The Training Page of Volunteer Today has practical trainer techniques and activities to make orientation sessions more productive and valuable. There are also ideas to help enhance the professional volunteer manager's training level.
~ October 2006 ~ Topics
Did the learner get it? Was there understanding? Can the learners do it? Did the learning "take?" These are questions asked by trainers that relate to "learning transfer." Learning transfer means the student has absorbed the information to the point of mastery.
How does the trainer insure mastery? By designing a learning environment with elements to lead to transfer of information from the trainer-teacher to the student-learner. Here are some techniques to aid in transfer.
Fuzz Rates and Change
The environment of a volunteer program is undergoing substantial shifts. Fewer traditional volunteers, short-term service, corporate volunteers working on project, advocacy volunteers, and the "drop-in." The role of the manager of volunteers, as well as the role for volunteers is undergoing a change -- a paradigm shift.
When social institutions, like volunteering change, it requires participants in the institution to change or fade-away. Managing some of the things happening in volunteering is a daunting task for managers who deal with it on a daily basis. What about the volunteer who has been involved with the organization for 10 years and is noting these shifts? Is she prepared to make the changes needed? Is he going to be enthusiastic about the years ahead for the organization and its mission?
Dealing with change is challenging. The best place to start with managing change is by knowing our own tolerance for change. It can be new policies, a physical move, new computer programs, expanded client services, or any of a million things. To know whether a person is likely to encounter some anxiety and resistance to coming change (It will come, you know!) it might be good to assess their tolerance for shifts in paradigm. Here is a simple tool to allow for personal assessment. After taking the assessment volunteers and/or staff, the manager of volunteers can develop in-service and training programs to help reduce the anxiety level for people who are dealing with a "shifting" world.
Want more ideas for training? Check out our online bookstore for Handling Problem Volunteers by Steve McCurley and Sue Vineyard.
COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON NONPROFIT AND VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT
Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at http://tltc.shu.edu/npo/. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.
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