What Is The Most Effective Way To Teach?

Mar 17, 2014

The other day, I was talking to the senior financial executive of one of my clients regarding what sort of training program they should be providing their new executives in training. I originally thought we were going to discuss job costing but the conversation developed much further. Costing issues in this manufacturing company were an important concern, particularly since some of the trainees had limited accounting training and perhaps no training whatsoever in job costing.

trainingThe real issue at hand was what sort of a basic background should these executives in training be provided related to a whole series of topics, many of which they had never seen in practice before. At the conclusion of the conversation, I agreed to put my thoughts in writing to this executive so that it can be used as part of the training process for overall development in their firm.

There are numerous topics that could be covered in a financial training program for non-financially trained executives. However, I do believe that there are several basic truths about how to train anyone in a subject that is new to them. I certainly believe that training should be offered in small manageable sessions rather than long extended training sessions without any real application. For instance, I believe it would be difficult to train somebody in cost accounting concepts for 40 or 80 hours then ask them to begin using those concepts in practical applications without more hands-on training as part of the academic learning process. Especially if they’ve never seen the subject.

The entire training process should take place over several months and include short training sessions, maybe two to four hours. The sessions on a specific technical subject should be followed by actual work experience. This allows concepts to be put into practice and followed by a debriefing session, which gives each of the participants a chance to talk about what they learned and what the training was able to provide. This debriefing session should not only allow the participants to recognize what they missed in the training, but also allow those doing the training to receive feedback on how future training could be modified. The next step should be to build upon additional training so that the participants can see the building block components of each of the steps and deal with those on the practical applications they are seeing in their actual day-to-day work experiences.

My personal experience has shown me that any time you can link segments of practical experience with classroom training there is a direct increase in training effectiveness. In addition,participants are much more proficient with that kind of experience rather than long periods of classroom training followed by long periods of work experience without the opportunity to compare results in one with the results in the other.

One of the key features that I intend to include on my notes related to this entire process is that whatever the financial training is provided, every step must to be linked to the operations so that changes in operations can be demonstrated by changes in financial results in a way that is obvious to the participants.

Categories: Cost Accounting