TRAINING or LEARNING? - Arise of the Checklist Trainer (CLT)

Author // Zerry Lanar, M. Ed Learning & Technology Categories // Learning, Simulation, Music, educational-technology

What type of training professional are you? ARISE OF THE CLT'S

  Due to the dynamic environment of most professional organizations including transit properties, it is challenging to maintain consistent and effective transfer of learning and knowledge.

Safety –sensitive or otherwise vital employees are not receiving critical defensive driver skills which has compromised mandatory safety and compliance requirements. Furthermore, unsafe incidents and conflicts have increased due to deficient skills in interpersonal relations and conflict resolution. Maintaining a consistent schedule for classroom, live, and virtual, constructive simulation instruction is effective in reducing or eliminating the number of preventable accidents and incidents . Ft Rucker is a military flight training base for Army aviators. “We don’t train helicopter pilots here,” said Godfrey. “We teach candidates to become expert combat leaders. The helicopters are just the tools to accomplish the mission”  Military Simulation and Training Magazine. (2017). With the addition of augmented reality combined with traditional learning strategy, a wealth of possibilities are on the horizon.

Now this should sound sweet to any organization’s ears. Or is it? There is a training method your agency should never use.

Let's introduce the CLT:  "Check List Trainer. For compliance, it is common to conduct training whilst neglecting learning. It is somewhat of a misnomer when approaching effective learning. A cattle approach in a sense of  "shuffle em in, shuffle em out, check off the list", send them to work. Let's preemptively book labor relations time for the grievance and arbitration hearings. Measurement of understanding, learning transfer, or the terrifying thought of class feedback, is often an afterthought. "Feedback is for people with too much time on their hands" is quite a common in the training & development atmosphere.

So, what does CLT accomplish except compliance? As a professional, you owe it to any person, group, or organization to give the best you. What is that best you? The best You in any profession is the professional with so much genuine concern for a person's success, that the participant has an actual "learning experience". The professional that is prepared and equipped with knowledge, strategy, and a private passion for learning. That is what separates a professional from the average. Are you a "Checklist Trainer (CLT)"? A CLT is an individual that has different priorities other than facilitating learning transfer. You know him or her. It is a person that on-boards into a department with the intentions of using the title "training and development, manager, supervisor, or directors title for career goal purpose only. A good comparison would be a very articulate politician with lofty ambitions and career goals. Career goals within itself are great to have and pursue. A great speaker Simon Sinek gave this analogy.

"In the military gives rewards and medals to those who sacrifice themselves so that others may gain. In corporate world give bonuses to those who sacrifice others so that we may gain".

Let us break it down. Checklist Trainers develop Checklist Employees (CLE). The symptoms of low morale, degraded performance, and high turnover are a result of CLT's.

(CLT's) eventually become:

(CLM), Checklist Managers,

(CLS) Checklist Supervisors,

(CLD) (Checklist Directors), and eventually with a few good talking points, a CLCEO (Checklist Chief Executive Officers).

What are the characteristics of a CLTD (Checklist Training Department)? Here is a 7-step approach to developing your own CLTD staffed with CLT’s.

  1. Allow HR to select personnel based on quotas versus qualifications.
  2. Change your training plan based on CLT’s feelings for the day.
  3. Staff the department with CLROD (Check List Retired on Duty) staff.
  4. Neglect accountability and professional development for your staff.
  5. Measurement and feedback should not occur at any point during your learning program. In fact, just don't worry about feedback, they should just be happy to have a job.
  6. Tell your students about core concepts (Telling Ain't Training) versus instructing and allowing learners to perform it. (Akin to reading a PowerPoint on bomb defusal versus performing it. (e.g virtual,  augmented reality, CBT)
  7. Lastly, hire leaders without training and development background or operational backgrounds.

If you follow this 7-step approach, you too can build a CLTD. The result? Bad organizational performance, poor communication, high turnover, poor fiscal management, low morale, and eventually catastrophic consequences such as fatalities.

The solution? It is a simple lesson we learned as children. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Would you want a CLBS (Checklist Brain Surgeon)? Ahhhhhh, performed enough surgery on you to meet his/her time requirements. How about a CLP (Checklist Pilot)? Well, never quite mastered that landing concept. Plus pre-trips (appropriate checklist concept) and landing is so overrated nowadays anyways! Of course not! Why would you instruct and operate in the same manner? The practice of using a checklist or a job aid if you will, is not a bad concept within itself. The trouble manifests when “Checklist Training” becomes your training strategy and plan.

Give the best you. Don’t  avoid the hard or inconvenient tasks.

My mantra: T P P


        Time |    Pressure  |  Precision

This concept can launch a rocket or produce peak performing partnerships. A partnership is formed when a participate knows that you care. A CLT can be the difference between death and life in some cases.


The Training Evolution - Army Aviators - Military Simulation and Training Magazine. (2017, April 13). Retrieved from

About the Author

Zerry Lanar, M. Ed Learning & Technology

Zerry Lanar, M. Ed Learning & Technology


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