Tim Buckley Owen Quiet Please! Running an Effective Training Session
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By Tim Buckley Owen


Tim Buckley Owen draws on decades of training experience to highlight some key points to make training successful - including what needs to be considered on the day, in advance, and afterwards.


FreePint Topic Series: Best Practices in Information Skills DevelopmentHands up if you've ever sat through a course where the trainer just droned on and on, flashing up a succession of on-screen bullet points and then simply reading them out.

Based on all the mistakes I've made as a trainer over the years, I've just written an article for FreePint looking at some of the things you need to think about - not just on the training day, but before and after as well. 

  • Are you sure you're delivering what the training participants actually need? 
  • Will you be able to show them how they can apply the training once they get back to their place of work?
  • And after it's all over, can you be sure that everyone is walking away contented?

Show and Tell

For the moment, though, let's focus on the day itself. (And I'm assuming for now that this is face-to-face training; webinars and distance learning are a whole different ballgame.)

Whatever training you're providing, if you simply tell the course participants what to do they'll probably forget. They're much more likely to remember if you show them how to do it - use that super new piece of collaborative software, tag their contributions to the corporate know-how file, evaluate their raw research results.

But better still is to get them to try it for themselves - and it's really important to make sure in advance that this is going to work properly.

Get the practical exercises that you set right and they can be a huge confidence booster for the course participants; skimp on your own homework and you risk sending them away discontented and feeling that the whole business was a waste of time.

Let Them Own It

So how would my ideal face-to-face training course go? First, try to get everyone to say at least something at the start: what they expect personally from the training, for example.

Then split each session of the course into three parts:

  • First, outline the skills to be addressed and the benefits the participants can expect as a result - perhaps with an on-screen demonstration - and provide all the detail in your course documentation.
  • Next, let them have a go. Have some really well prepared practical exercises that will be challenging but will still leave the participants with a sense of achievement.
  • Finally, allow plenty of time for discussion. This is when the participants can really feel a sense of ownership of the training; issues might come up that you hadn't anticipated, and you'll need to be ready to address them or promise to find out if you don't know the answer.

Quiet Please!

At the end of the course, get everyone to sum up their own experience. Hopefully much of what they say will be positive - but if anyone does express dissatisfaction you have a chance to address it before they go off and grumble to their colleagues.

Final tip for a successful training course?

Well, there are plenty in the FreePint article "Slow Motion Train Crashes and How to Avoid Them - Tips for Terrified Trainers". But if I were to pick just one, it would probably be: don't talk too much.

This Blog Item is part of the FreePint Topic Series "Best Practices in Information Skills Development".

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