Train-the-Trainer: An Effective Approach to Developing Skilled Transit Trainers

Ken Mall - Consulting Managing Partner ·

For decades, training and upskilling workers has been challenging for trainers in many job markets, and the transit industry is no exception. Often, transit training departments are staffed with instructors who are extremely skilled in their craft, but lack essential knowledge in adult learning theory.

According to statistics*, businesses lose up to $13.5 million every year per 1,000 employees due to ineffective training. For employee training and onboarding to be successful, trainers need to be properly equipped with the right knowledge and skills. When you properly and frequently train the trainer, you’re making sure that the rest of the organization is well trained too.

Ensuring transit trainers have the full scope of skills they need—beyond their technical talents—is critical to building a truly effective training department in the transit industry. Effective training is directly responsible for ensuring all personnel are properly prepared to keep transit agencies running safely and efficiently.

We know from experience and research that training programs can help employees become successful. However, 74% of employees feel that they are not reaching their full potential. Training your trainer can address this problem. For example, your trainer should be able to design a training program that meets the needs of adult learners. Since trainees learn in different ways, trainers also need to know how to tailor their curriculum according to skill levels and learning styles, as well as adjust their instruction style. Ultimately, training your trainer will result in the design of relevant programs that best meet the needs of employees and support the short-and long-term goals of your organization.

Train-the-Trainer professional development programs provide a forum for trainers in the transit industry to learn fundamentals in training development and delivery. In these programs, contextualized, job-embedded workshops are customized to meet the needs of each transit organization, meet training staff where they are and provide practical results-driven strategies to make training truly effective. The workshops provide a safe place for trainers to step out of their comfort zone and learn new skills that will improve their ability to effectively design and deliver technical training content. While all content is customizable and topics are developed to build knowledge sequentially, organizations have the ability to choose from a variety of module topics that can specifically target the unique training of their staff. Commonly requested training modules and topics include:

Topics blog
Adult Learning, Active Learning, Learning Styles, Motivation, Delivery and Facilitation, Strategies and Methods, Objective Writing, Lesson Planning, Understanding Assessments, Technical Instructional Flows, E-Learning, PPT for Trainers, Evaluation

Why this matters

The transportation industry is losing a large number of workers due to retirement. Not only does this bring a significant influx of new hires and trainees, but the importance of knowledge retention comes to light as a growing concern for organizations. Read more on knowledge management in this blog.

For optimal training results, timelines need to be accelerated and trainers need to know how to optimize every learning experience. Courses like EDSI’s Train-the-Trainer build trainers’ knowledge of:

  • How adults learn best and factors that influence adult learning
  • Different modalities in which people learn and how to design learning experiences that are multimodal
  • How to create and sustain trainee engagement and motivation
  • How to design activities that build participant knowledge and assess skill development
  • Ways to present information powerfully and memorably
  • Specific instructional strategies and methods that work best within the transportation industry
  • How to write quality objectives that are measurable
  • How to design lesson plans and curriculum outlines
  • Diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments options
  • How to design clear and powerful PowerPoint presentations
  • Instructional flows that are proven to produce optimal training environments in transit
  • Evaluating training experiences for effectiveness

When this foundational knowledge is coupled with a high level of technical knowledge and skill, there is a rapid improvement in the quality of the training experiences. There is also less turnover, more enjoyment, and improved learning outcomes. It also results in less frustration by both the trainer and the trainee. When entire training departments participate in training, there is a creation of a common language and adoption of standard practices that occurs. Training becomes streamlined, expectations are clearly laid out and learning is more likely to be applied in the field.

*Source: Guitterez, Karla, Shift Disruptive e-Learning; 10 Statistics on Corporate Training and What They Mean for Your Company’s Future; January 28, 2018

Over the past year, New Jersey (NJ) Transit has participated in several customized Train-the-Trainer programs. EDSI collaborated with both NJ Transit’s Rail and Bus Departments to offer customized professional development to their internal training department staff. These case studies are also available on our blog: The Rail Case Study can be found here and the Bus Operations Case Study can be found here.

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