How to conduct an effective training session

How to conduct an effective training session

Before a trainer ever walks into a training session, he or she must do several activities to ensure the training session is successful.

Step One: Write training objectives.

Training objectives tell what a trainee should know or be able to do after training. If the trainer is conducting skills training, job analysis tools such as task lists, job breakdowns, and job standards can help a trainer write training objectives. In this situation, the trainer’s goal is to have the trainee do the tasks at the performance level set by the trainer or the organization. If the trainer is conducting knowledge or attitude training, tools such as performance evaluations, policy manuals, and company strategies can be helpful.

Step Two: Develop step-by-step plans.

The trainer must assess the present knowledge and skill levels of the trainee and determine what additional knowledge and skills must be learned. They should prepare a detailed plan about how they will help the trainee learn the knowledge and skills required for each task. This will be a step-by-step plan of what the trainer will do during training.

Step Three: Determine training methods.

The trainer must determine the best way for the trainee to learn the information and skills that will be presented during training. Training methods include seminars, role plays, lectures, demonstrations, simulations, mentoring, videos, case studies, and many, many more. Critical issues that a trainer needs to consider when selecting methods and materials is the content base (what do the trainees already know), the motivation level of the trainees, how willing the trainees are to take responsibility for their training, and the types of learning styles the trainees have.

Step Four: Prepare a training schedule.

Decide how long each training session will take. Schedule training during times of low business volume. The time slot in which training is scheduled can affect the effectiveness of the session. Employees retain more of what they’re taught when training sessions are short perhaps for one or two hours per day for a few weeks and focus on only a few job skills or knowledge competencies. If a trainer needs to cover several job tasks or knowledge concepts in a session, he or she may want to spread the training over several days. It is also important to schedule other employees to cover for trainees so that trainees are not interrupted during training. It also helps to schedule a post-training meeting to evaluate the training session once it has been completed.

Step Five: Select the training location.

If possible, train employees at their work station. Make sure the trainees are standing or sitting where they will actually be performing the task. Also, if the trainer is demonstrating a task, he or she should be sure to stand next to the employees so that they don¡¦t watch the work from a reverse angle. The trainer should also work to make sure the site has minimum distractions. The environment has a direct effect on the amount of learning that takes place. A trainer should ensure the room is properly lit, is at a comfortable temperature, and that the area looks neat and professional.

Step Six: Prepare the training area.

Set up the materials and equipment in the training area before the session begins. Make sure the equipment is working and that extra supplies are at hand. It is also important to decide what type of configuration the room will have if the training is going to be a group session. Some common seating styles include:

  • U-shaped
  • Conference
  • Theater
  • V-shaped
  • Senate Style
  • Schoolroom
  • Board of Directors
  • Hollow Square

Step Seven: Rehearse the presentation or demonstration.

Some experts say that half of a trainer¡¦s preparation time should be spent in rehearsal. A trainer who practices the presentation in many different ways is more likely to have an effective session. Geri McArdle in the American Society for Training and Development publication, Training Design and Delivery (Alexandria, Va.: 1999, p. 123), suggests the following activities for a rehearsal:

Rehearse enough to learn your presentation and then go through the entire presentation each time you rehearse.

Reduce notes during every rehearsal.

Practice with a tape recorder.

Videotape your rehearsal and then analyze your presentation.

Rehearse in front of people.

Practice ad-libbing.

Dress for a dress rehearsal

These seven steps can help a trainer feel more confident and offer more successful and focused training during every session.


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