Assessing Training: How Do We Improve Teaching and Learning?

Dave looked forward to the training class. It was his day off from work, and he sacrificed time with his family to drive 30 miles to the class location to learn the latest trends in narcotic use in the region. His colleagues were disappointed they could not attend because of staffing shortages, but they were eager for him to bring back information from the one-day class so he could share the latest techniques and methods of using, packaging, and transporting narcotics.

When he arrived at the training class, he found the room full of attendees and only a few empty seats left in the back of the room. Dave took his seat and waited for the class to begin. The instructor was a recognized expert in narcotics, knowledgeable, easygoing, and had been teaching for a few years. However, throughout the class, Dave was frustrated. He found some of the material confusing, the PowerPoint slides were hard to read, and the instructor did not provide many details about key concepts.

There was little structure to the class. The instructor did not provide a course outline, learning objectives, or supplemental handouts. He used a lecture format and did not provide any tools to allow students to provide feedback in real time. The instructor never asked for feedback on how things were going and, at one point, took a call on his cellphone during the lecture, which Dave thought was inappropriate. At the end of the training, the instructor wished everyone the best of luck and dismissed the class two hours early. Dave left the class feeling irritated and robbed of his time, and he had little to share with his colleagues back at work.