Quick Tips for Corporate Training Programs

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Increase Participation in Corporate Training Programs

In all of my Corporate Training Programs, I require participation from everyone in the session. When I announce this to the group at the beginning of a course, I get the typical moans and eye rolls from participants who had heard that before from other trainers—only to be lectured at for the remainder of their time together. The challenge in those other classes is that the trainer was giving only lip service to the idea of participation. If you want to increase participation in your courses, the trick is to actually want and welcome learner participation. If you are committed to increasing participation, here are a few tips that can help you:

1. Ask Questions: This may seem obvious, yet I’ve seen plenty of trainers avoid asking questions. If you want your learners to participate, give them an easy way to do so. Ask plenty of questions to get them involved with the content.

2. Use Relay Questions: When a learner asks you a question, is your first instinct to answer it? If so, practice using relay questions. The next time you are
asked a question, turn it around to everyone else in the group to hear how they might respond.

3. Stop Asking for Questions: All too often, I hear trainers ask, “Does anyone have any questions?” as a way to increase participation. In theory, this is a nice question; however, learners don’t always know what to ask. Instead of asking for questions, ask, “What are your reactions to this?” In many ways, it amounts to the same thing, yet it is broader than simply asking for questions.

4. Use Small Group Discussions: Some learners simply do not want to speak up in a large group—and that’s fine! You can still give them a chance to  participate by having a brief discussion with their tablemates to think of examples, formulate a question, react to a statement, or conceive a rebuttal.

5. Use Reverse Reviews: As good trainers, we build frequent reviews into our programs (right?). Instead of having to do those reviews yourself, ask the learners to do the reviews. This serves the same purpose of your doing a review, yet it gives the learners another way to participate.

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About Author

Scott Fabel is a senior corporate training consultant with Computer Aid, Inc. He has over 18 years of experience working with various Fortune 1000 companies on Help Desk Implementations, Microsoft Technologies, Business Analysis, and Project Management. This includes both consultative services and customized training programs. He is HDI certified, PMP certified, CBAP certified, and a MCT. Scott has been teaching others business skills, professional skills, and technical skills for more than 13 years. He is a faculty fellow at the University of Delaware and is currently pursuing his doctorate in education for which his dissertation will focus on the benefits of corporate training and mobile learning. He speaks three languages and was recently inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame. His communication skills, combined with his martial art skills, provide him with a unique combination for keeping his sessions informative, lively, and interactive.

2 Comments

  1. Good suggestions. Today’s participant needs to be involved in the learning, and the material needs to be relevant, timely, and readily applicable back on the job or you will loose them. By timely I mean teach them the “must know”, not “nice to know” of the topic.
    Every activity needs to be relevant to the topic.
    Questions are important. One idea is to try for an OPEN MIKE session where folks can ask questions, or make comments about what they learned, what else they need to know. This seems less threatening then asking if participants have questions.
    Finally, create time and exercises to debrief and reflect on the learning. It is important to discuss the application of the material back on the job.
    If you are looking for a great design and development method for all of this refer to Accelerated Learning.

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