Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Jersey Train the Trainer

About three weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a four-day Train the Trainer seminar in Eatontown, NJ. Although the program was designed with New Jersey librarians in mind, they were kind enough to open registration up to the surrounding areas. Alicia Hyre from Harford County Public Library was the only other Maryland library employee who attended--and like all of the other Maryland librarians I've met thus far, she's totally awesome and is doing great things for her library! I met several wonderful NJ librarians to whom my heart goes out during their current budget crisis. There were folks from public libraries, academic libraries, the State Library of NJ, special libraries; it was awesome!

The program was pretty intense. The first three days consisted of jam-packed schedules of 9AM-9PM classes with scheduled breaks and meals in between. We covered everything from adult learning principles, how to plan effective trainings, how to use training aids appropriately, ways to incorporate technology into training, group facilitation, and evaluation.

Then we had one week to put what we had learned to the test. We were tasked with writing an instruction plan and training guide for an upcoming course that we will actually be executing at our library system and we had to come back on March 26th to present a select portion of that training to our peers so we could receive feedback and so we could practice with a captive audience. This was an extremely valuable exercise. I was able to write my instruction plan and training guide for the self-defense program I'm presenting to the Washington County branch staff at their meeting on May 10th. I received some useful feedback that allowed me to edit my plan and guide to make the training more participant-friendly!

As I start to get ideas for home-grown continuing education/professional development (whatever you'd like to call them) courses, I will most definitely continue to write up instructional plans and guides for each one. These will come in handy as well if the libraries across the state move forward with the idea to form a staff development coop. The instructional guides and plans will be posted electronically for anyone to download and edit to suit their needs!

A couple of fun NJ facts:
  • The bartender at the hotel I stayed at worked as an extra for the TV show, The Sopranos.
  • You cannot pump your own gas at NJ gas stations. They are full-service only.
  • You cannot make left turns off of most NJ highways; instead, you have to use these things the natives call Jug Handles...they're like sideways horseshoes.

No comments: