Learning & Training for Supervisors

The author has spend years training supervisors, generally in manufacturing. With whatever curriculum he used he would add a chapter on adult learning theory. With this as a framework, he believed that trainees are far more receptive to the training as they have some understanding of why and how the program is constructed to benefit there growth. Very rarely do training facilitators take the time to explain the basics of adult learning to class participants. Indeed, if he has limited facilitator experience the facilitator may not even know the basics of adult learning himself.

The Supervisor: A Key Position

From the outset you need to know that there is no other job more important than that of supervisor. It is the supervisor who helps staff work at their optimal levels. It is also the supervisor that helps make management’s work smoother and more trouble-free than it would otherwise be. But developing the necessary skills to be successful in this pivotal position is a real challenge and does not just happen because the new supervisor used to be a first rate tradesman!

The new supervisor probably has the potential to be an excellent supervisor otherwise his boss would not have appointed him. But it is too much to expect you to “pick up the supervisory skills on the job.” This is why the boss normally provides supervisory training. When and if this occurs, the new supervisor owes it to himself, his boss and the training facilitator to do the best he can to participate fully in the session discussions and other learning activities.

As a prerequisite to training, the new supervisory needs to understand how best to get the most of any supervisory training he may receive.

1. Learning Activity: The Benefits of Training to You and Others
Or: What’s in it for Me (WIIFM)!

Firstly, we need to consider the importance of participating in supervisory training. “Because the boss wants me to” is an incomplete answer. To get the most from it and, in turn, be prepared to put a lot into it, the new supervisor needs to see the importance of it and the benefits to him, his staff, his boss and the company as a whole.

Here is a partial list of the importance of undertaking training.

It will help you become :

A better communicator

Know how to develop a more positive work environment

More cost-effective

More satisfied on the job

Develop more productive workers

More confident in your abilities

More self-aware and self-confident

A person with better morale

Increased in skills and make so fewer errors

A better leader able to gain respect and discipline others respectfully

A better problem solver

More stree free

A more collaborative team leader

A strong team spirit developer

Less likely to face personal liability lawsuits

Better respected by staff

A better time manager and more highly organized

2. Basics of Learning

It is important to know how you learn for at least two reasons:
When you proceed through a training experience, you will have a better idea of what is taking place in the learning process and you are therefore more likely to respond positively to the experience.

Good supervisors are also coaches and trainers of their staff. Therefore, it is essential for you to understand basic training theory and practice so you can increase your training skills.

A.Learning as Change

The objective of learning is to bring about changes in your behavior so you can do things differently. Learning can be transformational–it can change your life forever. As you acquire new knowledge and skills, you begin to see new potentials and opportunities that you perhaps had not thought possible beforehand. Learning can be a difficult experience as you strive to break through old prejudices and habits, but it also can bring many rewards.

The focus in a training program is on your learning. The flip side is that the person standing up front is a facilitator of your learning, more than he is a teacher or a trainer.
The focus, therefore, is on you, the learner, not the facilitator (trainer).

B.Active and Positive Participation

People learn in different ways, but one thing is clear: one of the best ways that all people learn is through active and positive participation, i.e. doing, discussing, listening actively, talking, being keen and enthusiastic about what you learn.
It is important that you become actively involved in what happens during the training. Being active and positive will ensure you learn close to 100% of what there is to learn. Being passive, not participating, listening with one ear, day dreaming is a waste of your time, the facilitator’s time and the company’s money. You need to make the effort for learning to happen.

C.Self-Directed Learning

A component of learning is the concept of self-directed learning, that is, a student has “learned on his/her own.” Research has shown that 75% of the learning that adults do is self-directional as opposed to institutional or employer provided learning. Write down the many things that you have learned on your own:

In an training course, because of the limited amount of class-contact time available, you must use your initiative to determine what additional, related knowledge or skills you want to acquire, as we are not going to be able to cover “everything there is to know about effective supervision” in class.

Resources abound and we need not deal with these hear. Suffice it to say your local college, library are two main sources, and of course you need go no further than The Internet.

D.An Inquiring Mind

People who have an open, inquiring mind, ready and eager to continuously learn new things are far more likely to live satisfying and successful lives than those who close their minds to the opportunities, challenges and new ideas they may encounter.

Here is a story:
John Black, a forty five year old supervisor working in Victoria wondered why he never got promoted or increased responsibilities and he asked to see his boss. The boss invited him to meet at the local pub for a beer where he bought a jug. They began chatting and then the boss started pouring the beer into John’s glass. He poured it full, and then kept pouring. John watched the frothy overflow with amazement until he could restrain himself no longer. “Can’t you see, the glass is full? No more will go in,” he exclaimed. “Like this glass,” the boss said, “you are full of your own judgements, opinions and prejudices. I cannot help you get ahead until you empty the first glass.”

