affected by crisis that we let people “learn by doing” with their assistance and their lives. Train early and often.
It takes as long as it must, but no longer!
There is no point in running ineffective training. That’s why you must use approaches that are shown to work and avoid those that don’t. You don’t have an infinite amount of time though. Initially, you want people to reach an acceptable standard that means they can do what they were hired to do, and aren’t creating problems and more work for others.
In practical terms, you need to give people a chance to practice. You need to provide time for them to receive feedback on that practice. Then they need time to practice again. You may need time for them to refer to information or to present it to them.
This means that apart from the most basic (but still important!) “this is where you find the staples” kind of training, people are unlikely to learn much of value in half an hour. If you’ve constructed something very well, then in an hour, you could manage a cycle (or more) of practice, feedback/review, practice, review and close. Often that will be too short.
If you believe your group could learn everything they need to in half an hour, you need to consider whether they really need training at all. They might be fine just reading something about it.
Estimates like this are wrong by definition. It depends on the complexity of the skill, the size of the group and their existing knowledge. We are not saying that you can never have a half hour training session, nor that you will always be able to train people effectively in an hour! We’re giving the numbers in case you’re really stuck or confused and looking for some guidance.
One of the main mistakes in training is rushing to content creation in an effort to save time.
You need to look at what you want people to be able to do at the end of the process. You need to understand how this links to a change you need to see in your work. CARE recommends the action mapping approach developed by Cathy Moore. If you don’t take the time (maybe an hour in an emergency) to think this through, you greatly increase the risk of training that doesn’t have the impact that you need it to. That isn’t an abstract waste – that is hundreds of hours of time you could be gaining in the coming months that you won’t gain.
Once you understand what people need to be able to do, it is often pretty straightforward to develop a workable plan for training. Give them a chance to practice the skill they need to (in a safe way). Provide them with rigorous feedback. Provide them with information that they NEED to know in order to do it. Practice the skills again, in a more challenging setting. Coming up with a plan like this could take you another hour or maybe two. Spend your time on identifying the problem and coming up with ways to practice, rather than on writing huge PowerPoint presentations packed with bullet points that few will read and even fewer will remember.
The total timeline varies depending on how complicated the training will be.
If you’re bringing a group from different places together it will take some time to organize that. If everyone is in the same location and you are able to delay or reorganize work, then you could even do it tomorrow.
Multi-day events will often need an outside venue, some snacks, some training materials. That all takes time – anything from a week or two up.
Don’t be discouraged by that! You can gain a lot from really simple changes in skills and behaviour. How much work would your finance team save if all the purchase approvals were correctly coded? A training session for managers on proper coding would be pretty quick to develop, you can deliver it in an office, and take up maybe an afternoon of their time – and save days and days of work each month for the finance team, allowing them to focus on other things.
The most important way to make training fast is to make sure that it has the result you need – so that time isn’t wasted. One and a half hours of training that doesn’t do the job is much “slower” than three hours that does what it needs to. See the section on effective training.
Some good practices that can speed up the time spent on training:
– Remove presentation of information in the training session. Get people to read it in advance.
– Make information available for people to refer to as they complete a simulated task or practice their skills – but don’t require them to listen to it being presented. Get them working.
– Create handouts that summarize information that they need to use on the job. This means that they don’t have to spend time committing it to memory.
– Give people a (short?) chance to practice first, then come to filling gaps in the information. Then repeat the practice. This helps people learn and remember. It also grounds the information you share, and the questions they ask, in a concrete experience. You are more likely to focus on their real gaps than on abstract questions, or on explaining something that is clear when actually done.
– Focus only on what people NEED to know. Keep “should know” or “good to know” items for another time, or another way of learning (like coaching on the job).