Train-the-Trainer Program Effectiveness Research Released by The Learning Guild

Last week, The Learning Guild released a report entitled Train-the-Trainer: Evidence-based Practices, which was written by Jane Bozarth, PhD. You can download an executive summary (or you can sign up for a free membership of The Learning Guild and download the entire 29-page report) here.

If you have 30 minutes or so, I’d encourage you to give it a read. In short, if you’re going to put together a train-the-trainer program for part-time trainers around your organization (SMEs or other folks who don’t have “training” in their job title but who are pressed into service to train others from time to time), you’ll want to make sure that your train-the-trainer program is effective and is a good use of everyone’s time.

In the words of the report’s author, “It is hoped that this information will additionally help readers ‘sell’ to management the idea of providing more extended instruction to those who may not be involved in training activity as a full-time pursuit.” Put differently, if you’re going to be asking decision-makers to pull together people whose full-time job isn’t training, and if you’re going to be asking for more than an hour of their time (for example, if you’re planning a day-long or multi-day train-the-trainer program), you’re going to want to offer some evidence-based rationale for why you need to take people “offline” for so much time. After all, how much training will they really need to walk through their slide decks with their learners?

The Learning Guild’s report offers a series of examples of train-the-trainer programs that emphasize specific facilitation competencies (understanding learning theories and strategies, curriculum development and integration, creating realistic scenarios, etc) in which effective trainers need to grow their confidence in order to be able to produce behavior change when they present. The research also emphasized the importance of “teach back” opportunities with feedback and reflection.

I’m not going to re-write the research. As I mentioned, it’s a relatively short read and offers some very specific research and results to point to when you’re making your case to leadership about the need to truly train your trainers to be confident in delivering their next presentation according to effective learning principles (as opposed to reading their content from their slides).


A few additional train-the-trainer resources for you

  • If you’re not sure what should go onto the agenda for your train-the-trainer program, here is a sample course outline.
  • If you need a primer on things such as adult learning, writing learning objectives, creating a lesson plan or some other training basics before you try teaching others how to train, check out this crash course of training design basics resources.
  • Looking to give structure to the feedback you offer your instructors during their “teach back” sessions? Here is a trainer observation checklist that may prove handy.
  • Do you need someone to help put together and/or deliver a train-the-trainer program? Drop me a line and we can talk about your needs and how we might be able to work together!

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