Sharon Love: Training is an Investment

May 1, 2014
Training should not be viewed as a necessary evil, according to Sharon Love, senior instructional designer and strategist at SOS Intl.

Training should not be viewed as a necessary evil, according to Sharon Love, senior instructional designer and strategist at SOS Intl. Some training is, indeed, regulated and must be completed, but the “majority of training is an investment in human capital, which in turn, is an investment in the organization. While the economy and profits may dictate the training budget, training that delivers and stands the test of time is money well spent,” she said.

Love designs and develops course material for SOS Intl and has worked on the following subjects:

  • Blackout
  • NERC Certification Prep Online
  • Effective Communications
  • Power System Fundamentals
  • The Basics of Power System Operations
  • Distribution and Shift Factors
  • Custom Training:
    •  Safe Driving (online)
    •  Transmission Project Management (ILT)
    •  AutoCAD for Substation Design (online)
    •  Hydro Electric Generation (online)

She has more than 25 years of experience ranging from learning and instructional design, project management, and business analysis. Her experience in developing business and learning strategies, managing innovative design and development teams, and testing and implementing new training programs provides our customers with a key asset in training development. As an example, she managed development of a sales-focused/capital expenditure, instructor-led training program for a prominent oil and gas supplier, including a bid and tender system training, process improvement and project management.

She positions clients to build effective programs more efficiently using state-of-the-art tools, industry standards, and best practices. Love conducts train-the-trainer exercises and follow-up post-delivery for maintenance and remedial training.

“In my past three custom training assignments, our clients have mentioned the difficulty they experience in developing and training employees, especially given the diversity in today’s workforce. As an instructional designer, I am fully aware of learning styles, adult learning theory, and generational differences,” Love said. “I address these challenges while using a variety of delivery methods with budgets and timelines.”

This interest in how people learn is what got Love interested in education in the first place. Years ago, she found herself managing a department with 60 direct reports, a high turnover rate and high error incidents. So she began a comprehensive plan to educate and coach her team with the anticipation of stellar results.

“Initially, my success rate was somewhat erratic. My research uncovered the types of learners; auditory, visual and kinesthetic; but I needed to include an audience analysis,” Love said. “Our ability to learn is also influenced by diversity. The challenge was to address diversity and couple it with learning styles. Thus, began my work on how to transfer knowledge based on audience, content, and delivery method. I have since left management and focused on developing and delivering training to meet the needs of the learner and company objectives.”

Her interest in learning types has spurred her love for research on how brains respond to learning stimuli. “Why is it that one person hears or reads something while others must hear, read, and physically complete an activity to fully comprehend and recall the information at a later date perhaps many months later? Can we train ourselves to learn in any style? What are your generational influences?” Love said. “By the way, research is indicating that we can train our brain to learn based on the environment. Therefore, if we are strong visual learners, we can in fact train our brain to learn through our auditory senses.”

Love also enjoys working with her company because of its depth of knowledge. SOS has some of the most experienced engineers in the industry, according to Love, and they are more than happy to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise, providing her with unlimited access to generation, transmission, distribution, and “our always-favorite, compliance. With access to this treasure-trove of industry knowledge, I can apply my craft to create exciting and engaging training to our clients,” she said.

Love maintains that it is important to understand the value of a professional instructor designer. “Not only do we understand various aspects of knowledge transfer but how to leverage techniques to ensure the learner achieves success and ultimately company goals, she said.

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