Training is like a box of chocolates … you never know what you’re going to get ….

I was recently reading a blog post by fellow L & D professional Andrew Jacobs entitled Training is like Mexican Food and it reminded me of an interview I had a few years ago for a post in a Public Sector training team. Part of the interview was to give a ten minute presentation on my top tips for training, without the use of any ICT and only a flipchart. I decided to use the analogy of training being like a box of chocolates, (miss quoted and apologies to Forrest Gump – my sons favourite film at the time!) as you never know what you’re going to get once you walk into the training room!

I made acceptable use of the flipchart to draw an image of a well known brand of chocolates in a roughly triangular blue box and emerged ten minutes later without being able to remember a word I had said! However it must have struck a chord because I was asked back to a second interview where I delivered the presentation again, this time, on the advice of my son, armed with a box of the real thing not just a picture ….who says bribery doesn’t pay …I got the job!

So what did I cover in my presentation? I thought this would make a good subject for a  blog, so I am going to focus on each of the points I made, and I hope you will join me in my chocolate fuelled journey and it will be just as sweet an experience for you as for me!

Where shall we start our journey? Let’s look at the box of chocolates as a whole to start off with.

(1)    All sweets are different….. the pic’n‘mix phenomenon

All the sweets are different, you know from the packaging what is likely to be in there, but you don’t know what you will get until you put your hand in and pull out a chocolate. In the training room you may well have a delegate list so you know who you are expecting, but until you walk through the door and start talking to the delegates themselves you won’t really know a lot about them.

They will all be different, with a range of different learning styles. Variety is good, a box of chocolates with all the same centre would be boring, as would a room of people who are all the same and all learn in the same way. Because everyone is different, it is important that you spend time planning your delivery. Your approach and materials need to allow for the different learning styles. (see Honey and Mumford’s work based on Kolb’s model)

So now that we know we have a pic’n’ mix selection in our training room, what next?  Next time I will take a look at the contents of our chocolate box in a bit more detail…



About carolwoolley

I’m a Mum with passion for reading, astronomy and music. I sing 2nd Alto in the Kidderminster Valentines female voice choir and play the clarinet and flute in the Bewdley Concert Band. By profession I am a Chartered Librarian, qualified trainer and currently a Deputy Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Follow me on twitter @woolleybear64
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