A person with an inquiring mind thinks mentally and emotionally “out of the box.” Try this exercise:
Connect all nine dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines without lifting your pencil or retracing a line.
· · ·

· · ·

· · ·

E.Spaced Repetition

Learning , and the behavioral change that goes with it, takes time. You have to review what you have learned time and again if you are to learn to do it well. Learning something may take weeks–sometimes months–especially if it is complex. You must repeat the process again and again with some time lapse in between. This is called “spaced repetition,” and if you do review and practice, you are far more likely to significantly increase the level of your learning achievement and to “push” your new knowledge into your long-term memory. That is why good training is usually conducted over a number of weeks , not crammed into 2-3 intensive days.

F.Reflection and Thinking: the Importance of Doing “Nothing”

We are a nation of eager beavers. We are active all the time and feel guilty when we are not. However, an under-recognized yet invaluable way of “getting our act together,” of growing and allowing ourselves to be creative, is to spend time reflecting on what we do, how we do it now, and how we can improve. There are times when it is appropriate just to sit and think!

G.Learning Domains

Learning domains are the areas in which learning takes place. When we learn, we learn three types of things:
1. Knowledge (cognitive) learning: e.g. recalling information, using rules, comparing and contrasting, problem solving.

2. Skills (psychomotor) learning: e.g. performing gross motor-skills, steering and guiding, position movement.

3. Attitude (affective) learning: e.g. learning to be empathetic, understanding, supportive.

H.Learning Techniques

There is no one way to learn. People have their preferences. Some prefer to read books, others prefer multi-media or audio-visual materials. Some like to learn in groups, while others prefer to learn at their own pace on their own.
Also, learning techniques will vary, depending upon whether you are learning new knowledge or new skills or new attitudes. If you want to learn about welding, for example, you might best acquire new knowledge about it by reading a book or listening to a tape or a lecture. Welding skills, however, are better learned by demonstration and hands-on practice than by only reading a book.
Learning to be a more effective supervisor requires both knowledge about what you need to do, and you need to practice what you have learned to turn that knowledge into skills.
In most training program, a number of techniques are used.

They are all essential to your successful learning. They include:

· Discussion and group work;

· Readings and learning activities from a workbook and handouts;

· Work-place skill-development activities;

· Short talks by the Facilitator.

I.Program Details

Content Areas

The following two major content areas will be emphasized:

1. Managing yourself, your work and your life in general. It is essential that you get your act together before you can help others to get their act together.

2. Helping your staff to manage themselves, their work and their lives

J.Program Objectives

At the end of this program you will:

1. Have a clear sense of what your supervisory roles and responsibilities are and feel confident in your ability to implement them.

2. Have acquired significant new knowledge and skills in how to conduct yourself as a supervisor.

3. Be able to work effectively with other participating supervisors in a team atmosphere.

Remember before you can get full benefit from training you need to know how you learn. This short introduction may help you and others.

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Adult Learning Education: It’s never to Late to Go to College

On your list of priorities where does education rank? Is it high? Or is education something you never really thought was a must, maybe it was more of something to have like job experience. No question different people rank education differently, some rank it higher then others. While may parents after high school saw going to college as a must thing to do, friends of mine didn’t have the same push. One of the wonderful things about going to college and expanding your education today is the convenience. What exactly do I mean? With the simplicity of the Internet today almost any adult can attend college that never had the opportunity to do so before. Adult learning education is quickly becoming a very prominent business in the online world.

If you have never thought of adult learning education being in your future maybe it’s time to reconsider. If you have never achieved a bachelor’s degree in the past, or regretted never going to college after high school you now have the chance. With today’s high tech world, you and about half the rest of the population who have an Internet connection can. Todays high speed world makes it easy to investigate adult learning education. First step, simple go online and check it out. In the past you may not have had time to attend classes due to work or financial constraints, but what if you could attend an online class? Would you be interested if I told you that you could attend class, and do all of your class work from the comfort of your living room? With the adult learning education programs today this is totally possible. There are thousands of adults upgrading their education and job skills every year with this process. People can easily keep their current careers while they go back to college to train for something new, something they maybe always wanted to do but never had the chance to attend college.

So do we have your attention yet? Adult learning education is possible, that bachelor of arts or business you always wanted isn’t so far from your grasp. Get on the Internet now and start exploring the possibilities that adult learning education offers you. You could start programs next month, or next week and be on your way to earning that degree that will propel your career, or maybe even allow you to change careers. Go get it, it’s there for you to learn.

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