Oftentimes, people with experience and expertise are tapped to become trainers without formal delivery and/or facilitation skills training. Another common term is “Subject Matter Expert.” Is this you or someone you know?
The good news is that you are knowledgeable and considered a “go to” person for answers. While others may rely on you for support, you’ve also found yourself in a training role, and that’s a major shift in your role.
Especially, in today’s “virtual training world”, delivering effective training is a WHOLE different story. It’s not uncommon for Subject Matters Experts to believe that if they present content and perhaps read from the slides, learners will receive, retain, and apply the information. This could not be further from the truth.
Follow these 5 steps to help you get on the right Training Track so that your session hits the mark and does what it’s supposed to do. Your role is to impart information and knowledge, and drive skill to the learner so that at the end of the day; participants know what, why, and how to implement that knowledge and/or skill that they have been trained on.
STEP 1: Conduct a content inventory and separate:
Need to Know vs. Nice to Know
The first requirement is to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.
- Who are they?
- What are their backgrounds?]
- What is their level of experience?
- What do they need help with?
- Who is requesting the training?
- Why would they be attending your training in the first place?
How do you separate the need to know and nice to know?
- If the session could run for only 30 minutes, what information would you want to impart to the learners and why?
- Review the content and break it into 2 columns:
NEED TO KNOW NICE TO KNOW
- List out the content topics and KEY POINTS for each.
- Identify what you want people to “DO” with the information.
CASE IN POINT: I worked with an organization earlier this year to help the training team comprised of five Subject Matter Experts in the field of Wellness and Prevention. Prior to Covid 19, each person delivered training in person. In this project, each trainer was tasked with an assignment to convert a live training session to virtual. They went through an abbreviated Instructional Design process and learned quickly the challenges associated with the conversation process. The first key lessons they learned was to focus on the need to know vs. nice to know in order to address the MOST important content for the target audience. In this case and many cases, less is absolutely more effective. REMEMBER – in all training sessions, you ae trying to convert the learner to be an expert like you are.
STEP 2: Create a detailed outline.
- Session Title
- Background Information
- Target Audience
- Length – number of hours or minutes
- Method of Delivery
- Key Topics and Time for Each
- Materials / Tools
- Learning Objectives: THIS IS KEY!!
Tips for Writing Learning Objectives:
- Describe desired outcomes for the learner, not the trainer
- Make each statement action oriented
- Start with verbs
- Describe a behavior that is observable
- Answers the question- what do you want the learn to “KNOW” and “DO”?
- Identify the desired outcome.
|Less Effective Learning Objectives||More Effective Learning Objectives|
|Understand the sales process.||Describe each step in the sales process along with the specific sales tools available to use.
|Know the products.||List and describe all the products with detailed features and benefits of each.
|Answer a sales call.||Using the prospecting sales sheet, take down all the important information provided by the prospect in order to determine to move forward with the sales process or not.|
STEP 3: Break training into bit-size, easy to digest pieces.
Each topic should be no longer than 60 to 90 minutes in length. Within each topic, you should break it down to sub-topics of 5 to 15 minutes each. A rule of thumb in the virtual learning space is to keep the content or presentation to less than 10 minutes along with an activity to engage the audience. The activities can be longer than 10 minutes as long as the audience has a specific task or discussion to conduct.
Remember: the worst thing that you can do in either a live or virtual training session is to bore the audience with presentation and assume that’s good training. One thing that helps is to put yourself in the position of the learner. If I were sitting in that seat or at the computer, what would engage me?
CASE IN POINT: With the organization I worked with, this was one of the most challenging things to tackle. It’s very common for trainers to over deliver on the content. The truth is, you will get more mileage and deliver a much more effective session if you streamline the content and pay attention to “less is more”.
STEP 4: Incorporate activities AMAP.
(As Much As Possible)
This is absolutely true for any audience in any setting. The goal of training needs to always be to transfer your knowledge and skill to other people. It’s NOT what you know, it’s what’ the learner needs to take away from the session that ALWAYS overrides the content.
Activities take shape in the following:
- Ice Breakers
- Demonstration and Practice
- Games (Cards, Jenga, etc.)
- Themed Sessions
- Movement (exercise)
This is where creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking comes into play. There are many tools available to increase engagement and interaction.
CASE IN POINT: Given the fact that the trainers previously mentioned are experts in the field of Wellness and Prevention, they were intentional in making sure that the content was broken into small pieces followed by activities (e.g., stretching, lifting, stress reduction, etc.)
STEP 5: Use a variety of tools to engage the audience.
Here’s a list of tools to incorporate into your training session, live or virtual.
- Videos (You Tube)
- White Board
- Problem Solving
- Slides with minimal text
- Slides with visuals
CASE IN POINT: The use of videos and music help engage the audience; not to mention appealing to all senses (seeing, hearing, listening, feeling, etc.).
Make sure that for each tool and/or activity used, allow enough time to process the information and/or debrief the activity.
SLOW DOWN TO SPEED UP!!
The best thing you can do as a trainer is to take a step back, evaluate what you have, and be extra intentional on the desired outcomes of your training. Remember, training is NOT about you, it’s about the learner and what they are able to know and do because of your knowledge and support.
OFFER: If you have a training session that you would like to spruce up and incorporate more engagement and activity, reach out and RTB will review your training materials and give you some tips and techniques to make this happen.