By Elaine Biech

The trainers’ roles, they are a-changing, and many new roles are currently being defined in the training and development (T&D) arena. The following list provides just a sample of the trainer roles and titles that are emerging.

  • Career coach

  • Chief learning officer

  • Competency expert

  • Computer-based training designer

  • Continuous learning coach

  • Corporate trainer

  • Courseware designers

  • Curriculum development specialist

  • Employee development ­specialist

  • Executive coach

  • Facilitator

  • Global T&D facilitator

  • Instructional designer

  • Instructional technologist

  • Instructor

  • Knowledge manager

  • L&D specialist

  • Leadership trainer

  • Manager of strategic initiatives

  • Media designer

  • Multimedia engineer

  • OD consultant

  • Organizational effectiveness ­specialist

  • Performance analyst

  • Performance consultant

  • Performance technologist

  • Talent development professional

  • Technical trainer

  • Virtual facilitator

  • Workforce diversity director

  • Workplace learning and performance professional

Even though the preceding list uses wildly different words and appears to be quite diverse, all of these roles play a part in ensuring that people gain knowledge or skills, or change attitudes. Beginning trainers usually start with interventions that design and deliver knowledge and new skills. This traditional “training” role remains the mainstay of the profession.

The 2014 ATD State of the Industry Report says that almost 70 percent of learning involves a trainer, and this is unchanged from previous years. Fifty-five percent occurs in an instructor-led classroom, nine percent utilizes an online instructor, and five percent is led remotely by an instructor.

The two roles (design and delivery) can be further subdivided into two main categories. All training professionals are involved with designing and/or presenting a learning experience. Whether you design, deliver, or do a bit of both, you have two aspects to master: content and process.

  • Content: Whether you’re designing or presenting, you need to truly understand what others need to know about the topic. Get inside the topic and find out more than what’s offered in your trainer’s manual. Ask more questions of more people if you’re designing. Talk to subject matter experts, often called SMEs in the profession. The content is based on your organization’s needs.

  • Process: Both design and delivery have methods that you incorporate into your training task. Design methods incorporate skills such as designing participant materials, incorporating adult learning principles, and selecting methods for the perfect blended learning program. Delivery methods incorporate skills such as facilitating group process, presentation skills, and managing disruptive participants. This is true for both face-to-face and online learning.