Nelly the Elephant or first aid at work.

I’ve recently had some coaching for my career development where I was able to work out what it is that I really want to focus on. This was invaluable as I’ve been somewhat of a jack of all trades in my library career so far. I know this is a good thing in many ways and means I’ve benefited from being able to do more than one type of library role but also means that 10 years into my career, it’s a little overwhelming trying to decide which direction to go in now. I shouldn’t complain about having too many options (I know, I can hear some of you wanting to give me a swift kick and a “I should be so lucky”) but having some coaching or almost a ‘time out’ from regular work and someone to actually sit you down and ask “So what do you like most about your job?” “What don’t you like?” has been fantastic and hugely motivating. This is a VERY simplistic version of what actually happened I hasten to add. Anyway this is where I (we?) realised that my real passion is training. My coach Deborah (Dalley) who, as well as being a coach, is a very skilled trainer, suggested I start a training notebook to write up any observations from when I give training, so I can reflect on what went well, what didn’t work and what could be improved. (you can see where the idea for the blog came from.)

Deborah also said it would be good to reflect on any training I attend and record examples of good training and not so good training. I could then start thinking about why training works, different trainers and their different methods and ways in which I can improve my own training skills.

So around the time of ‘the revelation’ (sorry far too much watching of trashy sci-fi tv.) I went on a first aid course for work. I wanted to blog about it because although first aid is something I would never teach myself, it was a really good day, I learned a lot in a short time and had fun.

Where I work first aid training is run by the university’s occupational health team. (Or occy health. I appear to be alone in never having heard it referred to as this before. It’s made me realise that over the years, there have been a few conversations whose meaning completely passed me by).

The day was a great mix of information delivery, hands on (with mannequins Brad and Angelina – again a clever device), watching videos, group work and discussion.  The different parts of the programme took multiple intelligences into account and so would appeal to all sort of different learning styles (more about this when I blog about my training and learning certificate but you could also look at this Wikipedia explanation: I’ve read it and looks ok but usual Wikipedia caveats apply.)

I will never forget the timing you need to use when giving chest compressions. I learnt how to do this whilst singing ‘Nelly the Elephant’ to Brad. 😉 Apparently this is a standard first aid practice and although there are rumours of a new song – Staying Alive, I’m not convinced that someone isn’t having me on. The ‘videos’ were links from within the PowerPoint presentation to YouTube. This might be quite obvious to some people but is something I’d not thought about before.

Group discussion involved discussing in pairs a photo of an injury and discussing how we would treat it. I liked the way the trainer gave each group a photo and had copied each photo into a PPT slide. This meant that when we were feeding back to the group that everyone could see it.

It also struck me that we weren’t given handouts but given a first aid manual instead. I also didn’t miss the handouts. Something to think about – I’m slightly obsessive about producing handouts. However is this because of the nature of what the training I tend to give? Or is it just habit because in my first professional post we produced handouts for induction and for #infolit sessions and now I always do. Does it help?  I think it depends on what type of training you are giving, and possibly the audience too. However I’m going to try to give this aspect of my training more thought in future and try not to produce handouts simply because it’s part of my training comfort zone. Do I depend on them in case of tech failure? If so are there other ways of having a back up plan? (I used to screenshot every button push of a live demo in case the internet went down) I’ll report back on what happens, and if my feedback forms end up filled with a huge bitter backlash, 😉 I’ll let you know. In fact maybe I’ll just let you know if I actually manage to do some training without them.

The other thing that occurred to me was how much I liked the trainer. I was engaged with her and with what she was trying to teach me. She was nice and quite funny. When I reflected on her actual training style rather than her personality – I realised that it wasn’t just that she was funny. I’m sure you have horror stories of going to training where people have scripted jokes into their presentation (shudder) and know that it doesn’t work. But she was natural and to give examples of what she was trying to impart, she told stories from her own life and work experience as a nurse. She also asked us a group to share our stories of emergencies, near misses and previous first aid experience. Again she linked these back to actual first aid treatment. This meant that in ‘library’ or even ‘service’ speak, she was linking up the ‘knowledge’ with ‘case studies’ and so helping us to reflect on what we were learning.

A good training day.

By the way I have an ACTUAL notebook too. It’s A5 spiral bound and has a sticker on saying “Training Notebook”.  🙂

Deborah Dalley & Associates: (Deborah also does a lot of the NoWAL training)

  1. bethan

    It’s great to see how much you can learn from training courses, beyond what you are ‘supposed’ to be learning. If you’re looking out for them, the opportunities for development go far beyond the course syllabus. It’s a great idea, and one I’ll try!

  2. Lisa

    Hmmm, handouts. I have mixed feelings about giving people bits of paper in training sessions now and, personally, I rarely care whether I’m given one or not. Now, I prefer to have a link to Slideshare and/or Scribd so I can look at things later (and that also leaves the choice of ‘handout or no handout’ to the participant). Then again, if you have someone in your group who is a high reflector, then they probably would like a handout – guess it all comes down to those learning styles.

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