All the planning has been done. All the preparation is taken care of. You know your training needs, you’ve set goals, management is behind you, you promoted your training schedules, and prepared materials, space, and people. Here are some specific tips and techniques to help you run more effective training sessions that accomplish your goals in enjoyable and engaging ways for everyone involved.
Here are 12 proven techniques to conduct successful training sessions:
- Tell trainees what you're going to cover. Introduce your session with a brief overview of the training subject’s main points.
- Tell them the information. In the main portion of the session, explain key points, go over policies, demonstrate procedures, and relate any other information trainees need to know.
- Tell them what you told them. Conclude with a summary of your opening overview. Use repetition to help trainees grasp and retain information.
- Always explain what trainees are going to see before you show a multimedia portion. This practice creates a better learning environment by guiding trainees to know what to look for and what to remember. Explaining the purpose of the multimedia ensures an effective reception for its information.
- Use as much hands-on training as possible. The most effective training uses all the senses to affect learning. Demonstrate and apply teaching points to create greater understanding and knowledge of the subject.
- Test frequently. Tests are most effective when students know they will be quizzed, because they’ll pay close attention to the material. Testing is an objective way to determine whether training achieved its goals.
- Involve trainees. For example, ask participants to share their experiences with the training topic. Many trainees are experienced personnel who have valuable information to contribute. All trainees will get more out of sessions by hearing about their co-workers’ experiences with the subject—and not just the trainer’s lecture points. Hearing different voices also keeps sessions varied and interesting. Structure interaction time into all your sessions.
- Repeat questions before answering them. This practice ensures that all participants know what the question is so they can make sense of the answer.
- Analyze the session as you go. Always be on the lookout for what works best. When you discover a new technique or method that clicks with the group, note it on your training materials so it can be incorporated into the training outline to be used in future sessions.
- Keep your session on track. Start on time and finish on time. Don't hold up class waiting for late arrivers. Run the class according to the schedule and don't get too far off course. Opening up discussion among participants may lead to some pertinent tangents, but don’t let side issues take over. Ask if there’s enough interest to pursue a separate session on that topic, but get this class back to the lesson plan.
- Put yourself in their shoes—or seats. Give frequent breaks, especially for half-day or all-day sessions.
- Solicit feedback on the training session. Critiques work best when they are written and anonymous, unless a trainee volunteers to discuss his or her thoughts in person. Trainee input is vital for making the next session—and the overall training program—more
These 12 steps are the basic foundation for solid training sessions that run efficiently and that convey the necessary information for meeting training goals. They also incorporate ways to begin improving training on the fly. In other words, you can’t go wrong by following these steps in every training session you run.