(This is the second episode in a two-part series. To listen to the previous episode click here.)

“Psychomotor Skill Training: How to Optimize Learning 2”

Special Guest – Randy Revling

On this episode, Allen Oelschlaeger is joined by Randy Revling, a retired Sheriff’s captain with over 30 years of experience as a law enforcement instructor. Randy developed the original instructor development course (IDC) used by the State of Wisconsin and has personally taught over 600 instructor schools for a wide range of disciplines.

Unlike most trainers, Randy has documented positive results of his training methods.

The discussion focuses on how to optimize “learning” — defined as creating relatively permanent changes in student behavior that results in the benefits expected from the training.

Some of the core principles discussed include:

  • To optimize learning, the importance of soliciting emotion and making the training practical and relevant to the student
  • People learn by doing, not by listening to a lecture
  • To drive learning, the need for a stimulus that is created by practicing inside a real-life and relevant scenario
  • The four steps that must be completed before delivering any training
  • The reason why teaching should occur inside scenario practice, rather than before this practice
  • The application of Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model to psychomotor skill training
  • How to effectively engage with students who start class with a bad attitude
  • The potentially conflicting goals of a training class generating “learning” versus generating good evaluations

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(This is the second episode in a two-part series. To listen to the previous episode click here.)

Al:

Well, Randy Revling, how are you doing? Good to have you on the phone.

Randy:

Very good. Thank you, Al.

Al:

Yes. You’re up in Green Bay, I understand this is right in the middle of pandemic season and every night I watch the evening news and it seems like you’re having a tough time up there with the pandemic. Is that true or not?

Randy:

That’s only in the news.

Al:

Yeah. It is making the national news now, but anyway, Randy we’ve run once before and I wanted to loop back and talk further about this whole issue of how to best train psychomotor skills. And I know you’ve been doing this for years. I’ll let you describe how many years, and then we can get into it. I know we want to talk about something new that’s been around for probably what? 40, 50 years is Kirkpatrick’s model. Anyway, why don’t you introduce yourself and we’ll go from there.

Randy:

Well, good morning again. Randy Revling here for a number of years, I’ve been involved primarily in law enforcement training, but also have done a great deal of training in hospitals and industry, financial institutions, schools, and a lot of other organizations. One of the most important things I believe that we came across in all these years of training, tens of thousands of people, is that the training must be practical and relevant to each individual. We can discuss today how we can achieve that.

Randy:

It should be remembered that a lot of discussion is held on what should we train? Should we train this technique or that technique? And in reality, many techniques are good, but the critical thing is how it’s going to be taught. How are you going to research this situation within this industry, this particular department, or whoever you’re going to be working for? How do you research and find out what the actual issues are there?

Randy:

And by doing so, you’re learning a lot about the employees, what their needs are, and you create a program, select whatever techniques you want to teach, that is practical and relevant to them. In that you’ll create emotion. Emotion and training is what drives to long-term memory.

Al:

Randy, I love it.

Randy:

That’s where I would see us going today, Al. Thank you.

Al:

Well, I think, you know that we’ve been doing conflict management training for ever, 30 plus years and in our minds, it’s human behavior. You’re dealing with humans. All humans are much the same. You’re dealing with body mechanics and people’s conflict triggers we talk about. And at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what market you’re in or what discipline, the core principles are the same.

Al:

But just like what you described there, that the audience doesn’t understand that and I think what you’re saying here, they need training that’s very relevant, very specific to what they’re doing in their jobs every day and not some general principle that applies to all of humans.

Randy:

Well, that’s correct. For example, one of the classes that I audited for you and what your instructors were presenting to a very nice group of probably 30 or 40 people for a four-day period of time. And those people came from various backgrounds and know, based to what I just said, you said, “Well, how would you determine what all of these people need?”

Randy:

Well, that’s easy, but many people don’t do it, and that is to allow this class to organize itself into working groups, teams of perhaps three, sometimes four people who have the similar needs, who have the similar backgrounds, who have the similar concerns. Then some more associates of your company have done a lot of work, a lot of great work in England. They talked about putting this stuff into context.

Randy:

And in this class that we would have then, these people are working together, and as they talk about in England, well, they must be doing the complete program from the start. If you want them in the end to be able to do X, well, then they have to be doing X. And that was the exact words of professor Cushion. But see, when they’re doing X, X has to be practical and relevant to them.

