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Why You Need To Train The Trainer For Continued Business Success

If there was a way to not only better understand how people learn but also have those people retain that information into the future, wouldn’t you want to know what that was? Train the trainer is a great tool for business success, and yet not many people know about it! In this article, I’d like to tell you everything you need to know about train the trainer programs, from what it is, its key components, all the way to how any given session might be structured.

What’s Train The Trainer?

As the name implies, train the trainer means training trainers. Trainers are people who train others on professional skills, whether they be hard or soft skills. People who can be categorized as trainers include…

  • Coaches such as myself
  • Managers in a company
  • Specialists (product specialists, consulting specialists etc.)

RELATED: Read about our Professional Skills Development Services

What you actually learn in train the trainer sessions is another topic entirely, but you typically come out with a new set of skills and best practices that make you better understand how people learn.

What's train the trainer

What Are The Key Components Of Effective Train The Trainer Sessions?

Whether you’re a trainer looking to set up your own train the trainer sessions or someone attending one, it’s important to understand the two key components that make up effective programs.

1. Understand How People Learn

As mentioned in the previous section, train the trainer sessions provide you with a set of skills and best practices that help you better understand how people learn. 

Understanding how people learn is crucial because without such knowledge, it’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of teaching people in ways that don’t facilitate learning. What I’ve seen happen many times is people delivering a training in which they explain a topic using a Powerpoint of about 80 slides. This is done in a day or two, at which point training ends under the false pretense that people have learned. Of course, it’s no surprise that after a week or so everyone has forgotten what they were taught. This is why it’s so important to understand how people learn.

2. Understand How Information Is Retained

A byproduct of understanding how people learn is understanding how information is retained. Again, while it might seem like you’re putting in a lot of effort by making a deck of Powerpoint slides, most of it will be forgotten. 

According to Loma Linda University, a few ways to improve retention of information is to learn in multiple ways, teach others what you’ve learned, and to understand your learning style. I like to structure my train the trainer sessions in a way that breaks down a topic into sequential order. This allows me to build up a gradual understanding of a subject instead of feeding everyone the whole pie at once.

What Happens During Ineffective Train The Trainer Sessions?

While you now have an idea of what’s needed for effective train the trainer sessions, it’s also valuable to know what happens when those needs aren’t met.

Trainers Waste Time

A common pitfall and perhaps the most harmful of them all has to do with the fact that train the trainer sessions become a waste of time. This can occur when you’re teaching people something in a way that doesn’t facilitate learning, but also when you don’t help learners understand why they’re learning in the first place. 

Without an idea of the trainees’ desire to learn, teaching them becomes much more difficult and time-consuming.

Trainers Talk Too Much

Tying into the lack of knowing how people retain information, another common pitfall of ineffective train the trainer sessions are those in which the trainer spends too much time talking. 

While it might seem beneficial to give detailed talks about a subject, in actual fact, people learn better when interacting with others in what’s known as active learning

According to a 2019 Harvard study, students learned more when part of classrooms that employed active learning strategies, as opposed to the standard lecture format. 

Trainers Give Too Much Feedback

While feedback isn’t an out and out a bad thing, giving too much is a problem inexperienced trainers tend to make. Providing a laundry list of what someone did right and wrong is unnecessary at the start of training, and tends to lead to trainees feeling overwhelmed.

How Is A Typical Train The Trainer Session Run? 

My train the trainer sessions are typically separated into two programs.

  • 2 – 5 day sessions spread out over a week. These are more theory based and leave less time for review and skill building. 
  • 5 full days of training spread out over 6 to 12 months. This is more of a comprehensive program in which participants will be given assignments to work on. 

Focusing on the comprehensive program, below are four topics I always discuss with trainees.

  1. Do trainees understand how to learn?

The starting off point for my programs focuses on making sure trainees understand how people learn. This means figuring out what it takes for adults to learn effectively, as well as making sure trainees are aware that they need to learn in the first place. 

  1. Do trainees have a desire to learn? 

One way to create a desire to learn is to understand the loss associated with not knowing that information. This is what I try to get trainees to comprehend, and I do this by having them produce their own training content. We can then spend time discussing why they built the training the way they did. This will let trainees see where potential flaws lay and through this process–and feedback–they learn how to build great content.  

  1. Do trainees know how to do the exercises?

It’s also crucial for trainees to understand how the exercises work. This means I spend time explaining how exercises should be executed, along with the feedback I provide at intervals. I will always wrap up exercises to make sure content is fully understood. 

  1. Do trainees know how to take their training forward?

Training would be meaningless if it wasn’t retained. This is why trainees need to know how to be partners in their organization once training ends. This makes them more effective and better at providing solutions for potential issues. 

What’s Train The Trainer Like In Vietnam?

Though I’ve seen schools providing train the trainer programs in Vietnam, the programs are based on a fairly haphazard set of learning principles and training methods.

Besides this, one of the key issues I see with a lot of trainers here is that while they’re great at specializing and explaining things, many haven’t attended train the trainer programs themselves. This is a problem for a few reasons.

  • You don’t understand how people learn
  • You don’t understand how people retain information
  • You aren’t growing as a trainer

To reiterate, to take trainers here to the next, it’s crucial they take part in train the trainer programs themselves. After all, continued personal development leads to consistent external development

How I Can Help

With 20 years experience, including impactful roles at Google and Apple, I, Thijs van Loon, am here to help. My suite of services has been meticulously designed to propel your team to new heights. 

One area of expertise is in Professional Skills Development, which can cover anything from sales training, team management, and train the trainer. 

By leveraging training certifications from Google and Apple, in addition to my certifications in NLP and Psych-K, I offer tailored, practical solutions that deliver immediate results to your business. By working together, I can help you empower the individuals in your company and your business at large, whether this be in Vietnam or other locations in Southeast Asia. 

Interested in learning more about train the trainer programs? Get in touch now. 

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