Still, there are some lessons that everyone can take away from technical training.
Don’t be afraid to get specific
Technical training is specialized. That is, it is often very specifically tailored to a particular job task for a single organization. Non-technical training can also benefit from this specificity. Soft-skills classes that utilize industry-specific examples are generally more useful than soft skills courses that use generic out-of-the-box examples.
Use demonstrations, labs, and simulations
With technical training, demonstrations, labs, and simulations—whether showing the key strokes required for a software, or going out into the shop to assemble a tool—are very useful and almost come naturally to the subject. But demonstrations, labs, and simulations are also incredibly valuable to nontechnical training, even though they can be more challenging to create. But think about it: The really good management, communication, or conflict management courses that you have taken often utilize some sort of useful demonstration, lab, or, most importantly, simulation.
Defining your terms is important, regardless of what the subject is. The same goes for acronyms and buzz words. Defining the language you use allows you to send a clear message, and it helps you make sure that all your learners are on the same page.
Utilize internal information
Internal sources play a key role in most in-house technical training courses. Internal sources of information can also be extremely useful to in-house nontechnical training courses. For example, employee message boards, handbooks, or collections of HR policies/best practices can serve as useful material for some nontechnical training courses.
Harness the power of the case study
Case studies are a mainstay for technical courses, but audiences of nontechnical courses can also benefit from learning about the real-world application of their topics. Sound like another way to say “be specific” with your content? It is. Regardless of your subject, relating your content to the intricacies of the workplace of your learners is important and will move your courses to a new level of value. Case studies and real-world application does wonders for a course.
While technical training can be a murky topic, there are some very real lessons to learn. The list in this post is not meant to be exhaustive. There are many more lessons that can be taken from technical training, just as there are other lessons that can be taken from nontechnical training. Still, implementing the items above can help make your courses, be they technical or nontechnical, more effective.
To learn more, join me for an ATD Essentials of Technical Training online workshop.