Randy:

Now, if you had this group of people who have similar backgrounds, similar concerns, similar needs when they return to work they’re supposed to be doing similar things, right from the start, they are doing something that they are going to need to do back home. Now, the degrees of intensity, which will continually increase as their skills develop are based upon the role of the person playing the role player, the one who is creating a situation within their teams. That’s how we achieve this.

Randy:

That’s how you achieve the emotion that drives this to an actual psychomotor skill that they can do without thinking about it, based upon the stimulus of the incident back home, which was the same thing they created in the training environment.

Al:

And Randy, I’ve heard this from you for as long as I’ve known you, that this emotion is pretty key for learning to occur and that without it, not much learning is going to happen, but if you can get people emotional and embedded in what you’re doing, and they see that this is going to apply to what they do in their jobs, that’s when the magic happens.

Randy:

Exactly. That magic is what we call the involuntary desire to learn. They don’t even realize in their own minds what’s going on. They’re working, they’re doing a job, they’re involved in it. It’s because this is practical and relevant to them that you’ll get this psychomotor skill development. Drives it to long-term memory, and they just keep working. It’s work. Training is work.

Al:

There was a previous podcast here I did. I’m not sure exactly when this will get published versus the one we did in the UK, that talked about how a lot of this is based on 40 years of research and you’d pointed out that a lot of this goes back all the way to Aristotle. Tell me about that. Where does Aristotle fit into this?

Randy:

Well, everybody knows who Aristotle was, not too many people know just how long ago it was. What I enjoy most about reading from those times is those people were as smart as anybody today, and maybe smarter.

Al:

There we go.

Randy:

They understood the mind and the body, and Aristotle said, “Whatever you want to be good at, you must do that.” Now, certainly when you read more in depth, you’ll see that there was evaluation even then, of course. And it’s the same type of evaluation as now. That is, when someone is initially learning this, the first thing they must have is a model. They have to see somebody doing it.

Randy:

Now, what this person is doing, that is actually typically the role of the instructor, but I’m going to show you as our discussion continues today, how the students actually take on this role as well, in what we call student instruction, student evaluation. Learner instruction, learner evaluation. But first of all, the instructor, the teacher has taken a time to research and learn what are the needs and develop, select from among many techniques, a technique to teach them today, series of techniques and be able to effectively model it, show them.

Randy:

When the leaner sees somebody doing something that they can see as practical and relevant, starts to desire to imitate. As soon as that desire to imitate is there, you got to get them out of the chair. They can’t be sitting there for 15, 20 minutes or two or three hours. Get them up. After demonstrating this thing, explaining why it’s practical and relevant and within just a few minutes, get them up and get them into their groups.

Randy:

Here, in this group, you’ll have someone who is actually carrying out the exercise, you’ll have somebody who is watching them, guiding them. Initial stages, they’ll need some direction and that direction is not complete, but it’s pause for a second. Remember, you hold your hand here or this is what you say. And within a couple of repetitions, they’re able to do this. Now they’re thinking themselves through it, which is good, conscious effort.

Randy:

They’re thinking about what they’re saying, they’re thinking about what they’re doing and they’re reacting to the role player who is actually creating the stimulus by which they would say and do these things. Then they rotate. But before they rotate and keep changing positions of one who is the actual practitioner or the person that’s doing this job. One is the coach, and another one is the role player who’s creating a stimulus. That role player is on a very strict role player card where they cannot deviate from.

Randy:

But as they pause to rotate positions, one of the most important things they can do is now debrief where they actually talk about it. Let’s say the coach will ask the person who just went through this, “Well, tell me why did you do what you did? What was the stimulus? What’s the justification for you carrying out the things you just said and done?” That’s all they need. What’s the justification? What that does is it builds confidence and they need that confidence.

Randy:

Those people sometimes have a little bit of difficulty in talking about what they’ve done and why they’ve done it and oftentimes, maybe they haven’t thought about why they did it. But remember now, nothing has been done in this training that has already been improved in the policy of the agency. And they must reference that. Here is what this person was saying and doing and now here is what I have done.

Al:

Randy, let’s step back on that, because I think that’s a crazy important point, is you shared a little chart with me here where you’re into delivering the training program and how do you do that and get people up and making sure they work in groups and relevant content and whatever? But you have this chart where there’s four steps before that. Right? And I think your point here is that if they don’t understand that what they’re doing is in alignment with their organization’s policies, which I think is one of these steps, they get in a little bit of trouble.

