Training Delivery

by Terry Wilkinson

Visual aids

Tip

Visual aids should only ever be used to reinforce key points. If over-used, visual aids can become a distraction.

Visual aids will increase training effectiveness. They not only help those with a visual learning style, but can also add interest and, by engaging another of the senses, they facilitate listening and remembering. It is said that people remember 20 per cent of what is heard, 30 per cent of what is seen and 50 per cent of what is both seen and heard. You can see more on this in the topic on Learning.

Use the following list to help you select the appropriate visual aids to support your training and circumstances.

Handouts

Advantages

  • Can be kept by delegates after the event
  • Can include a lot of extra material
  • Can include complex graphics and pictures
  • Customised for the day
  • Include scripts for exercises and role plays
  • Include spaces for notes
  • Incorporate company style and information
  • Saves people writing everything down

Disadvantages

  • People read ahead rather than pay attention
  • People can get upset if you don’t cover every page
  • Need to be done well or they will appear amateurish
Tips

You will often find that you need to provide some clear notes for future use. These need to be designed so that facts that people need to know can be found easily, even years after the training.

You may well produce some separate course notes that are useful just for the course, with activity briefings and so on.

Flipchart

Advantages

  • Can be used spontaneously to capture opinions
  • Sheets can be prepared in advance
  • Cheap
  • Quick
  • Sheets available for review
  • Portable

Disadvantages

  • Limited space per page
  • Difficult to transport
  • Limited dramatic effect
  • Need to be stored flat or will curl
Tips

  • Water-based markers won’t bleed through the pages.
  • Dark colours are easier to read; light ones highlight well.
  • Alternate colours from line to line.
  • Don’t use more than three colours per page.
  • Use large letters, 5cm high.
  • Don’t put more on a page than you would on a T-shirt.
  • Keep graphs or charts simple.
  • Use pre-prepared pencil notes on your charts (can’t be seen from a distance).
  • Mark your charts with Post-its or tape tabs if you need to refer back to them.
  • Print; don’t write.
  • Print exactly what people say or get permission to abbreviate.
  • Post on the wall any charts you want to refer back to.
  • Drawings can be invisibly prepared in light yellow pen – just trace over it in front of your audience.

Overhead projector (OHP)

Advantages

  • Trainer can face audience
  • Elaborate presentation and effects possible
  • Can be handmade or professionally prepared
  • Clean
  • Quick
  • Transparencies available for review
  • Portable
  • Don’t need to darken room

Disadvantages

  • Limited space per page
  • Difficult to transport (screen, projector and so on)
  • Need power
  • Light hard on trainer’s eyes
  • The projector cooling fan can be noisy
  • Can’t adapt sequence to responses
  • Difficult to use spontaneously
Tips

  • Keep transparencies in sequence.
  • Check focus and clarity in advance.
  • Switch off when not in use.
  • Have a spare bulb.
  • Don’t put more on a page than you would on a T-shirt.
  • Keep graphs or charts simple.
  • Dark colours are easier to read; light ones highlight well.

Television/video

Advantages

  • Effective way to demonstrate skills in practice
  • Widely available to rent
  • Elaborate presentation and effects possible
  • Can be handmade
  • Clips from videos and films can be used to emphasise particular points (Star Trek for leadership and so on)
  • Effective way to provide feedback on role-plays

Disadvantages

  • Expensive to purchase
  • Difficult to produce professionally
  • Need power
  • Delegates can be nervous about being filmed
  • Training videos can be so over the top they lose the point
  • Can end up designing training around video rather than training need
  • May need to darken room
Tips

  • Use the counter to set the video tape to the right place in advance.
  • Check you know how equipment works in advance.
  • Check focus and volume in advance.
  • If filming, set up and check sound and recording in advance.

PowerPoint

Advantages

  • Elaborate presentation and effects possible
  • Provides a sequence for the training

Disadvantages

  • Need power
  • PowerPoint presentations can be so dramatic that the training is overwhelmed by them
  • Difficult to transport (screen, projector and so on)
  • Computers often misbehave in the middle of the session
  • May need to darken room
Tips

  • Check you know how equipment works in advance.
  • Check focus and volume in advance.
  • Ensure you know how to trouble-shoot PowerPoint in case of computer issues.
  • Ensure you have a contingency plan in case the computer or projector misbehaves.