What should a Train The Trainer session look like nowadays?

On Monday, we shared a podcast recording with Ajay Pangarkar who has created a number of LinkedIn Learning courses on the topic of train the trainer and presentation skills.

This conversation got me thinking about Train the Trainer sessions in two ways:

  1. It got me curious about how people feel about facilitating Train the Trainer sessions within their own organizations, and
  2. It also got me thinking about what Train the Trainer sessions look like in an Age of the Pandemic, where so much of our training is done virtually.

Training Colleagues How To Train

When I work with an external audience or when I’m doing a conference presentation, I get butterflies before a session, which I think has more to do with the natural adrenaline that courses through my veins prior to being in front of a group. When I need to get in front of a group of my colleagues, peers and co-workers, however, there’s a different level of anxiety. I’ll need to see them again, and I don’t want to be known as that guy who wasted their time in a useless training session.

I recently asked folks on LinkedIn how they felt when they needed to go in front of a group of their co-workers to deliver training, and here are the results:

While many others said they’re also anxious, more than a third of people said they were excited to have the opportunity to be in front of their colleagues – people who are important to them – to help them build their skills. I appreciated some of the comments that people shared in addition to their votes:

  • “It’s not about showing off my skills, I’m genuinely excited to support [my co-workers] in becoming better versions of themselves. I think that’s a privilege, and when you’re helping people you know, it’s extra special.”
  • “When you train people you know, you get a better understanding of them as people. Guiding colleagues through the learning process is more exciting for me because there’s already a personal connection established.

Of course, one of the most important things to any successful training, especially when working with colleagues, is to make sure the training provides value. So, what should one of the most common training programs – a basic train the trainer program – include in this day and age of virtual training sessions and remote participation?

Train The Trainer – Virtual Edition

I’ve shared a basic, traditional train the trainer outline in a previous post. Using that framework, I’ve inserted a few other items that will be important for a digital/virtual edition of a train the trainer program (I recommend reading the full article covering the train the trainer outline if you’d like a deeper explanation of some of the more traditional components).

  • Pre-work: Asking three key questions.
    • How do you know if your learners are “getting it”?
    • How have you gotten your training to “stick”?
    • What are you expecting to take away from this session?
  • Welcome/Introductions
  • Basic Information on How Training Sticks
  • Adult Learning Theory (as Ajay Pangarkar mentions in the podcast, you don’t need to go too deeply into this, but it can be helpful for your participants to understand why straight up lecture isn’t as “sticky” as other presentation methods)
  • Instructional Design Basics (again, no need to go into more complex models such as ADDIE, but people who are going to facilitate a training program should understand the rhyme and reason behind the sequence and flow of activities so they don’t skip certain sections they feel are superfluous or “touchy feely”)
  • Introduction to Your Virtual Platform
    • What features of the platform will be used?
    • How does using these features connect the activity to the learning objectives?
    • Time permitting: A scavenger hunt in which all participants are turned into a Co-host, given permission to use the various features, and need to demonstrate they can find and use specific features such as polling, on-screen annotation, chat, etc.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Where These Concepts Meet Real Life
    • Participants should now scan your actual training materials to identify where all of these concepts – how training sticks, adult learning theory, instructional design basics and virtual platform features – can be found in your actual training program or course curriculum.
  • Practice with Feedback
    • Some people call this the “teachback” portion of the Train the Trainer. This is an opportunity for participants to practice delivering segments of the training program (or observing how others would deliver certain sections) and to receive feedback prior to training a real group.

Do you do something differently when you deliver a train the trainer program? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.

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