Al:

Just briefly describe what you should be doing before you ever show up in class.

Randy:

Okay. We started talking about that just a few minutes ago, but this law has now had someone inquire to your company as to how maybe this law would be the right fit for our company and you shall come and do some training for us. And you’re listening to their concerns and actually taking note of them. And if your contract discussions go as far as to initiate a contract, well, the first thing you’re going to be doing is sending your staff to that company to do a number of things.

Randy:

One is to get to know the people who are in charge, see what their concerns are, see where they’re going. Also, to review the policies of the agency, as well as the procedures, the policy manual empowers employees to act, the procedure manual gives them the guidelines to work with. And you’re studying these things. Now you’re working together right with the employee. You’re watching in the job place, you’re reading about the incidents that have already occurred, there’s no doubt reports at the company of previous situations, previous incidents.

Randy:

Talking to the employees, meeting in focus groups with the employees, get the union members. If there is a collective bargaining agreement in place at that company, this is going nowhere without the union supporting it, no matter what anybody says, I’ve been around a long time and I’ve worked with a lot of unions and nothing goes anywhere without their cooperation. But if there is no union, it’s really the same thing. The focus groups, getting the employees to buy into what you’re going to be doing.

Randy:

This is all before you’ve even written the learning objectives. Once you have a firm understanding of what are the needs of this company and the needs specifically of these individual employees, you could write the learning objectives. Once you have the objectives, this is how we want to be here in the future. Okay, how are we going to improve in that? We write a lesson plan and we’re determining what our instructional strategy is going to be. Maybe some of this is going to be online.

Randy:

A great way of doing things now is to get academic information to the person which they need in the online environment. In many companies, they want the employee to do that on-duty, while they’re working. Everybody has a little bit of time during the day and if they don’t have some time during their shift, then again, there has to be agreements on who’s going to pay them to do their work online, if they’re not doing it, well, at work. Then also looking at how’s the hands on training going to go.

Randy:

What are we going to do to create an effective work environment? One of the comments that I heard at professor Cushions was, “Make sure you’re not doing scenarios on the last day.” Well, that is absolutely the truth. If you wait till the last day to do a scenario, well, what is the purpose of that? Evaluation? And then well, what if the person doesn’t do good? When are you going to fix that person? That doesn’t make any sense at all to wait till the end. That scenario environment begins on day one.

Randy:

As I just mentioned, here you had an instructor who created an effective model for these people. When they walk out onto the floor, they’re literally experiencing the same stimulus that they’re going to see in the workplace. You’ve got that person who is playing the role. Now it’s very low key. You would not even really recognize it as a full blown scenario, but you have a role player that’s creating the stimulus. In these learning strategies, you’re going slow and then now we’re coming back to what I was mentioning, that debrief before they rotate.

Randy:

The first question was; why did you do what you did? Consistent with recognizing the stimulus that the role player presented and I’m working within the policy that empowers me and I’m also within the guidelines that the company has given me to carry this out. Next question is, well, that’s very good, but how do you see yourself next time? It’s real easy for people to tell you all the things they did wrong, which will only increase their likelihood of that being done again, wrong.

Randy:

When you ask the question, when the coach asked the question, how do you see yourself next time? They must pause and see how they desire themselves to be next time and literally first person experiential describe themselves doing this thing right. That’s what they will move toward to become like. You’re actually affecting the neuron structure of the brain and the neuromuscular pathway with your language. Language is a very, very important and influential factor in training and they must be able to describe themselves as they want to be.

Randy:

Just like they remodeled. Now, it’s time to rotate and they get back into it. Hence, that’s how the training goes. Cushion said if you want to do X, well, you better keep doing X and throughout the various levels of intensity. So that by the time the last day comes and the scenarios have become pretty intense, well, they already know they’re going to do good. They know they’ll do good and they have a great deal of confidence and they’re very competent.

Al:

As we talked about with professor Cushion and Gerard O’Dea is that once they’re in that, what you’re just describing, these little groups and they’re doing the scenario and there’s a coach and a practitioner and a role player, they also have the opportunity to say, “Boy, I need to learn this better.” And as Dr. Cushion said, “It doesn’t get any better than having the student ask to be taught.” At that point, you can go back and do the specific practice to learn a piece of that scenario and how to do it better, and then come back into the scenario and try it again.

