Part 1/3 – How we’re coaching our trainers: our learner-centric approach to training design

If you’re a professional trainer, you know how important it is to deliver an excellent training session. Typical challenges with the trainings are that they are built around the trainer (data dumping) and they are not connected to the daily lives of the participants. With our tested training model, it is efficient to build trainings in a way that the learning sticks.

We all know that it’s not just a matter of talking at people—you have to motivate them, help them retain what they learn, and make sure they actually get something out of the experience. You also want to be able to learn from your own teaching experience and get better at what you do.

But where do you start? How do you know if your training sessions are effective? How can you deliver a training with your expertise so that it’s impactful to the participants?

This is where we come in. We’ll help our trainers design meaningful learning interventions — interactive trainings that keep participants engaged and boost competence development of both the trainer themselves and the participants. Our approach is based on learning science, so we’ll work with you to create a joyful learning experience that allows both parties to grow their skillsets together.

Our learning model is based on learning, doing and reflecting with a strong focus on putting skills immediately into practice. Training sessions are safe places to develop and test new skills that can then be used in real-life work contexts.

What is an interactive training session then? What does it mean to be learner-centric?

First of all, we design the training in a way that allows for collective sense-making. This may include teaching others, creating posters or answering questions on a joint document. Second, we keep lecturing to a minimum because people need to practise skills rather than hear information. We incorporate activities to make the day varied. For example, a 15-minute lecture may be followed by a discussion activity or see the participants teach the topic to each another. It’s important that they can discuss the topics together which, in turn, allows the trainer to move about in the room and answer questions and queries as they emerge. This approach has several benefits: we can see what is difficult and what needs further clarification. This also brings the trainer to where they are most needed: among the participants and their needs.

Emotional aspects of learning should not be dismissed, either. Our trainers are instructed to motivate, encourage and give timely feedback so that everyone can feel comfortable practising new skills in the group. In doing so, we can help everyone to participate, not just the active ones.

We learn effectively when we see someone more experienced perform a task. This is why our training sessions help in a concrete way, for example by showing how to create snippets of code or giving tools to having meaningful conversations with business stakeholders. We believe that practising a skill, even with little knowledge can boost development more quickly than merely watching someone else do it. Our trainings encourage self-reflection and curiosity. It’s important to see where we are confident and where we still need practice.

Here are some tips for making an interactive training experience:

  • Keep lecturing at max. 20 minutes
  • Include a variety of tasks such as dialogue, posters, group discussions, teaching others
  • Encourage self-reflection and immediate practice
  • Make everyone participate, not just the active ones
  • Avoid bombing the participants with questions, have them write down questions in pairs and then ask them
  • Create activities that help them meet their learning goals
  • Assess learning outcomes during the training by observing and helping when they struggle
  • Make participants do everything that you normally would for them – have them design activities for each other
  • Create meaningful entities for learning rather than random snippets of information
  • Use visual note-taking tools and templates to help knowledge recall

Our trainings have been well received among our customers. We can share our expertise on the content as well as through the learning experience. Our trainers have reported that they find workshops now more motivating since their participants are engaged and they don’t have to feel the pressure of being “the sage on stage” with a monologue prepared in advance. Our trainer tools offer practical and actionable advice on how to design meaningful interactions and activities.

Would you like to be one of our trainers? Or does your team have training needs in the digital space?

Let us know – we can make learning stick!

Next blog post in this series will discuss the doing -part and the last one is about reflection.

Stay tuned.

Other posts from the series:
Part 2/3 – How we’re coaching our trainers: a human doing, not being
Part 3/3 – Why learning without reflection is like driving without a map?