By Paula Clifford -
When I left my position at Penn to pursue ACTS full time, it was bitter sweet. I was leaving a job that I loved and coworkers that I enjoyed working with for the opportunity to eliminate my 3 hour per day commute and focus all my efforts on training, as opposed to training plus all the other things that come with working at an institution. My first thoughts were, “What can I do to help programs provide more consistent training,” and “What could I have used as a trainer but didn’t have time to develop?” Many programs have more than one person training new hires which can lead to slight inconsistencies that magnify overtime. In addition, even those programs that have dedicated trainers, there is so much training to do, development of new tools and programs often get put lower on the priority list. These facts led to the development of the ACTS Job Skills Training Program Modules. Hundreds of hours by people with various experiences and backgrounds in research were dedicated to help develop tools for knowledgeable individuals (trainers, senior technicians, supervisors, etc.) to provide consistent training for husbandry, technical, and even clinical tasks. These modules include everything needed for a program to provide consistent training with the flexibility to tailor the training to specific SOPs and other unique facility or program procedures. There are five parts to each module: A pre-assessment helps the trainer get to know their audience; pre-requisite work, provides a foundation of knowledge for the trainee before they attend the actual training session; a lesson plan, guides the actual training session and ensures consistency between trainers; a post assessment, evaluates new knowledge and skills gained by the trainee; and finally, a performance support acts as a reference for trainees as they apply their new knowledge and skills back on the job. My hope is that whether a trainer is tasked with building a training program from scratch, or attempting to refine a current training program, these tools will give anyone involved in training a head start.