Last week, we explored the first five essentials for running successful training sessions. Now, take a look at the last five components every good training session needs.
Whenever possible, consider dividing the class into small groups to collaborate on practicing a procedure, solving a problem, or working through a role-playing scenario. Not only do these exercises break up long stretches of sitting down and listening, they also provide interactivity that helps boost understanding of abstract concepts. Let your newer employees practice explaining strains or making point-of-sale recommendations to more experienced employees to help refine the new employees and keep your experienced employees fresh and thinking creatively.
In addition to the participant’s guide, provide other materials that your class can take with them to continue their learning. These can include lists of helpful tips, manuals, product information from edible or accessory vendors, PowerPoint slides, and additional exercises. To save paper and printing time, keep your documents available for download from the company’s intranet site.
Why only tell your class what they should know—when you can also show them? Their performance will improve if you demonstrate a procedure and also give them the chance to demonstrate it to others. “Show and tell” is valuable not only when teaching how to use new equipment or software, but also how to improve interpersonal behavior.
Offer your participants the gift of extended learning with an annotated, categorized reference list of books, articles, websites, and other sources. A few weeks later, follow up with the class by email and provide interesting excerpts from several of the sources; this will provide participants with the incentive to continue learning on their own. This is also a great way to see if any of your employees are looking for ways to go above and beyond and may be ready for more responsibilities and career opportunities.
No instruction should be without a question-and-answer session—if not several. The decision is up to you as to whether the floor should be open all the time or only at the end of each topic. However, adults learn best in informal environments, so more Q&A is better than less. The quality and quantity of questions will also help you tweak your presentation for next time.
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