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Want to Design Training that Sticks? Make it Concrete.

Before I deliver a training session in front of a real audience, I often drag a few colleagues into a training room to do a rehearsal and get feedback.  The most common piece of feedback I receive is some variation of the following statement: “Brian, that was really interesting.  It was nice to know about that topic.  But how can it actually be used in my job?”

It’s an honor to be asked to present an area of expertise in front of a group.  And sometimes it’s a little too easy to be so passionate about a topic that I lose sight of the fact that not everyone enjoys geeking out over concepts like adult learning or racial equity.  Oddly enough, my participants often simply want to know how my topic can help them do their jobs better.

Here are a few ways that feedback from a rehearsal has led to a more concrete final draft of my training lesson plans:


Instead of just…


Learning Styles
  • Giving a learning style inventory
  • Pointing out examples in my lesson plan   catering to auditory, visual, kinesthetic learners
  • Pointing out that presenters often cater primarily to their own learning style
  • Activity in which participants brainstorm   specific activities they would actually use in their own presentations that cater to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners
IT Training
  • Pointing out features of the system
  • Dummy examples to be entered based upon the ways the system will be used in real life
  • (If the system generates reports) Ways in which data from the system can be analyzed to improve individual and organizational performance
Project Planning
  • Defining various terms used in a project plan   (problem definition, risk mitigation, etc.)
  • Making a commitment to use project planning tools
  • Distributing blank project planning tools and having
    participants complete a project plan based upon an actual project they are/will
    be working on

How are you making sure that your next presentation goes beyond geeking out on theory and actually gets into concrete ways your learners will be able to apply your concepts to their jobs?

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