I recently heard the adage (again… not just for the first time), “Getting there is half the fun.” Remember it? It was the way dad would get us to look forward to a long driving vacation so he could save a buck on plane fare. It was the theme of the entire movie from National Lampoon’s, “Vacation”. It, like the movie depicted, was almost always wrong. Yet, I heard it again the other day in reference to moving an entry-level driver through their training. It was said in ironic tones. It was a rhetorical statement to answer the problem of getting someone who has the heart but not the head for the business of modern-day truck driving.
I pondered over the statement for a little while before quipping back, “The journey sounds like a battlefield of negativity.” I was met with, “You don’t know the half of it.” As the trainer went out to work with this driver, I considered what the outcome of this training would be like. Would the trainer really work with this driver to try to come to solutions for the problems he/she was facing? Or would the trainer dive right back into the toolbox and pull out the trusty old formula that would, “Set them straight”? I was not surprised when the outcome, at the end of the day, was a defeated trainee and an exhausted trainer who needed a break from each other very badly.
Forming teams with trainees where the trainer and trainee are both responsible for the learning can forge a commitment that transcends some of the pitfalls in education. The old model of learning where the teacher stands at the front of the room with all of the answers and the students nod their heads whether they understand or not is beginning to become obsolete in the training industry.
There is an emerging training philosophy which includes an element of “formative assessment.” In this model, the student and trainer are a team, completing tasks together, building ownership of the learning and creating a journey of mutual acceptance for the tasks which must be accomplished and measured. More to follow on, “formative assessment.” Until then, may your training journey be one that includes mutual understanding and teamwork and may your travels be safe and happy!