Which Training Methods Should I Use?

Information, Knowledge and Understanding

When goal of the workshop is content oriented and you want the participants not only to gain knowledge and information but also to understand the content, then the training methods are…  [amprotect=2,3,4]detailed handouts, lecture, small-group discussion, tele-seminars, computer aided instruction, and videos. The focus should be on providing participants with clear detailed yet concise information.

Because there is a potential for the audience to be bored, drift away mentally and even fall asleep, the presenter must be engaging and dynamic. Stories, metaphors, research and statistical information and vignettes should form an integral part of the presentation and should be used as bridges between various topics and sub-topics. Audience involvement is also key and trainers should keep the audience involved with small group discussions and presentations.

Games, role plays and dramatizations can be used to ensure that participants develop deeper levels of understanding of the subject matter. These training methods also ensure that participants begin the process of both consciously and unconsciously retaining the information. This is important since information should not only be understood and retained it needs to be applied.

Therefore, if the ultimate goal is having the information show up and influence and impact participant’s behaviors and actions, it is crucial that they get opportunities to rehearse how they can use and apply the content that they are learning… or how the information might enhance, change or influence what they do at work or at home.

Changing Attitudes and Values

When the goal of the seminar is to foster changes in attitudes and values, the presenter can utilize guided discussions, small group sessions, behavioral rehearsal and role play, dramatic presentations, business games, case study, videos and videotaping, simulated exercises, and group debate.

Even though the seminar takes place as a large or medium sized group forum, the focus is really on individual change. This means that the trainer must ensure that all activities get everyone involved.

Role-plays, dramatizations, games and simulated exercises should be developed to ensure that individual participants feel and see themselves involved and begin to take on and respond to the energy or characteristics of some the characters they are playing, interacting with or being exposed to.

Developing and Building Skills

When the goal of the presentation is the development of skills then role plays, games, and simulated activities are crucial. Skill development only takes place when participants get opportunities for simulated practice of the skill they are being taught. Basketball players, pilots, boxers, snipers or dancers don’t learn their skills from a book or lecture. They learn by doing.

First, the trainer should demonstrate the skill that is being taught. Then the learner should get multiple opportunities for simulated practice right in the workshop. Learners should also get feedback on their performance and then use the feedback and feed-it-forward into their next practice session.

The best case training scenario is where learners would then get opportunities to go into the field, test what they learned in the workshop in the real world and evaluate how well it worked and how well they performed. Evaluation would be enhanced when someone else analyses what they did and how well they did it and then give feedback to the learner. The learner would then return to the training room on another occasion to fine tune his/her performance and to fill gaps of understanding and to fix and improve their techniques.


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