The challenge, as an EDRMS trainer or recordkeeper, to know the details of the work each business unit does and how they do it is practically impossible to meet. The challenge lies not only in gaining and retaining the knowledge but in the time required. But if you don’t know the details how will you be able to train your students or help them at their desk? After all, how do you answer student’s questions if you don’t understand their work?
Not only does it take a very long time to understand each business unit, some are almost impossible to comprehend! After all, as an EDRMS trainer you’ve most likely got a background in the processes of recordkeeping, not accounts, law, HR or engineering to name just a few of the common business units you could be training. It’s not uncommon for an organisation to have 20 departments, with multiple sections or units in each.
You would be forgiven if your head was spinning at the thought of taking on EDRMS training for a major rollout across departments.
However, you can take some pressure off yourself, and streamline your training development by abandoning the MYTH that you need to be an expert in business operations. Become an expert in facilitation instead. Not only will you be able to ‘expertly’ handle any question that arises in the classroom (or at the desk), the people you train will learn far more than if you actually knew all about their business.
Applying the technique
Facilitate (verb): Enable, Simplify, Smooth, Help, Expedite
- To make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.)
- To assist the progress of (a person).
As a facilitator you teach people to think logically through their use of EDRMS software. You provide the recordkeeping framework, policies and procedures they need to work within. You teach the features and functions of the software and the decision making process to determine what and when to apply these. You need to be an expert in these elements.
Your students provide the expert knowledge of their own business area.
However as the facilitator you need to assist the students to impart their expertise at the right points during the training. It won’t happen without good guidance and direction from the trainer.
How does this happen? Let’s assume our trainer is working with a government department. The trainer has good general knowledge of the organisation, the structure and the services it delivers. A typical training facilitation conversation might be:
“Now that we’ve learnt about the BCS let’s apply it. Steve, name a document you create a lot of that you’ll be putting in the recordkeeping system.”
Steve the student nominates, “I work with a lot of contracts.”
We need Steve to provide more depth of thinking and detail. “To use the BCS we need a bit more information Steve. What’s the purpose of those contracts?”
“They establish the funding structure between us and the companies that deliver our services.”
“Good. Then let’s look at the BCS and read the scope notes. Which one will cover those types of contracts?”
The trainer now has enough information to judge whether Steve selects the correct BCS and to question Steve further on these records if necessary. Our trainer could have researched Steve’s prime responsibilities beforehand and spoon fed Steve which BCS terms he should be using. However by using the facilitative technique Steve has had to think for himself. Not only does he learn to reflect on the purpose of the documents, in a continuation of this conversation he would then discuss and rationalise the BCS choice he has made.
When he completes the training he’ll not only have the skill to apply the BCS, he’ll be capable of logically applying it to other records he will need to keep. Steve has both the skills and knowledge he’ll need every day at his desk, and the trainer is equipped to help any student.
In general, facilitative conversations are designed to help someone reflect as powerfully as possible on what they do, what they have learned and how they may apply what they have learned to what they do. It also causes them to reflect on any assumptions they have made.
Typical facilitative questions include but are not limited to:
- Tell me (some more) about …?
- Could you give me an example of that?
- And then what happens?
- How does that change things?
- So, what does that mean for your department?
- I’m not clear what you mean by that. Could you run over it again?
- Could you flesh that out for me?
- What can you infer from that?
Facilitative conversations can be used to handle unexpected questions too. Let’s say you’ve just taught the class how to use Revisions or Drafts of records and the question arises, “When would that be useful to me?”
The trainer responds with, “What types of documents do you currently create?” having no knowledge of the student’s role.
“I create the travel itinerariesitineries for our section staff.”
The trainer, with background knowledge of standard business practice would ask, “Are these then printed and signed for approval by the manager?”
“Yes,” the student replies. “Well then, you’ll be able to scan that signed document back into the system as a draft of the original. That way you’ll have a single record, and its full history will be enclosed within the one record number. It saves having to find two records if there are ever any queries.”
There are times when you will not be able to, or it will not be appropriate to, give direct advice on how the recordkeeping system will be integrated into work practice. Use facilitation to enable students to work through their decision making process.
A typical situation would be when a student asks how to use an electronic workflow with their currently physical business process. Ask questions about the current step by step process and the required outcomes. Use a whiteboard to illustrate the steps and confirm with the business expert how these will map to an EDRMS process. As a trainer, being able to think logically and practically is the key. The capacity to think quickly will help in the classroom too!
Trainers who develop their facilitation skills become outstanding trainers. They manage diversity in the classroom and fully engage learners with the value of the recordkeeping system. Just as importantly training is much more fun if you don’t place yourself under the stress of knowing everything.
© 2012 Change Factory and Linked Training