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Key Components of Designing Instructor-Led, Participant-Centered Training

Have you ever been to mandated training that you thought would never end? As the trainer drones on, you find yourself thinking about dinner, daydreaming about the weekend, doodling in your notebook, thinking about anything other than what you’re supposed to be focusing on. A big part of the problem is boring lecture-based training. Spice it up with instructor-led, participant-centered training.  

The first question to ask when designing ILPC training is: “Who am I designing this for?” It might seem obvious, but sometimes training materials can be more for the person giving the training—training “aids,” so to speak—than they are for the participants. Don’t rely on selling PowerPoint bullet points alone. By relying less on PowerPoint, the emphasis shifts to planning ahead.   

In order to design training, you have to know the end goal. What are the needs of training? Is there a problem? Does a current method need to be improved? Is the training to prepare participants for a change in the future?

You also need measurable objectives. What do you want the participants to be able to do as a result of the training? What are the goals? Make sure you have a way to assess if the participants have learned what you taught. (Create an evaluation strategy.) 

 It’s important to follow these key components of ILPC training: 

Start on Time; End on Time

Be punctual. Respect your audience’s time. If you want them to remember what time class is going to start, pick an odd number like 8:03. 

Follow the 90/20/10 Rule

Participants can listen for 90 minutes before they need a break. If you’re training for extended amounts of time, break–at minimum—every hour and a half. Humans can only listen with retention for up to 20 minutes. Re-set learners’ attention by creating engagement every 10 minutes in the classroom (otherwise there’s too much temptation to become distracted). Which brings us to our next point …  

Engage Learners and Make it Fun 

Build in activities that allow for engagement and participation. When participants have fun, they’re more likely to remember the lesson long-term.  

Build in Time for Reflection

Reflection—individually, in pairs, or in groups—is valuable for all types of learners, whether they’re introverted or social in nature.

Know the Elements of CPR: Content, Participation, Revisit 

Break the content into chunks that are 20 minutes or less in length, have learners participate in relevant activities every 10 minutes, and make sure to revisit the content. If you don’t review the content, as much as 80 percent could be lost within 24 hours. (Research also shows that retention is best when participants themselves, not the instructor, do the review.)  

Draw on Experience, Awareness, Theory

When planning your training, allow participants to experience something first (let them be actively engaged), gain an awareness of what happened, and finally, receive an explanation of the theory behind the experience.

As author, chief training officer, and chairman of The Bob Pike Group Becky Pike Pluth writes in her book Creative Training, “Being a great trainer is so much more than just that moment in the workshop spotlight. It means making content memorable, usable, and most of all transformational for the learner—and then showing how the training made a difference not just in the life of the learner, but in the wellbeing of the organization as well.”

Learn more about ILPC training techniques and tools at CTT 2018 September 26-28.