Training in a Classroom Setting

There are a variety of different methodologies and techniques many people apply when training adults in a classroom setting.  Some work; others do not.  Here are a few ways you can ensure your classroom training experience is the best for both you and your students:

Set an agenda—It's important that your students know what to expect.  Outline the day as you see it unfolding, and make sure you follow it as closely as possible.  Your students will be following the agenda as well, and looking for all the breaks, scheduled lunch time, as well as the different topics that they will be learning.  To help you maintain control of your day, don't associate specific times with the topics, breaks, or lunch.  This will help ensure the students' expectations are met and even potentially exceeded.

Have supporting documents—For each section you are teaching, make sure you provide your students with materials to support that which they are learning.  This will help them follow you as you teach, and will provide them with reference information after the class is over.

Have fun—Enjoy yourself!  Training can be fun if you allow yourself the luxury.  Start off the day with an icebreaker to ease the tension and help people relax.  Infuse those throughout the day to keep things lighthearted and to keep people focused when you are going through materials.  Use jokes (if you can!) to help lighten up the training materials.

Make it interactive (include role play)—Don't just preach, get your students involved.  Have training activities for each module so your students can learn through activity, not just from their seats.  This will facilitate learning and will make the learning experience more stimulating for all involved.  Where applicable, have students role play scenarios to enhance learning.

Use slides—sparingly—Slides are good to use to remind yourself where you are and where you need to go.  They also provide good visual aids for your students; however, do not rely on them.  Use simple bullet points to get your point across, but make sure you deliver the meat of the subjects you are teaching.  Otherwise, you will be reading the slides to your students, which will waste both your time and theirs. 

Know your subject—Don't teach something you don't know.  Do your research, and teach only that about which you are passionate.  Teach your students something they can learn.  Just don't try to teach subjects you don't know.  The better you know your subject, the more enthusiastic you will be about teaching and your students will be better positioned to learn.

Schedule breaks—Make sure there are breaks scheduled throughout the day.  This will help you break up the modules and will give your students (and you!) time to digest all that they have learned and you have taught.  It also gives you time to prepare for the next session, as well as answer any questions that your students may have that have not yet been addressed.

Reviews—At the end of each module, take a break.  Once the breaks are over, review the material from the previous module.  One great way to do this is to have short quizzes.  Quizzes will stimulate your students to pay attention during the next module, and will help reinforce what they have already learned.

Follow up—Once the training is over, it is important to follow up.  Regularly scheduled follow up is critical to ensure your students learned the subject you were teaching them.  Also—leave them with a reference manual to which they can refer after they have left the class.  Another option is to place the reference manual online so you can update it regularly or as needed.

Training survey—At the end of each training day, provide a survey so your students can critique your skills as well as the subject matter taught.  While critique is not always fun, it is so important that you take the feedback and make changes as necessary.  This will just help you improve as a trainer, which will just make each class better for future students.

Be energetic—Everyone has been through a boring training class.  Therefore, it is critical that you come into the class with high energy.  Your energy will make or break the success of your students' learning, so make sure you are passionate and energetic about what you teach.  A word of caution—we have also all been a part of a training class in which the trainer was too energetic.  Practice your modules in advance with a trusted peer audience to ensure you have the right balance (especially if it is your first training session).

Training in a classroom setting can be tremendous fun if you know your subject and are not afraid to get up in front of people and teach.  Remember that your students are also nervous—they won't know what to expect from you and will be receiving their cues from you.  Enjoy yourself and know that the more you train, the better you will be!

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.