Randy:

Well, there was two parts to that one, which is the most important part is that group of learners, that small team of three to four people, they will very likely determine that themselves. Their brain is as powerful as the coach’s brain, as the teacher’s brain. Now, remember, you’re paying a Vistelar teacher to be there, but that Vistelar teacher is watching from a distance, watching these teams. Not standing right on top of them. As soon as that Vistelar trainer, the big shot comes close to that little group, the energy will leave them and go toward that…

Randy:

They give all the authority over to that coach standing there. Stay away from them. Watch them from a distance, they will keep their own authority. They’ll keep their own energy and they’ll move toward the goal. Now, their coach is watching from a distance and sees something that’s not quite right. Well, that needs to be fixed. And you’re watching to see if they correct. If they don’t correct it, now the coach will step up. They’ve got the authority, they’ve got the energy, they go ahead and model it again, describe it just a little bit better for them.

Randy:

Maybe describe in a different manner and get away from them and they’ll improve. They’ll do good.

Al:

I love it. Quick summary then, because I want to talk about this evaluation, which is this Kirkpatrick’s model that you’ve mentioned, but the point here is that before training ever occurs, you’ve got to determine the needs. You’ve got to make sure the policy and procedures align with what the training’s going to teach. You develop a lesson plan, make sure the objectives are clear, make sure you understand clearly what the instruction strategies are. And what you’re saying is it could be that online is an effective instruction strategy for part of a course.

Al:

Then separately, you might have the hands on training where people can work together in groups. Then you deliver the training, you make sure the scenarios are occurring and people are working in groups and it’s real life. But then at some point you’re going to evaluate how this all went, so you can improve next time. Talk a little bit about this Kirkpatrick’s model and how that fits in.

Randy:

First of all there’s four levels to Kirkpatrick, the first three are learning all the time. There’s not a day where, okay, today’s evaluation day. No. Here’s the first level of evaluation in Kirkpatrick, that’s the students’ reaction to the training. Well, the student’s reaction starts when the instructor walks into the classroom and looks out at them. What’s their body language? What are they doing? How prepared are they? That’s the reaction already?

Randy:

Some say, “No, that’s the survey or the evaluation that they’ll do with an instructor at the end of the class.” Not true. The student” reactions to the training starts in the first minute and it runs throughout the class. Are they attentive? Are they involved? Well, if the instructor’s more concerned about they’re talking and they’re explaining stuff till where the student falls asleep, you can’t blame the student. That’s the instructor’s fault. The students’ reaction to training is measured in their enthusiasm. It’s measured in how hard they work.

Randy:

It’s measured or involvement. It’s measured in their evaluation of the other students in their cooperation and the assistance that they provide to the other students and it runs throughout the class. The next level is, has anything been learned? Well, if you wait until the last day you have a written test to see if anything was learned, you might be very disappointed.

Randy:

Has anything been learned or understood when the instructor is standing or watching four or five or six or seven groups of students out on this floor and they’re all interacting in within their work environment that they’re creating with the role player and the coach, might be a couple of coaches, then of course, one person is the practitioner. You’re seeing if learning is occurring right there.

Randy:

Also, if you want to have some evaluation of academic concerns, terminologies, definitions, procedures, give them a pre test in the morning, see what they learned in their homework that night. Give them a post test at the end of the day and maybe five or six questions, seven or eight, no more than 10. And you’ll see if learning is occurring, but that goes out throughout the class. We’ve covered the students’ reaction. We’ve covered learning as far as measuring it because everything has to be measured.

Randy:

Even a student’s reaction should be measured on a rubric. You should lay out the definitions of what you want to see in a rubric. The third thing, what’s the behavioral change? Are they actually doing the things that you wrote out perhaps months before where you did all the surveys or did all the work within the agency? Are they doing that now? And are they doing that without direction? Are they doing that solely by the stimulus of the role player?

Randy:

And you saw it go through all the various levels of intensity to the point where you actually can predict that when they go to the workplace, they’re going to be doing it. Now, the second part of that third level of evaluation is, are they actually doing it in the workplace? Hence, it’s important to consider the development of facilitators. Facilitators aren’t necessarily teachers. Facilitators ensure that the Vistelar curriculum is being presented and utilized within their workplace as Vistelar intended.

