Earlier this spring we introduced Empower the Educator, a new iteration of Train the Trainer. Essentially, we took all of the best components of the popular program and are presenting them in a new way through this personal and professional transformational program.
We thought it would be interesting to hear from someone who has gone through both programs to gain perspective on the similarities and differences, including a comparison between the in-person program and the online experience. We reached out to Megan Nyland, Project Manager – Orientation, Training, & Education with Davey Resource Group. Megan has completed both Chainsaw Train the Trainer in-person, and Empower the Educator in its virtual format.
Training a Trainer
In her role, Megan’s primary focus is to audit Davey’s training materials, identify gaps, update existing training materials, and create new training materials to fill in any of the identified training gaps. She also works with field personnel on better compliance with the completion of training courses.
Megan was first introduced to NATS during a conversation with one of her colleagues, an arborist skills trainer who had previously attended a Chainsaw Train the Trainer program. She had been discussing developing a similar program for the Davey team with him.
“He said he thought this [NATS’] Train the Trainer program was fabulous,” recalled Megan. “It had lots of ideas and a lot of tricks in the tool bag of best practices and approaches to training, so that was my initial interest.
She attended Chainsaw Train the Trainer (in-person) in April 2019 in Newland, North Carolina.
When asked about her Train the Trainer experience, Megan said, “It was fully and completely immersive, a lot of intensive time. We not only did trainer skills and personal reflection skills, but application skills in the field. We were busy all day long, doing a lot of different things.”
Empowering an Educator
Fast forward a year and Megan attended Empower the Educator program virtually in June.
“For my own benefit, I wanted to see how they [NATS] were translating that very interactive, intensive field training into a virtual platform,” she said. “Just like everybody else, we’re [Davey] having to move a lot of things to a virtual platform.
“They [NATS] did such a great job with the onsite training, that I really wanted to see how that had been translated into a virtual setting,” Megan added.
In the virtual setting, Megan explained that there were two trainers for the course, and “they really complimented each other well. Their transitions were very smooth, they had everything planned and figured out who was going to cover what and when.
“It was a really good experience to see how you could change an in-person workshop into a virtual program and still have the interactivity and engagement, and not be boring,” she said.
Megan also said that the trainers encouraged interaction through group discussions and then in “breakout rooms” with smaller groups.
“We would have a breakout with a team member for a specified amount of time to discuss a particular topic, or share,” she recalled. “Then, we’d come back to the main “room” and talk together about what we had learned from each other, what we thought about, what we had come up with.”
She added that the virtual platform was very interactive, and the group had the opportunity to talk with different people throughout the course about different topics.
“Everybody got to work with each other at some point, either in a one-or-one, or a small group of three,” she said. “It was very engaging and the trainers changed it up. We weren’t just sitting there listening the whole time.”
Comparing the Two
When considering the differences between Train the Trainer and Empower the Educator, Megan said that Empower the Educator was a little different in that it didn’t have a skills component attached to it.
“I didn’t feel like I was missing out on something else, because I wasn’t anticipating another kind of skill being part of it,” she explained.
Megan also said that she recognized a lot of similar types of information, materials and resources from Train the Trainer in Empower the Educator.
“Both programs had a lot of self-reflection and application, as well as getting to know and understand yourself,” she recalled. “There were different activities for self-reflection, but there was still that same deep dive into your own self-realization about how you tick.”
Personal and Professional Growth
“That self-reflection is there for you to gain confidence, learn about yourself a little more, and how you can apply that to your life, personally and professionally,” Megan said.
A part of Empower the Educator is that each person in the group gives a presentation, like a trainer, and receives feedback from the rest of the group. The purpose is to apply the training skills learned and receive constructive feedback to apply when out in the field.
“I think the introspection and reflection part of it really helps you build yourself up and be able to be an educator or trainer,” explained Megan, “and that certainly can be applied to personal life as well.”
After completing Empower the Educator, Megan found that she attained ideas to use and help her colleagues at Davey, and also how to convey those ideas effectively.
As far as personally, she said “I really liked the interactivity and camaraderie of the courses. These are people you’ve never met before, and by the end of it you feel you’re great friends. I just thought that was so much fun. You really get to know each other in a short amount of time, and it’s pretty neat.”
Megan also shared her thoughts regarding how NATS had adjusted to the current landscape.
“I have to say, I’ve just been so impressed by everything I’ve seen NATS do,” she said. “I get their newsletter now, and seeing what they’re putting out there and how they’re trying to impact the industry. They’re such great people, and so passionate, and they do such an awesome job of organizing everything, getting the information out there. And then when they present it, they’re just so good.”
When we developed Empower the Educator we had every intention of presenting in in-person groups, but 2020 had different plans for us. To adapt to the times, we have moved to an online platform for the remainder of the year. All course materials are sent ahead of time so that attendees are prepared to attend the program without delay.
Are you interested in attending an upcoming course? Join us (digitally) for our next Empower the Educator: Building Strong Teams Online Training Course on October 26-30 or our 5-week course October 22, 29 and November 5, 12, 19.