Best Practices for Delivering Technology Teacher Training
As a district leader, part of your role is likely to train or facilitate training on a curriculum or program. It is easy to get bogged down in the details of training logistics or rush into an initial training and lose out on the chance to apply important principles that help ensure a successful implementation. As the Professional Development Training Manager at Learning.com, I’ve seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t. In this post, I’ll share some aspects related to training that will help you reach your district’s implementation goals. Hint: It all hinges on what is done prior to training.
Defining Your Training Goals
Let’s consider three possible training scenarios—either you are training teachers yourself, someone else in the district is conducting the training, or you are inviting in an outside trainer. No matter who conducts the training, learning will be most effective if you start with the end in mind, adequately prepare your training participants beforehand and support them as they continue to learn through application.
Developing a Training Plan
What is it that you want out of a training session? Usually it’s a certain behavior when the teacher returns to the classroom, right? A single training session is only part of the learning journey. According to a Columbia University study on learning, 26% of the effectiveness of a learning event is based on activities that happen before the training, and 50% is based on what happens afterwards. Once the teacher returns to the classroom, it is crucial that their learning continues by way of doing what they’ve learned to do.
This isn’t to say that the training itself isn’t important (it is!), but it is the activities that you do to frame the training that make it take hold.
What does this look like in practice?
- Make sure participants have a positive, clear message from leadership as to the purpose of training, and what they will be expected to do as a result of the training.
- For online curriculum like EasyTech, think through how both teachers and students will access the program. Make sure this is in place before training.
During the training:
- Engage in frequent conversation as to how your participants envision integrating the curriculum into their classroom.
- Initiate discussion about any concerns in implementation.
- Ask participants to either say out loud or write in a shared document how they plan on starting to use the curriculum.
Plan for after training:
Determine how you will…
- Monitor results
- Reinforce with reminders and refreshers (for Learning.com, use topics from our monthly newsletters or Learning.com Academy email messages).
- Encourage teachers through coaching and mentoring.
- Reward adoption as appropriate, such as recognition and showcasing quality implementation.
Setting Expectations with Trainees
My recommendation is to do everything you can to make sure your teachers never walk into a training session without knowing ahead of time why they are there and what will be expected of them. Keep the results you want forefront in your mind, and remember that in your teachers’ initial training, their learning has only just begun.