Train Your Trainers to Train
Train your trainers to deliver training that engages, captivates, and stays with employees when the session is over and they’re back on the job. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, or how important the content, if the audience isn’t engaged, they won’t retain most of what is presented.
Bob Pike, a well-known motivational speaker in the training profession, recommends 7 strategies for designing and delivering training that makes the difference between being effective and being a dud.
1. Make your key points at the beginning and end of the session, and reinforce with the middle of the session. Learners remember the first things best, the last things second best; the middle isn’t memorable.
2. Revisit, but don’t review. If you want participants to zone out fast, just say, “Let’s review.” Revisit concepts with fresh material that reinforces. Pike says that material must be revisited 6 times before it is put into long-term memory. Remember that just because you said it doesn’t mean they learned it. Reinforce what you said with questions for participants, role-playing, and other interactions.
3. Use openers and closers. Start the training session with an opener (relevant to the subject matter) or an icebreaker (not always relevant to subject matter) that will help put participants at ease with the trainer and with each other. Don’t end the session with, “Well, that’s it; thanks for attending,” or “Oops, we’ve run out of time! Don’t forget to sign the attendance sheet!” Give participants a sense of accomplishment at the end to reinforce that they’ve learned something.
4. Present material in chunks. Don’t bunch several concepts together in one long presentation. For example, if you’re doing safety training, present the hazards as a “chunk” of information, then ask participants some questions about the material, or take a break. Then present the next “chunk,” such as safety procedures. Make sure there are defined breaks in the presentation that separate each chunk of information.
5. Do something outstanding: comical, noteworthy, out of the ordinary. It breaks up monotony and refreshes the mind.
6. Test participants. Pike says that less than 15 percent of trainers test whether participants learned anything. This doesn’t necessarily mean a written quiz or exam. Give a scenario or describe a problem, and let participants solve it using the information they learned.
7. Record and recall. Learners usually remember better what they say or write down than what they hear passively. Incorporate opportunities for participants to speak during training and provide exercises that require some writing, check-off, or drawing.
The best time to evaluate and improve your training program is when there is no other pressing demand on your time. If that time is available now, think about these essential tidbits and incorporate as many as possible into your program. Don’t worry if you don’t get them all- you’re looking for progress, not perfection!
- Participant Centered Training and Personal Knowledge Management (melaniemarttila.ca)