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TD Magazine Article

The Role of the Trainer

The role of the trainer has evolved during the past few decades. It is time for learning and development professionals to embrace this evolution and begin to change the way they design and deliver training; and accept their roles in different areas of the organization.


Sat Feb 08 2014


The cover article highlights the changing role of the trainer from a "presenter of content to a coach who is developing the talents of her pupils," authors Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams write. In the flipped learning model, the basic premise is that direct instruction and lecture is not an effective teaching tool in the group learning space, but is effective when delivered to individuals. Classroom time is spent applying what students have learned by using equipment or simulations.

"This does not diminish the need for expert teachers or trainers," Bergmann and Sams write. "In fact, experts are even more essential in a flipped learning setting because so much individualized attention is given to the learners."


The feature article by Norma Dávila and Wanda Piña-Ramírez focuses on the learning and development function's role in an organization's succession planning initiatives.

"Succession planning is the responsibility of learning and development, whether or not learning and development is under human resources," write the authors. "As you create the company's integrated development program, you need to include succession planning and envision it as a mechanism to maintain the organization's prosperity."

The evolution of the trainer's role in today's business world is continuing at a brisk pace, and is something that all trainers need to embrace to maintain relevance in organizations. As John Coné explained in the May 2013 issue of T+D, "Trainers have gone from telling learners what they know, to designing \[initiatives\] aimed at what they think learners need to know, to curating collections of what learners might need to know, to guiding learners among myriad options toward what those learners want to know."

Are you open to changing the way you design and deliver content? Are you willing to take on more responsibility in the recruitment of future employees?

The past decade has changed this profession at lightning speed, and the next 10 years will have a profound effect on the role of the trainer. Don't get left behind—be willing to change and evolve because your success in this field will depend on it.


Paula Ketter

Editor, T+D

[email protected]

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February 2014 - TD Magazine

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