Removing a barrier to learning

I was recently approached by a client with a training problem. The records manager was involved in delivering training on creation of case files. These files were regularly presented in court as evidence.

The manager felt the training content and general delivery was well received, but the program was obstructed by the participants at the same point each time. A heated debate would occur and the resulting tensions then hung over the remainder of the session. Even more frustrating to the manager was that the debated point was not a topic of focus in the training.

This is a typical trainer’s challenge – how to run a session smoothly and not become distracted by peripheral issues. For a skilled trainer it may be easy to manage during the training, but the issue is likely to continue to cause confusion and disagreement in daily work. This leads to avoidance of recordkeeping responsibilities – individuals respond with a “not sure, do nothing” solution to the problem.

To overcome obstructive issues in training staff need clear direction. This means putting in place endorsed business rules and clearly communicating these.

In the case of this client, the controversy surrounded the form by which a case worker referred to themselves in a case file (a common case worker problem). The choice was between “I”, “the writer” or by name (e.g. “Michelle Linton”). The legally correct answer was simple; any of these references was acceptable. Unfortunately staff found this lacked sufficient clarity for them to comfortably act on.

My recommendation was straight forward. Management needs to determine their preferred style of reference and create a business rule for the organisation. This would then provide staff with clear direction, provide consistency of writing style in the case files, and enable the training to run smoothly. All in all, a training challenge once solved that would lead to better business practice.

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