From: James

Subject: I’ve got a new job!!!!

Hi Peter

I just thought I’d let you know I got the new training team leader job, so you should be asked for a reference soon. Thanks again for agreeing to write it for me! I start after Easter. To be honest, I’m a bit apprehensive about the role. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great opportunity and I obviously know loads about the topic. My worry is that I know next to nothing about training, and I’m not sure where to start

Any suggestions would be great!




To: James

Re: I’ve got a new job!!!!

Hi James

That’s fantastic news, well done! And don’t worry, I’ll only tell the truth in the reference… 🙂

Where to start in a training role? It’s a great topic, and I’ll bore you to death about it the next time I see you.

First, please don’t think of it as training; you have the privilege of helping your colleagues and department improve their performance. The great thing is that you know your subject and you’re a natural performer, so you’ve got a head start. From what you’ve told me, the danger for you is that your colleagues still think it all needs to be delivered as face-to-face courses.

If you think about the things that help you do your job well, that may be a good starting point. Performance, not training, is the focus, despite what your job title says.

To give you the skills and knowledge to work on this area, I’d recommend you start by reading Julie Dirksen’s Design for How People Learn. I wish I’d had this as a guide when I started out in training. It’s compulsory reading for anyone joining GoodPractice. Her ideas on performance gaps are simple and brilliant.

It’s probably also worth reading our recent report, New Perspectives on 70:20:10’. That’s a good place to start understanding how much learning takes place informally and, when combined with the material on performance gaps, it will really help you to understand learning in the workplace.

The one other book I’d suggest that you read (if you have time) which will give you a good foundation is Robert O. Brinkerhoff’s Telling Training’s Story. His material on the role of the manager in making a difference, and on evaluating training with the ‘Success Case Methodology’, is really important.

Start with those and you’ll have an excellent grounding. As you can imagine, there’s lots more to talk about, such as how you design different learning experiences for your colleagues, and understanding how learning and performance are integrated, but that’s for later.

I’ve got a copy of Brinkerhoff’s book if you want to borrow it?

Congratulations again; I’m delighted for you!