Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is Your Preferred Instructional Style?

I am enrolled in The Training Professional class this term and we recently took an instructional styles diagnosis inventory (ISDI) then graphed our preferred instructional style to see where each of us were with respect to one another. The ISDI determines your training style as the interactive product of two dimensions: what the trainer’s attention is focused on and who is the focus of attention while the trainer is instructing. The four styles are (a) The Seller (b) The Professor (c) The Entertainer and (d) The Coach.

The ISDI revealed that I am most strongly aligned as The Coach. The focus of most coaching activities is on skill development, confidence building, and application rather than on retention of information. Learners are evaluated, but mostly through observation of performance or behavioral change rather than through written tests. Most instruction is aimed at upgrading everyone’s skills to a minimum or improved level rather than on determining who is most proficient.

There is less concern for a polished delivery because coach instructors spend much less time delivering. Also, because of the informal atmosphere created, there is less pressure on the instructor to perform, motivate, or entertain. Use of a high ratio of self-discovery and group-learning activities allows the learners to motivate and entertain themselves. The responsibility to perform is, in effect, shifted from the instructor to the learner.

While the coach style is primarily preferred by Generation X (born 1965 – 1978) and Generation Y (born 1979 – 1984) I am seeing that Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964) are also adapting to this style probably by allowing themselves to be influenced some through the Gen X and Gen Y groups either by association with children of their own or through interaction in the work place and other areas that allow for group building activities.

Thanks for reading,

Kevin Love, MBA e-Business
Training and Organization Development Consultant
VP of Marketing for ASTD Fort Worth / Mid-Cities Chapter
Dallas / Fort Worth Area