Trainee feedback is a crucial part of any extreme training event. Its mission is to tell the trainee what they did well, what they did wrong and what they could have done better – but in such a way that the trainee feels encouraged and empowered.
How do you do that?
The trainee needs efficient tools for self-improvement. Therefore, the feedback should:
- Be accurate
- Offer the right tools for further skills development
- Highlights the results of the extreme training in a way that the trainee feels competent
At Extreme Simulations, we invest a lot of thought in the way we present our feedback to our extreme events trainees.
What ensures a learning curve for the trainees? The profile of the perfect trainee
Attitude is everything for any trainee during an extreme training session. In order to learn and grow, a trainee must be ACTIVE, INVOLVED, RESPONSIBLE, yet RELAXED and CONFIDENT.
As a trainee, accept that the responsibility to learn lies within you. Have trust in yourself and accept constructive criticism when offered. The entire extreme events training feedback you are receiving is given with good intentions; your mentor wants nothing but the best for you.
As a mentor and/or tutor, embrace that your trainees will learn more or they will learn less from their extreme events training based on how they perceive you. Whereas learning is a common responsibility for both you and your trainees, it lies entirely on yourself to create the right learning conditions and atmosphere for your trainees.
Main challenges of extreme events training feedback
- Creating a lifelike experience of the extreme event that mimics stressful situations without undermining the trainee’s confidence?
- Giving honest and real feedback after each training session without harming the trainee’s self-confidence
- Ensuring that trainees are open to receiving criticism
- Offering a focused feedback that touches all important points, without making it too long or irrelevant
What is the best approach to extreme events training?
At Extreme Simulations we first analyze the situation, the profiles of the trainees and their desired outcomes.
Then, sometimes we organize one simulation that encompasses three elements: stress, surprise, difficulty – mimicking a real-life event as best as possible.
This simulation is followed by a second one that is very similar to the first, thus giving trainees a sense of repetition and a feeling of success.
This way, we create an extreme event that is as lifelike as possible, while ensuring that the trainees are building on their confidence levels.
Whenever you offer feedback on extreme events training, focus on the following:
- Choose your words carefully. Sometimes a wrong choice of words can destroy everything that you worked towards building. Whenever you think about a discouraging statement, present it from an empowering or neutral point of view.
- Focus on the positive things done by the trainees. Note them down and tell the trainees what they did right – it helps tremendously with their self-confidence.
- When offering feedback, focus on the TOP issues. Avoid throwing thousands of lessons at the trainee, as this will only raise their anxiety levels.
- Always treat trainees as professionals, even when they are young and inexperienced.
- Feedback is always better received when there is a two-way conversation and not a one man’s speech. The trainee will learn better when the insight comes from them and not the tutor.
- Your discourse should always be professional, both in language and in non-verbal communication.
- Establish a relaxed, casual connection with the trainees – this is key to a good empowering feedback. If the trainee is scared or afraid of you, they will perform poorly.
Organizing an extreme events training session & encompassing constructive feedback
There are three stages of an extreme events training session that occur before during and after the training.
Tip: If you want to learn more about how we organize our training sessions at Extreme Simulations, read about the Fast and Furious Training.
Stage #1: Preliminary process
Designing the training
With a focus on the desired outcomes, we start preparing the training session. We take into account the things that we want our trainees to learn, which is the main factor that dictates the training scenario, the trainees’ expected response during the training, and the feedback at the end.
While planning, we also decide upon the right difficulty level that suits the trainees’ qualifications, knowledge and experience level.
Setting the training expectations
This preliminary step looks at both the mentor and the trainee. It is meant to set the right expectations from the training session, as well as the boundaries of the game. This is also the right moment to define the learning atmosphere; the motto should be „THIS is the place to go WRONG”.
The trainees are an active part of this stage, and they should move on to the next stage only when they have no open questions regarding the training methodology.
This stage is extremely important for the trainee. They should perceive the training from now on as being fair; they shouldn’t feel later on that someone set a trap for them, or that they were put in impossible situations or situations that have nothing to do with reality.
If this is the first time when the trainees meet their mentors, it is also a good opportunity to establish a relationship.
Stage #2: The Simulation
The simulation is divided into two points of view: the mentor’s and the trainees’.
The mentor’s responsibility is to ensure that they have a good view on everything that is going on during the simulation. As a mentor, you need to see what is happening, how it is happening, where it is happening. Define the situations in which you will intervene in the training and how you will do it if needed.
The trainees are now at a stage where they need to focus on learning without worrying that they might make mistakes.
Stage #3: The Feedback
We’ve identified five stages of efficient extreme events training feedback.
ONE: Learning to discern all the feelings/emotions that you experienced during the training. As a trainee, you will need to assess whether the training met your expectations and whether you felt it helped you achieve your goals.
“I recommend dwelling on this question: did the scenario simulate a real-life event?” says Jonathan Bahat, Extreme Simulations COO. “Sometimes people do not think a training session simulates a real-life extreme event in a realistic way. They still think that <<such a thing>> could never happen to them. So it is important to let them think about this question, digest it, analyze it. It is also an important thing that can help strengthen the trainees’ confidence.”
TWO: Discuss about the significant events that occurred during the simulation and that left a mark in the trainees’ minds. What affected them the most, and why? Look at the events from the point of view of the trainee – the participants at the event – and highlight the way in which they perceived reality at every stage of the simulation. The events that are the highlights of the training should always stem from the goals you set during the preliminary stage.
THREE: Tell the story of what happened, followed by the story of what should have happened. Identify the gaps between the two: what brought you here and why?
FOUR: After you went over all three stages above, now is the tutor’s moment to shine: you will present a summary of the training as you saw it and mention any comments you have.
FIVE: The trainees summarize their learnings. This is an important step of the feedback session because trainees get a chance to review what happened and think about the things they learned. “Even if the mentor offers their feedback on each of the trainees’ performance, it is still not enough,” highlights Jonathan Bahat. “Trainees need to analyze the training themselves; it is an applied act that helps them grow tremendously.”