Training Deliveryby Terry Wilkinson
Group training (instructional)
Group training usually happens off the job. It is about allowing delegates to explore the background knowledge, skills or behaviours required for them to perform their role more effectively at work.
It is not usually about learning the technicalities of a new task, but if it is you follow the structure for One-to-one task training. You will need to adapt the one-to-one method for working with a small group, but it is really like doing several such sessions at the same time.
So how do we structure a group training session?
We introduce, teach and then consolidate the learning.
A training session starts by ensuring the delegate’s minds are receptive and by setting the scene. A good introduction includes the following elements in whatever order seems best for the topic to be covered.
Gain the delegates’ attention by getting them interested in the topic.
- Show a picture, model or diagram.
- Ask questions.
- Recount a personal experience.
- Run an ice-breaking exercise.
- Relate a topical story.
- Produce interesting statistics or supporting data.
- Tell a humorous story.
Delegates will not be motivated to learn if they do not see any direct personal benefit.
- Why do the delegates need the training?
- What’s in it for them to learn these new skills?
- How will they personally benefit?
- How will it help them in their job?
- How will it lead to increased pay, status or professionalism?
- How will it make their lives easier or safer?
State briefly what the training session is about.
Provide the range of the topics covered. Give an agenda for the session; explain what will be covered, what the delegates will be expected to do (test, exam, involvement and so on) and how long will it take. This provides the delegates with a logical structure and avoids confusion, a barrier to learning effectively.
Tell delegates what they will be able to do at the end of the training session.
If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t get there. If by chance you do get there, you’ll never know you’ve arrived.
State your objective in measurable terms, so you can demonstrate success at the end of the session.
Avoid words such as ‘know’ or ‘understand’ which cannot easily be measured. Instead say, for example, ‘By the end of this session you will be able to identify how the health and safety at work act affects your role’.
The teaching phase is developed from the session objective, not vice versa. In deciding what information to include, brainstorm all the possible information you might include in the session. Revisit each item and decide whether it must, should or could be included, given the session objective.
Organise information into the following levels:
- Musts – vital information that must be given to the delegates if they are to meet the session objective
- Shoulds – important information that should be given to delegates to help their understanding of the musts
- Coulds – information not vital to achieving the objective, but useful in enhancing the session.
Which information you include will depend on how much time you have for your session. Obviously, the priorities are the musts; if you have more time add the shoulds and so on.
How to present the information
The golden rules are these:
- Keep it simple at the beginning and then work towards the more complex
- Start off with information that is known to the delegates, to build confidence
- Don’t overload – split the session into manageable chunks and recap each before moving onto the next
- Involve delegates through questions, exercises and discussions. This helps them think it through for themselves. It will also specifically help those who learn better through talking and activity.
- Avoid jargon wherever possible – if it’s necessary, explain it.
- Don’t use a complex word where a simpler one is available.
- Remember to use visual aids to emphasise key points and to help delegates who like to see things rather than just hear about them.
- If possible, include practical exercises for delegates who learn by doing.
- Use humour or gravity to make a point, but don’t let it become distracting.
At the end of the session, we need to test whether the stated objectives have been achieved. Apart from finding out how well the delegates have done, we also want to find out whether our training has been successful.
How will you test learning?
- Testing questions
- Practical exercise
The key question is this: does the chosen method test your session objective?
The test should not only check the delegate’s memory, but also their understanding of the subject. Be careful when you design the tests so that they do actually result in giving you the information you need. Think about how the delegates will use the material in their job, and this will suggest ways to test.
Remember to finish your session with praise, ask if delegates have any final questions and remind them when they will be using these new skills at work.
A training often results in key things a delegate should be doing on their return to their workplace. These can get forgotten in the pressure of the daily activity.
At the end of the training, when the material is fresh and important to them, have the delegates write a letter to themselves on what they are intending to do. Give them a stamped envelope and have them write their address on it. Post the envelopes in 4 weeks time so that they get this letter to themslves.
Who better to remind them of what to do?