Training requires a significant investment in time, lost short-term productivity, and money. To get the best return on this investment everyone involved must assume certain roles. The result is an employee with new skills, new ideas, and greater long-term productivity.

The Employee's Role

In order to get the best results from Visual Basic training, the employee must do more than just show up and listen to the instructor. Active participation makes the course more fun and leads to greater retention of skills learned.

Before the course, the employee should think of ways that training will apply to future job duties. Making the coursework directly relevant will also make it more interesting. Asking specific questions helps not only the student but the instructor as well. It is always helpful to have real work examples to make the coursework come alive.

Learning doesn't stop when the course is over. The employee should actively seek out ways to use the new skills in order to keep them fresh.

The Supervisor's Role

The supervisor should work with the employee to set relevant training goals. Ensure that the employee understands what these goals are. Don't assume they are obvious. Discuss what tasks will be enhanced by Visual Basic training.

During training, protect the employee from job-related interruptions. It is harder to focus on the course when a person has to answer a dozen phone messages at each break. A couple days of downtime will pay off in better skill retention.

Understand that the employee won't come back as an instant expert. It will take time and practice to get up to speed. Allow the employee opportunities to practice the new skills, even if they are not directly relevant to the job. Plan future duties around the employee's new training to reinforce the skills.

The Training Coordinator's Role

Not all companies have a central training coordinator, although most of them should. Even a small company can benefit from having a central repository of training information and organization.

Coordinators keep abreast of the latest training opportunities and methods. They work with supervisors and employee to create curricula that are pertinent to the company's mission and the employee's job. They debrief employees on how effective the Visual Basic training was to ensure that the training options they choose are the best they can find.

Coordinators facilitate training problems. They can intervene with a supervisor who is reluctant to allot budget to training or an employee who is resistant to taking a course. They keep people focused on training objectives and help them to fill their roles.

When a company has all three roles working together, training yields a substantial payoff. Employees are excited about the new learning opportunities, supervisors are pleased at the increase productivity and enhanced skill set, and the company as a whole becomes a more pleasant place to work and more competitive in the marketplace.