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Training Intervention Strategies

Training, Education, or Awareness?

While these three terms might seem similar, experts in instruction differentiate between them. 
  • Awareness refers to generating recognition of a topic’s relevance and importance.
  • Education refers to comprehension of facts and principles.
  •  Training refers to a program that enables the learner to practice new skills.
Often, training requires awareness and education as a foundation on which to build. For example, a mental health agency might do all of the following: 
  • Make parents, teachers, and students aware that many young people are suicide risks;
  •  Educate parents, teachers, and students to recognize the signs that a young person may be a suicide risk;
  • Train school counselors to support students at risk of suicide, including appropriate referral, reporting, and assistance for parents. 
Examples of tools for promoting awareness include social marketing campaigns, newsletter articles, posters, and ads. For more information on social marketing techniques related to training and behavioral health look at blogs from SAMHSA’s Facebook page as well as SAMHSA’s new BHTalk that posts links to 17 blogs ranging from trauma-informed practices to resources and support for group leaders.
There are also related posts by National Institute of Mental Healthand the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As social marketing is more thoroughly integrated into awareness within behavioral health arena, more stakeholders are using Facebook and twitter to expand their campaigns into new markets—a couple of examples include SAMSHA’s Facebook page, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s LinkedIn page, or Behavioral Health Journal twitter feed. Examples of education include a college course on the history of psychology, an orientation to 12-step programs, or a description of various approaches to supportive housing. Examples of training include a workshop on how to use motivational interviewing in addiction counseling or how to screen patients in a public health setting for addiction problems. Unlike awareness and education, training is driven by behavioral objectives that state exactly what the trainee should be able to do at the end of the training. Additional resources that may be helpful in defining behavioral objectives include the following:
  • Decide on the Priority Recruitment and Retention Focus (Job Position) Quick Tool - is a section in Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan chapter that helps you summarize your recruitment and retention data and use it to identify the most critical job position to the recruitment and retention challenge. 
  • Define the Problemis a section in Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan chapter that helps you define the problem and make a decision about the focus of your recruitment or retention plan by walking you through a series of assignments.
  • Assignment 2: Identify Needsis a section in Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan chapter that helps you identify organizational needs by constructing a clear needs statement that can help frame the range of potential solutions and increase understanding of the repercussions for unmet or partially met needs.
  • Needs, Issues and Concerns Worksheet – is a section in Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan chapter that helps you re-defined the problem statement so that the most relevant issues to your problem are identified.
  • Assignment 3: Develop Objectives – is a section in Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan chapter that helps you develop specific and measurable objectives to meet identified needs and respond to the root cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
  • Analyzing Tasks and Skills – is a section of Training Intervention Strategies that provides background and information that helps you decide what type of training development approach is needed and whether it is a relatively simple design or if it requires multiple collaborators to design. 
  • Adult Learning Resources – this resource provides links to about 10 books or reports that discuss Adult Learning Theory in detail.
Effective workforce training incorporates elements of both awareness and education but goes beyond them to enable staff to apply skills in a specific job environment. If you send your employees to an educational program that makes them aware of the importance of providing culturally competent services and educated about the ways in which cultural differences might influence the effectiveness of the services they provide, you have provided the foundation for training—but not the training itself. Effective training helps staff actually apply what they have learned on the job—in other words, deliver services in a culturally competent manner. In order to ensure the benefits of training are actually transferred to your agency’s daily practice, you also need to reinforce the training by encouraging, supporting, and rewarding employees for practicing these skills.

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