Tip #523: Conducting a Train-the-Trainer for a 22-Day Training Series

“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

My current task is not simple. I need to plan how to conduct a train-the-trainer program for individuals who will be facilitating portions of a 22-day training series. I have five days for the training, which will be in Nairobi, Kenya the first week in August.

At this point, I have no idea who or how many trainers will be participating. However, I can anticipate that most of the trainers will be lecturers who are not familiar (or necessarily comfortable) with participatory learning strategies. My challenge will be to help them decide to become facilitative trainers rather than expert lecturers.

From the beginning of the workshop, I will need to model what I am teaching. This means making sure that the content is provided in small chunks, that there is an activity to check for their comprehension, and, wherever possible, learning activities that require them to apply, analyze, create or evaluate each new content area.

It also means demonstrating how to create a safe and comfortable learning atmosphere, how to open a session, when to give breaks, how to respond to questions, how to interact with the students, and how to close a session.

On Day One, I know that I will need to begin the training with content and learning activities related to adult learning principles, accelerated learning principles, the limits of content that can be absorbed at one time, Bloom’s taxonomy of behavioral learning objectives (which I typically refer to as the building blocks of learning), and the different types of learning activities that enable students to achieve different levels of learning.

The trainers will also need to be introduced to the reality of different learning style preferences and the range of learning activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of most learners.

All of this content should help them begin to understand why it is so important to completely engage their students rather than have them simply sit and listen to them.

On Days 2 and 3, I would like to introduce the trainers to the different types of participatory learning activities used throughout the 22 days of training. My current plan for each activity is to:

  1. Introduce the activity
  2. Have the participants perform the activity
  3. Have the participants review the facilitator notes in the facilitator guide, which explain how to set up, facilitate and debrief the activit
  1. Have the participants assess the learning activity in terms of the:

a. level of learning desired

b. design decisions and their underlying rationale

c. degree of participant interest and motivation

d. quality of the learning experience

e. probability of learning retention

The idea is to have them experience each activity to gain a sense of how their students will feel during the activity, see a model of how to set up, facilitate and debrief each activity, and ideally recognize the appropriateness and effectiveness of the activity in accomplishing the desired level of learning.

On Day 4, the trainers should learn how to create a motivational learning environment and manage class participation, since that will be a new challenge for many of them. They should also have an opportunity to review the format and content of the Facilitator Guide, and then discuss how to move from the guide to the participant materials in a seamless fashion. The participants will also need to select and plan how to prepare to facilitate one of the activities from the entire course, chosen from a list of varied learning activities that I have created for them.

On Day 5, the trainers will facilitate their selected learning activities, for written and oral feedback and coaching from their peers and from me. All of the facilitated activities, as well as the oral feedback and coaching, will be videotaped and provided on a DVD to the trainers after the session. This will give them a just-in-time job aid if they forget how to facilitate an activity.

By this time, the trainers should be able to assess their degree of comfort with the prospect of facilitating the course.

Based on my observations of their training competency and their own stated comfort with facilitating the course, I will then either certify them or provide recommendations that will help them to become eligible for certification.

That’s my current plan. What do you think? Any and all suggestions will be much appreciated!


May your learning be sweet,


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