A Tale of Two Trainings

Executive Training attendees working on an activity“Most people probably know Executive Training and Team Quest for the Team Quest side because the team building programs and ropes course sound like a lot of fun,” said Carrie Reilly, the director of Executive Training and Team Quest. “But really, the biggest majority of our business is the training and development side.”

Executive Training and Team Quest (ETTQ) offers two certificate programs, New Trainer and Experienced Trainer, to help trainers hone their skills and develop their techniques. Leaders from all industries, including oil and gas, education, early childhood development and heath care, have participated in or are preparing to participate in ETTQ’s recent New Trainer Program. Enrollment was particularly high for this session, and an additional class was opened in order to accommodate the growing interest.

The Beginning

In the late 1980s, a local chapter of the American Society for Training and Development—now the Association for Talent Development—was founded to help trainers in the Oklahoma City area maintain their skills. The Central Oklahoma Chapter quickly sought to implement a certificate program to reward participants for their time and effort. However, because it was a volunteer organization, it was often difficult to keep track of people in the program. The Central Local Chapter soon brought their concept to the University of Oklahoma and the certificate program was developed, and later incorporated into the College of Continuing Education. Training started as a weekend program over a four-month period and quickly evolved into a comprehensive four-day training made to maximize efficiency and learning.

New Training

Although the training program curriculum is virtually the same as the one taught by the national ATD, OU’s training program distinguishes itself through curriculum delivery and smaller class sizes.

“Our training is focused on being experiential,” Reilly said. “Experiential learning, or learning by doing and reflecting on the process, really involves the learners and helps them to understand the exercise and the core lessons in a completely different way. Smaller class sizes give participants a chance to actually get to know those in the program and to actively engage with the curriculum.”

Each of the four days at New Trainer workshops focuses on a different aspect of training. Day One highlights how adults learn and how to effectively tailor training to accommodate different learning styles. Day Two focuses on designing curriculum to ensure one’s training conveys a message and teach a lesson. Day Three covers the logistics of how to design engaging training tools and the appropriate times and uses for various tools, like PowerPoint. Finally, Day Four deals with managing the learning environment inside of a classroom, from handling disruptive participants to keeping people interested in the subject matter. Although the majority of participants in the trainings are from Oklahoma, in April the New Trainer class will be in part comprised of twelve people from different and one from Ghana.

Experienced Training

The Experienced Trainer program focuses on developing consulting skills and the business of training. Throughout the four days, participants acquire the business skills they need to consult with their own company or manage their own training business. They explore facilitating organizational change and applying business tools to training.

“The facilitators for the Experienced Trainer program have all gone through the program themselves. Many were even a part of the team that created the curriculum,” said Reilly. Just as in New Trainer program, special emphasis is placed on experiential learning and forming genuine connections with the other participants. “I’d rather do a few things excellently than do a bunch of things well,” said Reilly. “I think with these programs, these trainings, we are doing just that.” 

To find out more about Executive Training and Team Quest, visithttp://www.ouropes.ou.edu/index.htmlonline.

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Kendall Burchard

Kendall Burchard contributed to college marketing efforts while working as a student writer.