Randy:

That’s what a facilitator does and a lot of what they do seems like a coach seems like a trainer, but it’s a facilitator.

Al:

Interesting. Let me-

Randy:

Now, that’s number four.

Al:

Okay.

Randy:

Number four is what is the impact now in our workplace? Our, because we have become part of this company. In our workplace, because of the Vistelar training, do we see less complaints from citizens? Do we see less sick time taken by employees? Do we see better retention of the employee? We have to hire less people, to spend less money on training. Do we have a better quality in our product? What are the measurements that we had intended to make right from the start? And are we hitting those milestones?

Randy:

Or is there something unexpected benefit that is derived from this? Or was there an unexpected downturn because of something? We have to be watching for our impact in the workplace in measurable, measurable evaluation criteria. Well, that’s the four levels of evaluation, but it runs continuously.

Al:

Let’s go back to level three, because your description of your groups and the scenarios and all that, that’s level three. That’s where you get to see, can they actually do this? And throughout the week you can continue to evaluate, can they do these skills effectively?

Randy:

Are you changing behavior?

Al:

Changing behavior, love it. Okay, and then-

Randy:

There has to be what we call a paradigm shift. This is how we are now and we’re not going back. But again, in training, you’re only predicting it because it’s still training. They know it and they know, even though we had instructors afar off and that the fellow students who are helping them to coach and helping them to be valuate and helping them to learn, they know you’re watching and they know they’re supposed to do what you want them to do.

Randy:

That’s why the actual second part of level three evaluation behavior is how are they doing this on the job and nobody’s watching? Remember there’s always somebody watching, but sometimes people get the feeling like nobody’s watching. How are we doing then?

Al:

Yeah. Just as you’re talking there, Randy, on the Cushion call, we talked a little bit about driver training and how you learn to become a new driver and you do a little class time, find out what the rules are and what the signs mean, but then right away you’re out of the car driving. You got a coach and he’s giving you feedback and he’s taking you through various levels of intensity and whatever. And that’s, I think the analogy of being in a training class.

Al:

Then you leave that training and you go out and now, you got, maybe your dad is the facilitator. Is that a fair analogy? And the dad is making sure you’re doing what you were taught in class.

Randy:

Yeah, absolutely.

Al:

Yeah. Then ultimately, you got to be able to do it when nobody else is in the car and nobody’s watching, but occasionally somebody is watching like a law enforcement officer that sees you miss a stop sign.

Randy:

Very good analogy. Really, these facilitators are trained by Vistelar. They carry it on exactly how Vistelar wants it carried out.

Al:

Yeah. Well, that’s obviously part of the problem with driver training is, sometime the dad or the mom isn’t necessarily a good facilitator. They haven’t been trained. A lot of 16 year olds go through a lot of stress because of that.

Randy:

Yeah.

Al:

Okay. That fourth level is the hard one, right? Because that means somehow you need to track what are the results that you’re expecting for this training. Obviously, you should know what those are up front, but if you’re looking for less turnover because people have less stress or conflict and whatever, then you got to manage your turnover, see what happens.

Randy:

And there’s a couple of… Well, there’s more than a couple of, there’s several different ways of achieving number four. One is, when you were developing the lesson plans, you were actually developing the surveys that would go out to this company. Say you don’t have facilitators that are trained, or even if you have them, these are some tools that would be beneficial. You’re creating a survey. A survey that goes to the agency a few months after the training, six months after training, maybe annually.

Randy:

And you’re determining if any of these benchmarks have been achieved, have some of these things we mentioned, have there been a reduction in complaints? Is there an improvement in customer satisfaction? And well, how are you measuring that? Are you getting actual complimentary letters? Letters of reference commendation coming in or less sick days? Is there less workman’s comp. Are there in cases where you’re training security and law enforcement, there’s less on-duty injuries.

Randy:

Do you have less workman’s comp? All this is laid out in a survey way ahead of time and then the surveys are presented. The other thing is, part of facilitator training is not just learning how to implement and maintain the Vistelar curriculum, but how to evaluate if it’s being done properly and how to evaluate the impact. What are the measurables? If we can’t measure it, we don’t want to know about it. If it’s somebody’s opinion, I’m not much interested, but I want to be able to measure the impact and what is it that we can measure.

Randy:

Usually, it’s going to lead to some type of either improvement in the workplace or financial gain for the company. Not just customer satisfaction, but what about worker satisfaction within a workplace, which helps to retain these employees that they’ve invested in? What about the employees that don’t belong there? Have some employees been removed from the workplace? And sometimes that’s not a bad idea.

Randy:

Many companies simply don’t have the criteria that they need, that’s why Vistelar can help them do this to evaluate employee performance effectively. And once they have the effective criteria for evaluating employee performance, now they can determine who should be there, who shouldn’t be there. There’s a lot to this, but you got some company that can do it.

Al:

Randy, let’s jump back to the delivery of the training. You walk in the class and you got a group of students there, and obviously there’s some people that, for whatever reason, they’re excited to be there, eager to learn, they see the benefit before they walk in the door because of what they’ve been told about the training or whatever, but there’s always the other people that are not in any of those categories.

Al:

How do you take a diverse class where you obviously have some people that are eager, and I think everybody that’s ever been a trainer or an educator has this experience where there’s some people that, gosh, they just don’t want to be there? You want them to learn, you got these little groups you’re forming, like you described, how do you get them engaged in the training to make sure they also learn by the end of the class?

Randy:

Well, first of all, let’s not be too hard on some people who are less than enthused to be there. There’s some things I believe we should consider. First of all, these people that we’ve just designated as less than eager, what has been their experience in training in the past? How effective was the training that they’ve had to attend all these years? There’s a possibility it wasn’t very good.

Al:

Exactly. Right?

Randy:

There’s a possibility that it was a waste of their time, I have found, and I have found this time and time again, that those people who are in the first day and the first few minutes of the class were just those who would not be there are probably some of the hardest working, most intelligent and dedicated employees that the company has, but they’ve been so frustrated by poor training, lack of training, in some cases, mistakes that administration makes in managing the employee that they do have a crappy attitude.

Randy:

Those are the people that I actually like to see best. I love them, because I can make this thing practical and relevant to them and within a short period of time, you’re going to see them actually become the best people in the class. Now, is there still a possibility that there’s just somebody that doesn’t belong there? Possibly, but the evaluation criteria and your effectiveness in evaluating them is something that is not presented. They might just fail the class. Well, okay. Some people fail. Everybody can’t be expected to pass all the time.

Randy:

I would wonder, one of the things that determines the validity of a written exam, if everybody passed all the time, just how good was that exam? I’m not worried if somebody sits in that class and they got their arms crossed, leaning back and a sour look on their face that first few minutes of the class. I understand it completely and I love them. I love those people.

Al:

And the key there is, and just put a little bit more to that because the key is, you’re saying that if you can show them that this class is going to be relevant to their work life, it’s going to have benefits that they’re going to gain, that they can get a clear vision in their head as to where they’re going to be by the end of the class, they’re going to rally to the occasion. Is that what you’re saying?

Randy:

That’s been my experience. Now, they might test you a few times along the way. They might make some type of a comment and I’m not talking about an inappropriate out of line type of comment that would be disrespectful to other class members, but a challenging comment to you, the instructor as to your effectiveness, your ability to be there, why you’re even there in front of them or some type of comment regarding, are you sure this is the proper technique? Or, “Hey, let me show you something I’ve been doing.”

Randy:

Well, I want to see it. I’m not going to diss them because you know what, the odds are, it’s very similar to what we’re going to teach today, maybe we’ll learn something. This is not a bad situation.

Al:

Well, Randy, you’re causing me to… There’s a little story I’m going to tell, a brief story. There’s a longer version of it. I worked with a guy that was the engineering architect for a large company. He was the guy that developed almost every product and was the brains behind almost everything this company produced. But he told a story about a previous company he was with where he had to go to some training. He’s an engineer, very, very extraordinarily smart guy.

Al:

Had to go to some training and it was training on how to use the company’s phone system. Now, this guy had been through a lot of bad training, and so you mentioned challenging the instructor. He’s there, he’s horribly frustrated by the training because in his mind it’s pretty stupid. “I’m going to learn how to use this phone system? And I have to be here for three hours?” This was back when digital phones first came into being. During the break he climbed underneath the table.

