Planning your training sessions is an important key to success. The following five steps can be applied to every type of instruction. Note that they are learner-centred, instead of content-centred. Start your planning by thinking about what your students need to learn in order to be more successful at their jobs. That will ensure that your training session will be practical and applicable.
Your students need to know why they are attending your training. Professional development seminars are often required, but not necessarily enjoyed by the participants. A frequent complaint about training sessions is that they aren’t applicable to the employee’s specific job. If the students know why they are there, what they will be learning, and how it applies to their work, their interest and motivation will increase. Sharing that rationale with your students shouldn’t take much time and makes for an easy introduction to your course. Remember, if you have trouble relating your training session to anything tangible, your students will too! Even very abstract concepts should be covered within a broader context. This will help keep your students motivated and focused on the overall objective.
The objectives of a training session need to be clear. A student should know at the beginning what the learning objectives are and what the training session will accomplish. The objectives are more specific than the rationale and they need to be measurable. For example, a general objective is “the student will understand safety checks” or “the student will market better” whereas a measurable objective is “the student will explain all safety checks with 100% accuracy” or “the students will develop five new marketing strategies to implement.” If students know specifically what is required of them they will be more likely to strive to accomplish the goals set before them.
Contests, games, problem solving activities, brainstorming sessions and re-teaching the material to others are all examples of effective learning activities. Instead of lecturing for hours, give your students things to do that will enhance their learning and help them learn through discovery. Make sure the activities are interesting and engaging! Even switching the delivery setting up a bit from "in-person" instruction to an online, eLearning environment (or vice versa) can do wonders for reengaging students and helping them learn better.
In a previous blog we discussed the importance of evaluating what your students have learned. This is where you will discover how well your content was received and what level of understanding your students attained. Make sure you don’t skip this step! The information you gain from evaluations will let you provide feedback to your students, our next step.
Once you're aware of what your students have learned, you can either correct or confirm their knowledge. It is important to develop a way of letting your students know if they mastered the objectives or not. If you realize that certain objectives were not successfully mastered then re-teaching may need to occur.
These five steps can and should be applied to any teaching situation. Follow these principles to focus on your students rather than your content. You might be surprised at how quickly you start achieving better results!
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