Why the Former Teacher May be Your Next Star Employee – Part I

I recently responded to a post from a person looking for advice on how to transfer from public education into corporate training because she was running into obstacles from potential employers. As someone who made the same transition, I related to her struggles. Many people in the corporate world do not see the connection between the role of a public school teacher and a corporate instructional designer/trainer and discount that experience.

My advice included understanding the way corporate jobs are framed and the terms used in describing the skills needed for a position and to frame her experience in that same way to help potential employers see how the skills are relevant.

Over the next two posts we will look at 8 of the 10 competencies in the Core Competency Model™ from ATD and job skills listed in corporate job descriptions to see why the former teacher might be your future star employee.

 

Instructional Design

  • Evaluate training needs
  • Design and develop training materials
Public school teachers are constantly designing learning activities for their students. Curricula do not provide all the materials and a good teacher is constantly tailoring activities for different learners. They evaluate existing materials and modify to meet learner needs. This is continuously evolving as the teacher evaluates the needs of their class as a whole and individual students. A good teacher is balancing these needs and differentiating instruction for the different needs present in their classroom. Teachers also engage in formal evaluation of learners through regular report cards which are a mix of concrete data and subjective assessment based on contact with the learner.

 

Training Delivery

  • Conduct classroom and virtual training sessions
Facilitation is a core role of a classroom teacher. They are constantly standing in front of learners and delivering material. They also know how to manage groups of learners that are involved in a series of different activities. They are quite accomplished at working with one group or monitoring their activity while making sure that other groups of learners are engaged in their own learning. Teachers are masters of engagement and understand the role entertainment takes in good facilitation.

 

Learning Technologies

  • Experience with Captivate, Storyline, Lectora, and Microsoft applications
  • Design and develp eLearning modules
  • Experience with a LMS
Many teachers use a lot of technology in their classrooms. They may not have specifically used rapid design software, but have used other products such as Hyperstudio, iMovie, or web-based product to design or deliver learning activities. In my days as a teacher, I taught thinking skills and basic computing through the use of RoboLab, communication skills by teaching the students to capture, edit, and produce video to create public service announcements, and a variety of tools to create eLearning modules that guided learners to explore a topic and develop a variety of skills. Additionally, in today’s classroom, a teacher may have experience with a LMS such as Moodle or others. Teachers today can be very tech savvy and even if they don’t know the specific software program you use, they have likely used something similar.

 

Evaluating Learning Impact

  • Use metrics to evaluate learning programs
Teachers use a lot of data when measuring learning and students. They have data from classroom assessments which allow the teacher to evaluate specific students and identify issues with the instructional materials. Teachers also receives data from standardized tests which lets the teacher look at their students in relation to a greater population of learners. Additionally, the teacher has subjective data that has been collected as a part of individual coaching of a learner. Teachers are a great deal of experience working with and effectively using metrics to improve learning.

As you look at these four competencies, you can see that former teachers bring extensive experience designing and facilitating instruction. They have worked with a variety of metric, both creating the assessment to capture metric but also working with metrics that have been collected by other sources. Former teachers can also have extensive technology knowledge and while they may not have worked with the exact programs you want them to utilize, they have likely worked with very similar software technologies and may have used some technology that would be a great addition to your departments toolbox.

For myself, I was a huge technology enthusiast and was always looking at ways to use technology as one of the ways to best achieve the goals and objectives for my students. My love of technology and comfort with it led me down a path of designing and developing eLearning. While that is just one of my job functions, currently it is a focus and it is my roots in technology from my teaching experience that led to my success today.

Check back next week for part two of this series where we will look at four more of the competencies outlined by the ATD.

 

Why an Expert isn’t Always the Best Trainer

 Have you ever brought in an expert to train your people and had the training session fail? Experts have a great deal of knowledge but often times you need an instructional designer or trainer to get the knowledge to your employees.

Experts and novices approach a topic differently. The expert has a great deal of understanding and for them, the procedures and processes they do are simple, almost second-nature. For the novice, they are starting at the beginning and need each step broken down. The difficulty is that the expert sees connection in the procedure and doesn’t need to break down steps completely and so when they try to teach the novice, they make assumptions about the information and combine steps in a way that the novice can’t connect with. The end result is that both the expert and the novice are frustrated.

This is where the instructional designer/trainer comes in. This person becomes the translator between the two. The instructional designer/trainer leverages the learners ability, connects information to their prior knowledge and motivates the novice to learn and develop competence with knowledge being taught.

Ability

Each learner has innate ability and the instructional designer/trainer understands learners and is able to quickly develop an understanding of the learner’s ability. They use this to break down steps into simple chunks that will help the learner acquire new information.

Prior Knowledge

When learning, people connect new information to existing information. The instructional designer/trainer understands how to make connections between information the learner already knows and new knowledge. They are practiced at finding commonality between new information and topics that are more familiar to the learner. They also know how to get the learner thinking about relevant information that will prepare them to understand new information.

Motivation

Learner desire to learn new information and the value they place on learning it have an impact on their ability to acquire new knowledge. The more motivated the learner, the more likely they are to overcome learning obstacles and retain information. The instructional designer/trainer understands how to develop motivation for the learner and keep them motivated throughout training. They know to make sure the learner understands the benefits of acquiring the new information. Additionally they understand that building the learner’s confidence with the material will keep them motivated throughout the learning process. By scaffolding successful accomplishments for the learner, they keep the learner motivated.

While subject matter experts provide valuable knowledge to your organization, an instructional designer/trainer is able to gather the information from the expert and craft it into an effective learning experience that delivers the information to the learner in chunks that are clear and motivate the learner to be a successful learner.