Al:

Everybody had a phone in front of them because they had to practice, calling each other and leaving voicemails or whatever. He climbed underneath the tables and he rewired all the phones, so when they called one person, it actually rang somewhere else. The instructor comes back; she was completely lost. She’ going, “Well, John, you call Bill, let’s see what happens.” John would call Bill and Mary would get the phone call. It was the extreme of challenging the instructor. Yeah.

Randy:

Well, that you have to curtail. It only goes so far. Remember, we’re there to teach this class and if the behavior begins to compromise your ability to teach a class well, steps have to be taken.

Al:

Exactly, but I think in her case, she didn’t figure out what the problem was and he never admitted the problem.

Randy:

Some IT guy was blamed for all that.

Al:

But you remember that, right back when phones first came out? It was like, “Come on, you’re going to teach me how to use the phone?” Anyway, very cool. I said the same thing on the Cushions call is this Kirkpatrick’s model has been around for how long?

Randy:

Over 40 years, and now there’s a company called Kirkpatrick Partners and they’re still working with this. It’s a very effective model. I have personally not found anything better to use. I think it’s simple, easy to use, easy to understand. You just got to follow it.

Al:

Again, same question. I’m an old guy like you, been around forever, been through a lot of training programs. I just don’t remember this discussion occurring previously in past lives, past companies. The focus was largely on how did we do with our evaluations?

Randy:

Yeah. Right.

Al:

Right? And did we get good evaluations? Or instructor B got better evaluations than instructor C and it seemed like that was always the message versus thinking about these four levels of evaluation, which again, it seemed like they’re embedded and validated for years and years and years, but they don’t get discussed a lot. Why is that? What’s going on?

Randy:

Well, there are a lot of really good instructors, but there are some that aren’t, and there are some people who could be good instructors, but they’ve learned from somebody who is not. And the focus of the instructor really was, “What can I do to get a good eval?” “Well, I’ll mildly entertain them and I’ll let them out early and we’ll take long lunch breaks and long coffee breaks and I’ll get a good eval.”

Randy:

And the students are going, “Well, if we get along a lunch break and we get out early and long coffee breaks, and I just get to sit here and giggle and laugh a little bit. I’ll give him a good eval.” And the focus was not on training. The focus certainly was not on how are you going to be when you get back to work? What’s going to be different? What will be different because you were here? That’s the first question that needs to be asked in the classroom in that morning. How do you want to be?

Al:

Well, I think you’ve heard that little clip that I found where there’s some guy that had been studying. I think he’s from some California university, but he made the comment, he said, after 40 years of studying how people learn and classroom training and whatever, he says, I’ll paraphrase, but it was something like, “I know exactly what I need to do to get a good evaluation in class. I also know exactly what to do to produce real learning that people actually change their behavior when they’re back in their jobs.”

Al:

And he said, “The problem is that those two classes are completely different.”

Randy:

They don’t have to be, but I understand what he’s saying.

Al:

Yeah. Well obviously, if you work people all day long and they don’t get out early and they don’t get a long break and they have to come back in five minutes after their coffee break and they’re working all day long. I’d give you a good evaluation, but at the end of the day, that’s not the goal. The goal is to have them change their behavior when they’re back at work and then create all those results you’re talking about in terms of less workman’s comp and lower turnover and less absenteeism, and whatever.

Randy:

Our experience has been this, Al, if you create a practical, relevant training program and people buy into it, and now they’re training themselves with their energy, no instructor can train anyone without instructor’s, energy, but rather the students’ energy. And they are really moving and working toward what’s important to them in their mind, as far as their work or as far as their personal life, whatever our goal is today, you’re going to run that class right to the end of the day, and they’re not going to bat an eye.

Randy:

And if at the end, when you do that evaluation for the instructor on how effective was this learning, and all the different criteria that we always like to measure at the end of the class, you’ll get good evals, you get very good evals.

Al:

Yeah.

Randy:

It just does not pay in this day and age with tight budgets and all the different requirements that are upon us and the difficulty, even in hiring employees and the importance of retaining that employee. You have to train effectively and you have to evaluate the training effectively and you must affectively evaluate the impact of that training in the workplace, in measurable criteria.

Al:

Randy, I love it. As always, I always learn something every time we talk. I appreciate your time today, and hopefully we’ll get back together soon. Any final comments?

Randy:

No, just great visiting again with you, Al. Thank you very much for your time.

Al:

Take care.