Ten Techniques To Enhance Training

by Speaking Tips | March 29, 2004

The quality of a training session can frequently be greatly improved if the trainer makes use of a few simple techniques to enhance their presentation. Here are ten techniques to help you turn your next training session into a memorable learning experience for your trainees and one in which the transfer of information is two-way rather than one-way. These techniques can be used in combination or alone as required.

  1. Overview: Use an overview at the beginning of the session to establish focus and paint the big pictire. An overview orients the trainees to the learning context and assists them in grasping the relationship between the organization, the training and themselves. A good overview should answer the questions: Where are we going with this training? How does it relate to my work? Who else is getting trained? What's in it for me?

  2. Objectives: Objectives are the specific skills, knowledge or attitudes to be taught during the training. These need to be identified (and where possible demonstrated) at the beginning of the training. You should be as specific as possible particularly when training is on a complex operation involving multiple skills.

  3. Metaphors: Metaphors and analogies often can be used in conjunction with props. They provide a link between the know and the unknown. In training, there is both factual and conceptual information to impart to the trainees. Metaphors can be used to illuminate both types of information.

  4. Props: Props are a way of thinking metaphorically. They can be toys, gizmos, costumes or tools that are generally recognized. Children's construction toys (Lego, for example) are great because they can quickly demonstrate how parts relate to the whole. As an added bonus, they are light, portable, and familiar.

  5. Stories: People remember stories and anecdotes, particularly if the stories you use come from your own personal experience or are of experiences and situations that everyone present can relate to. Stories are an excellent way to reinforce and explain the Overview and combine easily with several of the other techniques such as metaphors and props lending a coordinated feel to the training.

  6. Handouts: Training requires handouts to help learners reinforce and apply the newly acquired skills and knowledge. Training handouts can take the form of job aids, reference tools, charts, diagrams, manuals, or directories and can be posted on a Web site or on the organization's intranet.

  7. Color: Color has impact on reading, comprehension, learning and promoting ideas. Include it in your training design. For instance, handouts are improved if they are color coded.

  8. Acronyms: Mnemonic devices like acronyms help people remember key points and sequences. Everyone has used them in school and some have even worked themselves into the English language as words. Acronyms should be short like "SMART" objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) and easy to remember.

  9. Tempo: Vary the pace of the training at least every 20 minutes. Intersperse, mix and alternate different training techniques. The kinds of activcites you might use include: (a) passive and interactive activities, (b) individual and group activities, (c) participatory and reflective activities, and (d) leader-directed and learner-directed activities. Humor can be a great way to facilitate a change in tempo.

  10. Enthusiasm: If you are not excited by your material, how can you expect your trainees to become enthused by it? Sometimes trainers lack passion because they try to cover too much at once. Try using the facts, concepts, principles, processes and procedures model. Consider the handout for the facts and procedures, metaphors for the concepts, and then release your passion on the principles and processes which excite you or you would not be the trainer.

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