Train the Trainer: Becoming a COI, Part 1

Ed Wenck
Jun 26, 2017

Peggy Ward has a saying.

“Knowledge is knowing that tomatoes are a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put ‘em in a fruit salad.”

We’re a little over halfway through the first session of the CEDIA Outreach Instructor (COI) “Train the Trainer” course at the Lutron Experience Center in midtown Manhattan.There’s a spectacular view of the Empire State Building splashed in sunshine this Thursday afternoon.

But everyone’s focused on Ward as she finishes her advice:

 “Your attendees are interested in your wisdom, not your knowledge.”

Ward – who once worked for CEDIA, but now teaches the “TTT” course even though she’s in a different industry (long story short: she’s still a big fan of the association and this initiative) – is ready to crack open one of six modules being covered this day. The one we’re embarking on is “Learner Centered Classroom Delivery” – we’re digging into the way people learn, unpacking concepts such as “Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning.”

It’s all part of understanding how to engage those in complementary industries: architects, builders, interior designers. After successful completion of the Train the Trainer class, the 14 folks in this room will be able to deliver any one of a number of one-hour presentations. Those who take a course from these newly-minted COIs will receive continuing ed credits. And the instructors will gain a room full of new contacts.

Ground Rules and Readiness

At the start of our day, Ward had the attendees write down two facts about themselves and what they hope to gain from the class. Manuel Fernandez tells he’s Argentinian, and he hopes his English is OK.

When it’s James Damm’s turn, he tells us, “I’m from the Bronx. I hope my English is OK.”

“You might be competitors, but this is about networking, and building awareness for our industry.”

Damm – from a firm called Home Technology Experts – has nicely expressed the tone for this particular bunch. They’re a gang of good-humored CEDIA members, and they’re all instantly supportive of one another.

Therein lies an important reason for these quick intros, Ward tells us: “You might be competitors, but this is about networking, and building awareness for our industry.”

After the intros, we dive into the administrative stuff: How to take attendance and broach the subject of instructor review, that sort of thing. Ward’s got strategies for everything: Suppose, for example, you’ve planned to issue certificates to your attendees a few days after they’ve attended a CEDIA course so you can create another touchpoint– but someone wants their paper right away? Answer: Bring along a plain-paper certificate– but tell them you’ll be back with a nicer version on heavier stock with the attendee’s name spelled out in a wonderful font.

Ward establishes the ground rules, too. The courses can’t morph into sales pitches for the instructor’s integration firm. A COI is a CEDIA rep for the hour they’re offering CEUs at a lunch-and-learn.

In the hours that follow, we'll learn more about different learning styles, and that will be followed the next day with "trial runs" at making a presentation.

Find Part Two here.

COI Train the Trainer Course

The “Train the Trainer” Course will be offered In Denver on March 16, 2018.

Register here.



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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