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Reflections and Realisations on the Road

Monday, October 31, 2016

Reflections and Realizations on the Road

Phew! I just conducted six weeks of training delivery and one week of supporting a Tier 2 Workshop – that is a total of seven weeks within a span of nine weeks.  To put it simply, it’s a back to back training delivery with one-week preparation for another back-to-back training delivery, three times.  Confused?? Well, I am just as you!        

Conducting many training courses, although some the same, does take time in preparation. Locations and audiences are different, which mean layers of complexities build and training courses adapt to this. As I reflect deeply on this matter, a number of realisations come into my mind.    


Realisation 1: Different Regulatory Policies

Well it is obvious that different countries have different regulatory frameworks.  The main challenge is to ensure that while the course content to be delivered in different locations is the same, the Trainer should draw examples and experiences that suit the relevant regulatory context. Having prior knowledge of the country’s background and framework can assist the Trainer in engaging the participants in meaningful discussions, ensuring relevance to the course content.

Even if a Trainer has delivered the same course multiple times, he or she is not complacent and requires due diligence to contextualised the course content having the local regulatory framework in view for the benefit of the participants.


Realisation 2: Size matters

Class size does matter.  In the recent Viet Nam course, we had six participants; while in Thailand we had about five times as many.  The participants from Viet Nam came from one oil and gas organisation while the participants from Thailand came from different major oil and gas organisations and regulatory agencies.  The discussions in Viet Nam are more focussed on the issues and challenges they face as an organisation, while the discussions in Thailand are more diverse.  There are also discussions on challenges that are collective in nature in Thailand.  I find both situations appealing and the flexibility of the Trainer is required to recognise and adapt to such situations.

Another realisation is the level of engagement the trainer must sustain as the class size increases.  What I observed was that as the class size increases more is needed to maintain and sustain the level of engagement of the participants.  We are not talking about step increase in effort but rather leaps and bounds to ensure success on sustaining the engagement. Each participant has different interests, learning inclinations and issues, thus the more participants, the more required engagement. 


Realisation 3: Culture and Customs

Sometime ago, I was told that it is a common practice in Viet Nam to take an afternoon rest.  Taking an afternoon rest is not new to me, coming from the Philippines, which was a former colony of Spain where the siesta is the norm.  But to my surprise, the training facility has Rejuvenation Rooms, purely for afternoon rests.   

I love being in Bangkok, what is not to love? The food is great and the people are very polite.  Thais are very courteous.  Such politeness and courteousness did not entirely match the level of intensity needed for our mock press conference.  Even though it was not as chaotic as I intended to be, the participants took a lot of learning points from that activity.


As did I. The delivery of these six training courses has taught me a lot. I can continue to take these learning’s into future training courses to enhance and improve training delivery. 

Author Bio(s)

Norman Ramos

Principal Trainer and Consultant

Norman has more than 19 years combined experience in crisis and incident management, oil spill response and preparedness, including training. He has delivered and participated in incident management system (IMS) and crisis management training and exercises, respectively, within Asia-Pacific. He holds Expert Certification in Crisis Management.

Holding a Masters in Environmental Management from the National University of Singapore (NUS), his interests lie in the intersection of oiled wildlife preparedness and response and implementation of IMS in oil spill incidents. Furthermore, he is interested in developing and implementing large-scale exercises on incident and crisis management.