Lecture on training methodology by Mr. Sethumadhavan

Mr. Sethumadhavan, a retired officer from Electricity Board and formerly a member of faculty in Anna Institute of Management,  delivered a lecture on 25.09.2002 on the methodology of training to a group of officers of Fire and Rescue Services, Chennai. Points made by him are given hereunder for use by the members of the service.     

                                                 Systematic Training

Essentials of good training: 

  • Present the material in an interesting and interactive manner.

  • Tune your creativity and response to the dynamics of the of the training design.

  • Remember to relate the material presented to the experience and needs of the participants.

  • Keep on-track i.e. be aware of the time constraint.

  • Keep it in mind that the participants are your colleagues.  Do not 'talk down' to them.

  • Attend to the small things in advance e.g. whether the overhead projector is working, so that you do not keep tinkering it in between by interrupting the training.

  • Spend some time building up a rapport with the audience before launching into  a full-fledged treatment of the subject. Spend the first ten minutes: setting the trend

  • Use group exercises to make the lecture more interactive. Use small groups for this purpose.

  • Audio-visual aids wherever possible.

  • Steps to effective Organizational Training: 

    1. Training needs should be identified: Create right climate for training by discussing the needs and benefits with the subordinates.

    2. The scheduled work of the trainee should be allotted to someone else, so that training does not add to his work-load.

    3. The trainee should not be  disturbed during the training because of  “urgent task”.

    Planning and Organizing the Programme:

    1. Location of the training centre:  is it too distant? Is the hall very hot? Is the sound system dysfunctional and speaker inaudible?

    2. The facilities available: e.g. audio-visual aids.

    3. Duration: Is it too long? Or too short?

    Designing the module 

    1. Most crucial aspect

    2. Discussion with both internal and external faculty.

    3. Not necessary the “best” speaker but the “right” person (wrt external faculty) e.g. a very senior officer as a speaker may be the best, but the audience may hesitate to ask questions. Similarly, the Head of Dept in a university may be academically very competent but his level may be above the head of others. Similarly, at times a person at the lower level level may be more directly in touch with the subject we are interested in.

    Feed Back on Faculty:

    1. Should have a well-designed feed-back system to evaluate the course-content and faculty

    2. Feedback, both appreciative and critical, should be communicated to both internal and external faculty to enable them to fine tune. The organisers should develop a non-offensive style for communicating negative feedback.

    3. Make the feed-back unbiased. No extraneous factors to decide the feedback. Also, the feeback should not setup an unhealthy competition among speakers.

    Feedback from the external faculty: 

    1. Get feedback on  

    a) parcipation level of the trainees  

    b) Tranining intrastructure available 

    c) training support received from the company.

    The data collected from the external faculty should be compiled over a period of time as a guide to the organisers.


    Training plan and budget:

    1.  Identifying training needs.

    2. Not on topical issues and latest fads.

    3. Training plan on annual basis: not sporadic and adhoc planning.

    4. Training function as a profit centre: lending your training facilities and expertise to earn          money .

    5. User department pays.

    6. Considered as spenders only

    7. Expenditure measurable, but benefits not tangible.

    Development of inhouse faculty: 

    External agency may be first utilised to train our own faculty and then it can be a combination of the external and internal faculty.

    Nominations to external seminars and training programmes:

      Most recent ideas. Sharing the ideas.

    Quality training focus: 

    Quality vs quantity. Total quality management: e.g. may give a paper with printed material on one side while the trainees can take note on the other side. Even the type of chair may make a difference: may be incovenient to sit in a particular type of chair. Consider training as an investment, not as expenditure.


    Systematic training:


    An inevitable pre-requisite to changing and growing is to learn.

    Factors to consider for “change” learning:

    the kind of changes being introduced.

    The time needed to learn. Cf some fast learners some slow. Let each learn by his speed.

    Knowledge, skill and attitude for the change.

    Cost and consequences of failing to learn: if we do not learn we will be left behind. We may even have to lose our job.

    Definition of Learning vs Training:

    Learning: Acquire knowledge or skill

    Training: Learning directed towards a specific performance.

    A planned process to modify attitude, knowledge or skill. Also, to cater to the needs of the future.

    Why training:  Without training the performance of the task may not be proper.

    Benefits:  Necessary even for survival, not just for improvement,  in today’s competitive

    Identifying training needs:  Consider questions like production, new technology, turnover etc.

    Implementing the training:  Trainee participation. Make the training relevant. During training the motivation of the trainee should improve. The trainer should have training skills: trainers’ training.